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Implement 'build then sell' concept, says association

 28/05/2004 The Sun By Arion Yeow and S.Santa

Kuala Lumpur: The National House Buyers Association (HBA) voiced support yesterday for Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's suggestion to implement the 'build then sell' concept.

HBA adviser and former Perak CPO Datuk Seri Yuen Suet Ling said the economy and country's development are mature enough to implement the concept.

"Developers can approach banks for loans and if financial institutions are unwilling to lend, the projects are probably not viable," Yuen told a press conference.

"Those with viable projects will be able to get loans because the country needs to build 150,000 homes every year. They can also form a consortium for bigger projects.

"Spin-off businesses would not be affected because banks will hire consultants to study the viability of projects and house buyers will do the same to check the quality of the homes."

HBA central committee member Brig-Gen (R) Datuk Goh Seng Toh also said the idea is feasible and its implementation would improve the standard of housing development in the country.

"Developers will not build houses with shoddy workmanship because house buyers will not be trapped by having paid most of the money. Houses in Australia are of high quality because they use a similar concept.

"In addition, the Housing and Local Ministry does not have enough officers to enforce the amendments to the Housing Development Act. By shifting the burden of monitoring to the industry, the ministry will not need to spend more on enforcement and house buyers will no longer be victimised."

HBA secretary-general Chang Kim Loong said developers have delayed the 'build then sell' concept for 13 years because the situation favours them.

"Of course, they will fight tooth and nail to see it remain," he said.

He also said HBA has proposed an alternative concept to implement if the the government and industry players are not ready for the 'build then sell" concept.

The HBA also challenged the Real Estate and Housing Developers Association (REHDA) to an open debate on the 'build then sell' concept and will ask the prime minister or Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting to chair it.

According to statistics for 2002 from the ministry's website, 80,070 house buyers are victims of abandoned housing projects.

The number of abandoned housing projects to date is 544, involving 125,649 units valued at RM9.5 billion.


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