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Nightmarish wait for dream homes

The Star 10/01/2004 By Bavani M.

IT’S called the Sri Impian Condominium, but to the owners their impian or dream has yet to come true.  

Buyers of the posh condominium project in Brickfields have been waiting for five years now, but from the way things are going, the possibility of their moving into the condo in the near future is slim.  

About nine years ago, over 200 people spurred by advertisements in local newspapers offering for sale units in an up-and-coming condominium project in Jalan Thamby Dollah, Brickfields, committed to this dream by putting down a 10% deposit.  

Today, these folks are still servicing hefty bank loans and have not been given any guarantee or assurance of the project ever resuming.  

Sri Impian was supposed to be completed in 1999. However, due to financial constraints, it was delayed and in mid-2000, the project came to a standstill.  

Owners of the Sri Impian Condo in Brickfields in front of the abandoned project. With them is Khong (in white shirt).

According to residents, the developer had initially taken a loan using the property as collateral.  

Personal assistant to Seputeh MP Teresa Kok, Khong Chee Seng, said the developer secured a second loan for RM20mil in 1999.  

“The bank is now seeking the RM20mil from the buyers,’’ said Khong.  

“The bank is asking the buyers to pay the RM20mil and they are worried right now,” he added.  

“How can this happen?” asked Datuk Sarah Thomas, who had bought a unit in Sri Impian.  

“I have thus far paid about RM130,000 and I’m still being billed for miscellaneous fees and now they want us to pay for funds taken by the developer,” Thomas said. 

“It just does not make any sense that a major project like this can come to a standstill and we can’t do anything about it,” she said. 

First-time house buyer Julie Ooi described the whole experience as a never-ending nightmare.  

“I have put all my savings into this property. It was supposed to be my first home. I have paid over RM100,000 and I’m still servicing a bank loan, and to top it all I have to pay rent for my current home. This is so distressing,” she said.  

Retired government servant Michael Magimay, 63, said he had paid over RM70,000 for his unit, funds taken from his gratuity. 

“All I wanted was to retire and relax and yet I have done nothing of the sort,” he said.  

Julie Ku had paid about RM60,000 and has been servicing her bank loan for the past seven years.  

“How can the authorities let this happen?'' she asked. “The project had been abandoned for years and it's an eyesore in the city.''  

The condo owners had formed a pro tem committee last year to seek answers as well as to get the authorities to revive the project.  

They have met people from the House Buyers Association and had even submitted a memorandum to the Housing and Local Government Ministry.  

When contacted, Sri Impian pro tem committee secretary Inderjit Singh confirmed that the committee would be meeting Deputy Housing and Local Government Minister Peter Chin Fah Kui soon to finalise matters.  

“We had several meetings with the ministry and the bank is also interested in reviving the project, but nothing is definite yet,” Inderjit said. 

Meanwhile, Khong and Kuan Perk Siong who is special assistant to Bukit Bintang MP Fong Kui Lun, have pledged to do all they can to help the owners get their homes. 

“Our priority right now is to kick start this project soon and to minimise hardship and losses,” Khong said, adding that he would be meeting the Sri Impian pro tem committee soon. 

When contacted, National House Buyers Association secretary-general Chang Kim Loong advised the Sri Impian Condo owners to unite to fight the case.  

“In whatever problems it is always better for owners to come together, as unity is strength,” Chang said.  

On whether a developer can secure a second loan on the property from a bank, Chang said: “Legally speaking a developer cannot do so unless residents had pre-signed a blank letter of consent at the time of signing the S&P agreement,” he said.  


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