Saturday March 1, 2008
Zulhasnan announces sale of public housing units at his first ceramah
By BAVANI M.
IT was so sudden. One moment the 100-odd Barisan supporters were listening to his speech, and then all of a sudden there was a buzz of voices – followed by loud clapping, cheering and screams of jubilation.
“Alhamdulila” (praise Allah) uttered 65-year-old Fathimah Som when she heard the news.
The brouhaha brought some people out of their daydream, prompting them to ask: “Apa datuk cakap? (What did Datuk say?)”
Even reporters following incumbent Datuk Seri Zulhasnan Rafique on his campaign trail became alert although it was almost 11pm.
Yes. It was Zulhasnan’s first ceramah session with the community of Setiawangsa.
It took some moments for the people to digest the news.
The information spread like wildfire and everyone was all ears to find out details of the announcement.
The good news was that in less than three weeks’ time, the application and dispensation of sale of PPR units to deserving candidates would be underway.
After all these years of waiting, hoping, and praying, those who have been renting the PPR units in various parts in Kuala Lumpur would finally get the opportunity to own one.
Fathimah was glad that she had decided to come down from her three-bedroom apartment unit, where she lives with her son and daughter, to hear the ceramah.
She told me that she wasn’t feeling too well and had almost decided not to go. Now bubbling with excitement, she couldn’t wait to share the good news with her family.
Fathimah and some 50-odd settlers had arrived in Kg Semarak in 1974 from different parts of the country.
They settled there and cleared the land, which had belonged to the late tycoon Loke Yew. They built their houses and set up businesses there.
Two years ago, the villagers were told to move as the land was earmarked for development.
The government as a gesture of goodwill had offered them units for rent in a nearby PPR as a temporary measure saying that when the opportunity arose, they would be given the priority to buy units.
The villagers finally relented and accepted Kuala Lumpur City Hall’s (DBKL) offer to move into temporary homes in nearby PPR Sri Semarak.
Jais Ibrahim, 64, a member of the village, who was initially sceptical about moving did so in the end.
Jais found the new DBKL units clean and comfortable and was happy with his home, but deep down there was always a yearning to be given the opportunity to buy a unit.
“It is our ultimate dream to own our own property. Nothing can compare to the feeling of ownership.”
Ever since Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi announced last April that the government was going to sell some 15,700 PPR units in the Federal Territory to deserving candidates of all races, there has been a lot of talk and excitement over the issue.
Zulhasnan informed the PPR folks that the DBKL officers would soon be meeting with the residents in all PPR in Kuala Lumpur including Sri Semarak to facilitate applications to buy the units.
Later after the buzz had settled, Zulhasnan told reporters that the Prime Minister was supposed to have delivered the good news himself on Feb 14, but the announcement had to be put on hold when Parliament was dissolved on Feb 13.
Since that announcement, it’s not surprising that more and more people flocked to Zulhasnan’s ceramah at various locations in Setiawangsa to gather more information.
As the week came to an end, more good news was delivered. The gist of it was that city folks, especially low-income earners, would be seeing a change in their living conditions.
Older PPRs built in the 1970s will be upgraded from one bedroom and one bathroom to three bedrooms and two bathrooms models – at the expense of the DBKL.
This was to offer city folks a more conducive living environment. Zulhasnan also added that some 23,000 units have been identified for upgrading. The much older ones will be torn down and rebuilt.
The government is also looking into building more PPRs in the city – especially in areas like Segambut and Seputeh.
Plans are also in the pipeline to build them in Bukit Bintang, Cheras, Titiwangsa and Kepong.