New law needed to smoothen redevelopment process of old buildings

TANJUNG BUNGAH (March 8): Penang Housing, Town, Country Planning and Local Government Committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo hopes a separate law on urban regeneration could be proposed to the Attorney General’s Chamber (AGC) for consideration to allow for the process to be carried out smoothly.

“Existing laws should be amended and legal parts of it addressed as many existing schemes are already quite old,” he was reported saying in The Star today.

“Regeneration is needed, especially here because maintaining old structures is not economically viable compared to regenerating,” he said after the opening of the 4th Strata Scheme Renewal Task Force workshop at Mercure Beach Hotel in Tanjung Bungah, Penang, recently.

Jagdeep revealed that the state government had spent nearly RM55 million under the Maximum 80% Housing Maintenance Fund since 2008 for the maintenance of many old, low- and low-medium-cost buildings in Penang.

“This is an amount that will continue to grow because the buildings will continue to get old, so we have to look at urban regeneration, and not at an ad hoc basis.”

Another advantage of regenerating these old housing schemes is that it would increase units available for future population groups, he added.

In an earlier event, Jagdeep was cited saying that in Singapore, every housing scheme of 30 to 40 years old must produce an assessment report on the building’s condition.

“Many schemes there have been entirely redeveloped, as in demolished and rebuilt,” he said.

At the federal level, Department of Director General of Lands and Mines (JKPTG) deputy director Datuk Che Roslan Che Daud said it was in the process of bringing the proposed papers on urban regeneration to the National Land Council, but the papers need to be presented to the Cabinet first.

“Thus, we hope we are able to get input from this workshop and include them in the papers before they are brought to the Cabinet in April,” he stated.

“As it is an important issue, we need to have a holistic discussion to get input from all sides during the workshop to achieve a favourable outcome,” Che Roslan added.

The workshop, organised by state and federal JKPTG, state Land and Mines office, Penang Urban Renewal Committee and Penang Development Corporation, is aimed at studying the best methods in redeveloping the strata schemes.

The two-day workshop brought together 50 participants from NGOs, academic bodies and experts from different industries.

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