A Penang city councillor believe that it is time to set up policies aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19 as well as other viral infections like reducing plot ratio in development projects.
Penang Island City Council (MBPP) councillor Lee Kim Noor said it is important to ease overcrowding and congestion at residential developments especially in view of the pandemic, reported Malay Mail.
“We should not raise the plot ratio indiscriminately that leads to a higher number of units within a development and causes congestion which makes it easier for the COVID-19 virus to spread,” she said during the end of the virtual full council meeting.
Lee noted that there is a need to prepare bigger open spaces, so residents could comfortably exercise and go out for walks while observing strict SOPs.
She added that developers of future commercial developments should also be required to install a good ventilation system that could filter out viruses.
“If we look at the daily COVID-19 cases, many clusters are from the workplace so other than close contact, there is a high possibility the spread in the workplace could be due to the air ventilation of these places where workers have to spend long hours and sometimes may have to remove their masks to eat, drink or talk,” she said as quoted by Malay Mail.
On existing commercial developments, Lee suggested conducting an awareness campaign among the commercial building management agents regarding the importance of cleaning their ventilation systems and installing suitable filtration systems.
“This can be done by sending letters to the management agents or to hold a webinar on the topic,” she said.
She also urged MBPP to prepare the necessary information for those who contracted COVID-19 and outline the things to do in such situations.
Moreover, MBPP can display hotline numbers as well as the contact numbers of hospitals in its various social media pages which the public can call if infected with the virus and is unsure of what to do next.
Meanwhile, MBPP Mayor Datuk Yew Tung Seang later announced that the state had introduced a higher plot ratio of 4.0 under a home ownership programme, amid demand for higher density projects.
He explained that the move is aimed at stimulating the construction and property industry within the state, noting that the higher plot ratio will only apply to certain projects.
A plot ratio of 4.0 means developers can build a residential development with about 251 apartment units of about 700 sq ft each on a one-acre site.
Previously, the plot ratio for development projects stands at between 2.8 and 3.5, depending on the location and type of project, said Yew.
A plot ratio of 2.8 will enable developers to build 176 apartment units of 700 sq ft each on a one-acre site, while a plot ratio of 3.5 will allow for 220 apartment units of the same size to be constructed.
Yew noted that only four development projects have so far applied for the 4.0 plot ratio under the home ownership programme.