Govt to initiate liveability index to gauge living conditions in public low-cost housing schemes

In a bid to make public low-cost housing (PPR) schemes more liveable, especially for the lower-income groups, the Housing and Local Government Ministry will initiate a liveability index to rate all 154 PPR projects nationwide.

The move is for the government to address possible shortcomings in such housing schemes, whose occupants were from the B40 income group.

Its minister, Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican, told the Dewan Rakyat this morning that the PPR had evolved over the past decades in terms of size but more needed to be done to ensure a better living experience for its occupants.

Among the problems faced by dwellers included inadequate parking, cramped spaces, and a lack of public transportation services. A newly built PPR unit is about 900 sq ft, with some housing large families.

“We need to look at the liveability. We don’t want those from the B40 group, who are already struggling with their daily lives, to be in an area where there is no connectivity and even poor internet access,” said Reezal Merican, who is also the Kepala Batas MP.

“We have to relook at this (PPR) model.”

“For example, if a person wants to do remote learning, but the internet connection is poor… it doesn’t make the place liveable.”

As such, he said the ministry would conduct a liveability index for all 154 PPR schemes nationwide.

“This is to ensure that the dwellers will be able to live in a better environment.”

Meanwhile, Reezal Merican, had in a Facebook posting, agreed with the suggestion for restaurants to be allowed to set up their tables and chairs outside their premises to ensure better ventilation during the dining-in experience.

He was referring to a suggestion by Datuk Seri Najib Razak last October, in which the former prime minister had said that local councils should relax the guidelines when it came to al fresco dining, given the Covid-19 pandemic.

Twentytwo13, over the weekend, published an article saying it was time for local governments to introduce new policies regarding al fresco dining to enable the public to dine outdoors in a safe and conducive environment while ensuring the survival of the food and beverage industry.

“The ministry is preparing the guidelines for al fresco dining to be presented to the National Security Council,” Reezal Merican wrote.

“Once completed, the guidelines will be handed to state governments and local councils to ensure uniformity.”

Here are Twentytwo13’s news highlights today.

RM593M SPENT ON EMERGENCY PROCUREMENT OF EQUIPMENT TO TREAT COVID-19

The government spent RM593 million on emergency procurement of additional medical equipment to treat Covid-19 over the past two years.

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin told the Dewan Rakyat today that the equipment included intensive care unit beds, ventilators, ultrasounds, freezers and oxygen cylinders.

The RM593 million did not include contributions in equipment worth RM148 million received by the government.

PRIVATE PRACTITIONERS, NGOs EFFECTIVE IN MEETING VACCINATION TARGETS

ProtectHealth Corporation chief executive officer Datuk Dr Anas Alam Faizli said the involvement of private medical practitioners and health non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme has been effective.

“This is evident in the success of the immunisation programme where ProtectHealth contributed 47 per cent (19,116,154 doses) of the total vaccination doses through private practitioners and NGOs. Their involvement complements the involvement of all parties in the programme,” he said.

Over 3.2 million teenagers, aged 12 to 17, will be involved in the national immunisation programme. Those in Forms 4 and 5 will be vaccinated before school reopens next month.

Private practitioners and NGOs will continue to assist the Health Ministry in speeding up the vaccination rates for this new age group.

POLICE INVESTIGATING NAJIB’S REPORT AGAINST IRB

Police confirmed it is investigating a police report lodged by Datuk Seri Najib Razak against the Inland Revenue Board (IRB).

The investigation is being carried out under Section 468 of the Penal Code, said Bukit Aman Commercial Crime Investigation Department director, Datuk Mohd Kamarudin Md Din.

Kamarudin, in a statement, said the parties involved would be called in to provide their statements soon.

On Sept 8, Najib lodged a police report against the IRB director-general and its officers for “over-taxing” him. This was after the board filed a bankruptcy notice against Najib for failing to pay RM1.69 billion in additional tax arrears from 2011 to 2017.

The Kuala Lumpur High Court, in July last year, ordered Najib to pay RM1.69 billion in additional taxes and penalties.

Najib also alleged that a “top IRB official”, on the instruction of some politicians, had ordered the tax penalties to be slapped on him.

MALAYSIA SEES 7PC INCREASE IN SOC MED USERS

As of January 2021, there are some 28 million social media users in Malaysia.

Communications and Multimedia Ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Mohammad Mentek said the figure increased by seven per cent within one year.

He believed the rise was due to the current Covid-19 pandemic that forced more people to stay at home following the various lockdowns enforced throughout the year.