What is worse, the Chief Minister had deliberately misled the affected tenants that he was still using his office and influence with the Federal Government to extend the Rent Control (Repeal) Act 1997, when in actual fact, he had already agreed to drop the Penang appeal when the Cabinet decided two weeks earlier on Oct. 6 that the decontrol of 32,852 pre-war premises would take effect as planned by the end of this year.
If the DAP had not highlighted the Rent Control (Repeal) Act in Parliament in the first two days of the meeting this week, the Minister for Housing and Local Government, Datuk Dr. Ting Chew Peh would not have been compelled to announce the Federal government’s decision - and everybody would still be kept in the dark about the actual position of the appeal.
Tsu Koon should not have unilaterally agreed to drop the appeal to the Federal Government for extension of the Rent Control (Repeal) Act and DAP calls for the convening of an emergency meeting of the Penang State Assembly next week to instruct the Chief Minister to resubmit the appeal to the Cabinet to reconsider the Penang request because of the special circumstances of the state.
If the Penang State Assembly unanimously adopts a resolution in an emergency meeting next week to ask the Cabinet for a reconsideration of the Penang appeal for the extension of the Rent Control (Repeal) Act until affordable alternative housing is available to minimise the socio-economic hardships of the affected tenants, the issue would be revived.
I cannot see why the Cabinet cannot grant an extension of the Rent Control
(Repeal) Act when it could abandon its forced bank merger plan, unless
the Chief Minister had already dropped the appeal.