'Gangster contractors' allowed for better coordination

GEORGE TOWN - There are developers who allow "gangster contractors" to monopolise renovation work at their housing projects for better coordination, sources familiar with the construction industry said.

"Say there are 300 low-and-medium cost (LMC) units and each appoints its own contractor. You will then have a situation of 300 contractors moving in and out at different times.

"There could be damage done to the common area as a result of moving in raw materials and disposing of waste material and no one will know who is responsible.

"To enable better coordination, some developers find it necessary to let one contractor monopolise all the renovation work in a project, which usually is an LMC scheme, as they are not partially renovated projects," the source said.

One way to resolve the problem is to raise the LMC unit's price, now at RM42,000 and RM72,000, respectively, in the South-West and North-East districts.

The price should double to allow developers to provide standard and quality furnishing. Once the unit is fully renovated, there would not be any opportunity for "gangster contractors" to take part in the renovation works, according to the source.

Penang Housing, Town and Country Planning Committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo said houseowners were not obliged to engage the so-called "in-house" contractors' services.

He pointed out that the so-called gangster contractor problem had existed for a long time and it had nothing to do with the recent spate of violent crimes in the state.

The Star front-paged an issue involving contractors, some with links to triads, who had been forcing buyers of high-rise properties to carry out renovation works.