I think this is good news for Georgetown. I personally support a better protection for Georgetown Heritage site to be always Malaysian. Read earlier article here: Protect Penang’s Heritage buildings for future generation As per reported in many local medias, the Penang state government is looking to reintroduce an improved version of the repealed Rent Control Act 1966. Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said that this would stop gentrification that was driving the locals and living heritage away from pre-war houses in the core and buffer zones of heritage site. The suggestion for the improvement is for house owners to be able to impose rental according to market rate but not indiscriminately. Previously, due to the Rent Control Act, the house owners were paid rates which were so low that it was unsustainable and the best option then was to repeal the Rent Control Act 1966.
One of the proposal? Lim said perhaps, “20 percent over 5 years.” If this could be agreed upon, I think it looks reasonable. He also said that owners would be notified of the proposed enactment. Previous reports in The Star has stated that the new foreign owners of some of the old shophouses were leasing them at over 500 percent of the previous rental. From RM1,300 the rental has been increased to between RM7,000 – RM10,000 per month. In fact a row of 12 shops near the Komtar-end of Jalan Pintal Tali (Rope Walk previously) has been dubbed ‘Little Singapore’ because of the similarities with how restored pre-war houses in the republic look like.
Note though that this may not be so soon. Lim said that he needs to first ascertain if this is under the state’s jurisdiction. State exco member Chow Kon Yeow will be getting feedbacks from the houseowners and the public. Another state expo member, Jagdeep Singh Deo would look into the legal aspects. Well, at least there’s this announcement. We can now follow the issue closely.
written on 5 July 2016
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