Low-Cost Housing Tenant Tells Critics: My Flying Business Class Not Your Business

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Defensive PPR tenant fumbles to explain business class travel, then denounces it as people spreading lies. 

A resident of Penang’s Taman Manggis low-cost flats has fought back social media users who questioned her business class travel to Sri Lanka, as controversy continues over the state government’s move to evict occupants it says are not qualified for the government housing project.

Khalidah Nazir Ahmad, 63, first admitted that she travelled overseas on business class flights with her husband “a long time ago”.

She claimed her travel was upgraded to business class after her brother transferred his flying miles to her.

When approached again a couple hours later by reporters, Khalidah changed her story to deny everything that was posted about her on social media.

“These are all fabricated and lies spread by those online warriors, whatever you called them,” she said.

She also said whatever was spread was her “personal business” and nothing to do with anyone else or the issue at hand.

She added that people should “mind their own business” as she was already dealing with her eviction issue.

“They are spreading lies about me. In Islam, if they don’t apologise to me, they will have to answer to Allah when they die,” she said.

KE Ooi

Screenshots of her Facebook account, including one of her postings of business class tickets in her name to Colombo, Sri Lanka went viral online earlier today.

The Malaysian Airlines ticket, dated May 18, 2014, also listed her as a frequent flyer.

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Checks showed the business class flight could cost at least RM3,500.

A picture of her luxuriously decorated PPR flat had also gone viral on Facebook.

Facebook

She stressed that the issue of her income does not apply in her case.

She said she had stayed in the flat for the past 13 years and the unit was allotted to her by the government.

She said her house in Sungai Pinang was demolished and claimed that the PPR unit was given as “compensation” when she was relocated due to redevelopment.

“I didn’t apply for a PPR unit in Taman Manggis, I got it as compensation.

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“When they offered me the unit, they did not ask if I’m poor or not,” she claimed.

She alleged that she never knew the homes were for the poor when she moved in.

She said she was working as a freelance tour guide in a tour agency previously but claimed she is now unemployed.

Khalidah is among seven families which have camped outside Komtar to protest their eviction.

The families were evicted on Wednesday due to outstanding arrears and their high incomes. Some have also been disqualified from renting the flat for marrying foreigners.

A PPR flat costs RM100 a month to rent, with maintenance fees of RM24. It is offered to those with a household income below RM1,500.

The Penang government says it had given a six-month eviction notice to the affected residents.

After speaking to reporters when approached in Komtar, Khalidah, who has been one of the most vocal tenants fighting eviction, later clammed up when other tenants there told her to stop talking to the media.

Today, the state government finally relented and allowed the tenants to return to their units to collect their personal items.

However, they were only allowed three days to pack and move out.

The group has refused to go back and insisted that they will not accept any other deals except to go back to live in the PPR units permanently.

They even engaged a lawyer to fight for their cause.

Mohd Khairul Azam Abdul Aziz, who is representing them, said the eviction was illegal and conducted without a court order.

“The eviction was against Section 7 (2) of the Specific Relief Act 1950 and Article 13 of the Federal Constitution,” he said.

He added that he had served a notice on this to the State Secretary Datuk Seri Farizan Darus today.

He claimed the state government had trespassed without proper court order and that what they did was against the rule of law.

He said the evicted tenants had a right to file a suit against the state government over this eviction.