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Ong: No excuses for late delivery of houses
The Star 12/04/2004 By Sim Leoi Leoi

CYBERJAYA: Housing developers must plan ahead and not use economic crises or downturns as an excuse to make late deliveries, said Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting.

This is because the average Malaysian only have one opportunity in their lifetime to buy a home with their savings, he said, reiterating that he would not cave in to demands and requests by developers at the expense of house buyers.

“When developers fail to deliver on time, they would come and ask me to use ministerial powers to extend the delivery period so they would not have to pay penalties.

“I want to make this clear. I have been very firm over the last four years and, except in cases of natural disasters, I will not relax on enforcement or give in to pressure to use these powers,” Ong said, when launching the Cyberia Smart Homes community centre here, yesterday. He later presented the house keys to 10 owners of the condominium project.

Speaking to reporters later, Ong said the Government will appoint three more people to the House Buyers’ Claims Tribunal, which still has some 3,153 cases to be resolved after it was revived in February.

He said the Bar Council had submitted its recommendations, all of whom have legal experience in the field.

Ong was confident that with the appointments, the tribunal would be able to resolve more cases.

He said that as at April 6, the tribunal had received 5,178 reports from house buyers. Of these, 2,025 cases have been resolved.

Ong said most of the cases involved complaints relating to late delivery claims, defects during the liability period and failure of developers to abide by promises made in the sales and purchase agreements (SPAs).

The tribunal was halted for a time late last year after developers argued that it had no jurisdiction over cases where the SPAs were signed before Dec 1, 2002.

On developers who had been found liable by the tribunal but had yet to pay up their dues to the buyers, Ong said many of them were still appealing against the decision.

“Most of them have paid up what they owed to the buyers. We are monitoring the situation very closely and we will not relax on our enforcement,” he said.

On the establishment of one-stop centres to process applications for certificate fitness of occupation for newly completed projects, Ong said so far, some 97 local councils had set up such centres as required by the Cabinet.

On the planned incinerator in Broga, Selangor, Ong said the ministry was waiting for the Department of Environment to give the go-ahead on the project’s Environmental Impact Assessment Report.

He said the decision was expected soon and that the groundwork had yet to begin.

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