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Tribunal can hear pre-Dec 1 S&P cases

 22/01/2003 The Star By Leong Shen-Li

PUTRAJAYA: The newly set up Housing Tribunal can hear certain cases where the sale and purchase agreements were signed prior to its setting up on Dec 1 last year. 

Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting said many had mistakenly believed that the tribunal could only take on cases where the sale and purchase agreement was signed after that date and that he had to correct such a misinterpretation.  

“There have already been eight cases filed with the tribunal as of two weeks ago. This proves that the interpretation that the tribunal can only hear cases where the sale and purchase agreement is signed after Dec 1 is not correct,” he said after witnessing the award of the ISO9001:2000 accreditation to Malaysian publisher Penerbitan Pelangi Sdn Bhd here yesterday. 

Ong said the Housing Development Act in fact allowed the tribunal to handle certain cases where the agreement was signed before that date. 

For example, he said housebuyers whose defect liability period was still current could bring a case against a developer before the tribunal. 

“Under section 16N(2) of the Act, the tribunal can hear cases which are filed before the end of the defect liability period. So even when the sale and purchase agreement was signed before Dec 1 but the defect liability period is still current, the tribunal president can hear such a case,” he said. 

Section 16N(2) states that the tribunal's jurisdiction is limited to a claim which is brought by a homebuyer not later than 12 months from the date of the certificate of fitness for occupation being issued, or before the expiry date of the defects liability period as set out in the agreement. 

An amendment of the Housing Developers Act, among others, provided for the setting up of the tribunal. 

As the amendment had been described as “prospective”, many people had interpreted that the tribunal could only hear cases involving property that was bought after the date that it was set up. 

On the issue of people buying service apartments being caught unawares that such properties were not governed by the Act, Ong said his ministry would help mediate between buyers, developers and local authorities.  


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