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Buyers kept guessing on second time flop

28/10/2003 The Sun By Arion Yeow

 

Petaling Jaya: It should have been a case of once bitten twice shy, but the Housing and Local Government hasn't heard the saying. Now, it has to justify its decision to renew the licence of a housing developer which had abandoned a project, then having the development stall again.

 

However, the ministry denies that it was negligent in safeguarding the interests of Sentul Indah house buyers, the housing project that was abandoned twice.

 

Its deputy minister Datuk Peter Chin Fah Kui defended its decision to renew the licence. "The ministry takes steps to ensure that there are enough grounds to renew a developer's licence when reviving a project. Obviously the ministry must have found sufficient reason to change its position and re-license the developer."

 

"I know the issue, we have had many meetings with the developer to resolve the problem," he told The Sun recently.

 

The project by Homeng Realty Sdn Bhd comprising 374 apartment units and 19 shoplot units was first launched in 1997 and sold to 102 house buyers.

 

It was due for completion in December 1999 but classified abandoned in 2000.

 

At a meeting chaired by the ministry's director of observation and and enforcement division Tomadan Johari on Jan 22, 2002, the house buyers were assured that their money would be returned and the developer's licence would not be renewed.

 

However, at another meeting chaired by observation and enforcement division representative Yong Ai Lin on Nov 21, 2002, the ministry told the house buyers that the developer's licence has been renewed and the developer has been instructed to refund their money in January 2003.

 

To date, the house buyers have not received their money although the project was re-launched last year and property was sold to 42 new house buyers.

 

Currently, there is no work in progress at the site of the project, due to be completed in December 2005.

 

Asked for a time-frame for a decision on the issue, Chin said: " I cannot give a date now, we need to meet up with the developer to resolve it."

 

On why the ministry renewed the licence of the developer, he said, "I cannot disclose the details in the file."

 

When contacted, Homeng Realty director Toh Ah Leong said the project is not abandoned and is currently awaiting a price quotation from the contractor.

 

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