Plugging CF loopholes to protect house buyers
The Star 28/06/2004
KUALA LUMPUR: The interest and rights of house buyers will be
protected before the Government decides to replace the issuance of
certificates of fitness (CFs) by local authorities with declarations
by professionals such as engineers and architects.
Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting said
his ministry would look into a system which could check abuses by
the black sheep among the professionals.
Describing the Prime Minister's proposal as another bold and
decisive step in showing his determination to reduce bureaucracy and
check corruption, he said:
“The safety and interest of housebuyers and the public must be
safeguarded and developers must not be allowed to influence the
professionals when implementing such a policy.”
“The Government will not rush into it until we put in place a system
where all players are committed and the original objectives of
ensuring the fitness of buildings and the safety of the occupants
are achieved,” Ong said in a statement yesterday.
Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi announced on Friday the proposal to
do away with the CF requirement for new buildings.
Ong said a special action committee was set up last month
immediately after the Prime Minister made the suggestion to the
Cabinet. This committee, he said, would discuss with professional
bodies and related government agencies to work out the details.
He said he supported Abdullah's efforts in cutting down red tape to
improve the public delivery system and appreciated his attention and
leadership in regulating the building industry, which was vital to
increase the country's competitiveness.
Meanwhile, the National House Buyers Association said the proposal
would only work if the build-and-sell concept was put into practice.
Secretary-general Chang Kim Loong said if house buyers did not pay
developers until the units were completed and safe to be occupied,
it would ensure protection for buyers.
“By replacing CFs, which means taking away the last tier of check
and balance, house buyers will be less protected,” he said.
“House buyers only want to buy houses which are safe. Punishing the
professionals will not help to protect the buyers,” he said at a
press conference before a seminar on complaints and guides for
first-time house buyers at the Putra World Trade Centre here
Fomca vice-president K. Koris said he disagreed with the proposal if
it was implemented on large housing projects.
“Large housing schemes cannot just go through declarations by
architects and professional because we do not want another Highland
Towers case,” he said.
However, he pointed out that the proposal would be useful for
schemes, which had less than 10 units, including poor families who
built their own houses.
DAP national chairman Lim Kit Siang said the Government must
establish “beyond a shadow of a doubt” that the interests of the
ordinary house buyers would be better served by such a change and
not the reverse.
He added that the proposal to replace the CF should be made public.