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Of missing CFs and errant builders
16/01/2003  NST By K.W.

WHILE the survey by the Housing & Local Government Ministry to determine the number of properties which have not been issued with permanent Certificate of Fitness is laudable, it will not resolve the recurring problem if no enforcement/severe penalty is taken/imposed against errant developers who persistently and intentionally delay CF applications through non-compliance with the by-laws. While the local authorities are partly to be blamed for having seven separate regulatory departments to vet CF applications, there is also no penalty against errant developers.

This will only cause a stalemate, with the property owners suffering over and over again.

Developers are taking advantage of the situation by ignoring the CF issue and blaming the local authorities for the delay while at the same time purposely failing to comply with the by-laws. The delay greatly benefits the developers who continue to run their management offices in high-rise properties which provide a good stream of "undeclared" profits to their companies without any checks and controls by house buyers. The recently amended Housing Act does not address this anomaly as it is only effective from Dec 2. So developers continue to get away with their dishonest actions. Further delays in permanent CF will also give developers the excuse to hold back the application for strata titles. So, it is not shocking to hear that many high rise buildings still do not have CF even after 20 years!! Some of the steps which could be taken to resolve the matter are:

* A regulation that permanent CF must be obtained within six months of completion of the project without any excuses.

* In the event of persistent noncompliance the local authorities should inform the ministry in writing and if the fault lies with the developers, the ministry can impose a minimum fine of RM25,000 for each month of delay. A token fine of RM500 or RM1,000 is not effective since developers do not mind paying the negligible sums due to the large profits they rake in from managing the properties every month.

* To curb corrupt practices, the local authorities must give written replies to the developers for any delay in CF approval, stipulating that the specific noncompliance must be rectified within one month. Again, a heavy fine must be imposed if such non-compliance continues. We hope the result of the survey will be published in the media along with the name of the developers concerned and actions to be taken against them.

Incidentally, the entire Desa Petaling condo development has not been given the CF, 10 years after it was completed.

Kuala Lumpur


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