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'Insufficient funds in Bumi account'

PETALING JAYA (Oct 18): The Penang government has explained that there is insufficient funds in the Bumiputera Housing Trust Account to finance the construction of 10,000 low cost and affordable houses as demanded by the state Umno.

Currently, the total amount in the trust account stands at RM33.6 million, said Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng in a statement on Thursday.

Penang Umno secretary Datuk Azhar Ibrahim had on Wednesday alleged that the state government discriminated against the Malays by not spending money from the fund to build houses for them.

He asked why the government did not build 10,000 low cost and affordable homes using funds from the account, which was established after Pakatan Rakyat took control of the state  in 2008.

Lim said that RM33.6 million to build 10,000 low cost units would mean that each home cost only RM3,360, something that did not make sense.

"I would like to see Perda (Penang Regional Development Authority, whose chairman is Azhar) build low cost and affordable homes with that budget. It is impossible," he said.

Lim added that if the state government had used the funds from the trust account, it would have been criticised for spending allocations reserved for Bumiputeras.

The state government, he assured, would use the money in the trust fund to build affordable homes.

"This will be proven with flats and not just words," he said.

Lim said the state government had allocated RM500 million to construct about 18,000 affordable homes in the state.

He added that since 2008, the state government via the Penang Development Corporation had built 4,000 low cost and medium cost units, while the private sector had constructed another 8,000 units.

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