Court rules for
The Sun 15/06/2004
PUTRAJAYA: More than 6,000 house buyers who have ruled cases against
developers with the Housing Tribunal can sigh with relief. The
Federal Court ruled yesterday that the tribunal can hear and
determine cases involving sale and purchase agreements signed before
Dec I, 2002.
The three-man bench -headed by Chief Justice Ahmad
Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim unanimously upheld the Court of Appeal
Ahmad Fairuz said Section 16AD of the Housing
Development (Control and Licensing) Act 1966, (which states that
non-compliance of the tribunal's award a criminal offence), is a
valid law and does not violate Article of the Federal Constitution.
The court had answered yes to the question posed
by housing developer West court Corporation Sdn Bhd which wanted to
know if the tribunal can hear cases where the S&Ps were signed
before Dec 1, 2002.
"Our view is that Section 16AD has no relevance to
the tribunal jurisdiction issue," Ahmad Fairuz said.
In a landmark decision on Sept 4 last year, the
High Court allowed the application by developers West court and
Puncakdana Sdn Bhd to review the tribunal's awards in favor of six
It ruled that the tribunal could not hear cases
where the S&Ps were signed before the tribunal was set up.
However, on Dec 19 last year the Court of Appeal
overturned that decision and allowed the appeal by the tribunal and
33-housebuyers. The Court of Appeal had held that the tribunal did
not have retrospective effect.
Met outside the courtroom yesterday tribunal
secretary Wan Husin Wan Hassan said the Federal Court decision has
removed all doubts on the question of jurisdiction.
He said that the tribunal can now proceed to hear
more than 6,000 such cases.
House buyers Association secretary-general Chang Kim Loong
said the decision is a progressive and promising step towards the
successful implementation of the housing tribunal.
"This could not have been more timely as the house
buyers' sentiment is on the' mend towards adequate protection for
them," he said.
Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri
Ong Ka Ting said the decision once and for all settles the issue on
the tribunal's jurisdiction.
"The decision pronounced by the Federal Court has
in itself created history for the house buyers.
"It is my ministry's intention to provide ample
protection to house buyers' rights," he said in a statement.
Ong said the ministry will prosecute developers
who defy the awards made by the tribunal.