Tsu Koon should not forget when he meets Mahathir this week to seek the Prime Minister’s consent to introduce an emergency bill in the new Parliament on Dec. 21 to extend rent decontrol for another three to five years.
During the recent general election campaign, Tsu Koon promised to meet the Prime Minister to seek an extension of the Rent Control Act which is to be repealed on 31st December 1999.
He told a newspaper interview which appeared on polling day on Nov. 29, 1999: "I still personally feel that there is a need to review the decision. I would like to ask for a possible extension…not because the state government has not done anything but because of the effects of the economic crisis and the fact that some owners are not willing to compromise and are going to evict tenants."
He added: "Everybody agrees that it has to come but not everyone agrees on the time frame and how to manage the transitional period."
There are now only 17 days before the Rent Control (Repeal) Act comes into full effect on Dec. 31, 1999.
Mahathir said that the Penang Barisan Nasional crisis over the formation of the state government would be resolved soon. Can Tsu Koon ensure that he would keep his election promise to ensure that the housing and socio-economic crisis faced by 60,000 people in 12,600 pre-war premises in Penang could also be resolved at the same time, by getting Federal Government support for a last-minute extension of the Rent Control Act from three to five years?