In a muddle over Tribunal award
GETTING into a legal muddle is not what the average house buyer
for, after having spent so much of his hard-earned money on the
paying substantial sums as legal fees and stamp duties as well.
This is why one group of financially aggrieved buyers is sore with
Government, and with the Tribunal for Homebuyer Claims, for being
to court on points of law - arising from its success before the
Members of this group - 42 in all - have been named as respondents
challenge to the Tribunal's award of sums ranging from RM1,000 to
handed down in the middle of last year, to 507 apartment buyers in
Utara, Kuala Lumpur, for the late delivery of their units by Fadason
Holdings Sdn Bhd.
However, the developer did not make the payments. Instead, Fadason
another developer challenged the Tribunal's right to hear disputes
from Sale and Purchase Agreements (SPAs) signed before it came into
on Dec 1, 2002.
The decisive ruling on its powers came on June 14 this year when the
Federal Court declared that the Tribunal is empowered to hear all
related to SPAs between house buyers and developers brought before
This decision of the nation's highest judicial body, said National
Buyers Association Malaysia (HBA) secretary-general Chang Kim Loong,
not seem to satisfy some developers.
"Some developers will abuse the legal process by deliberately
on all rulings against them, not for anything else but to buy time
further frustrate the complainants of their entitlement," he said.
The High Court will on Sept 29 in KL hear Fadason's bid to quash the
Tribunal's award to the apartment buyers on grounds that:
* There was an error in the calculation of the liquidated
damages. This is on grounds that the Tribunal worked out
late delivery from the date the buyers paid the deposits, not from
dates on which the SPAs were signed; and
* The buyers did not have locus standi to initiate action against
Fadason. This is because their properties had been mortgaged to the
that provided loans for the purchase and they did not have the
their bankers for the action.
Said Chang: "Here we see a dilemma where the aggrieved and
spent buyers who sought redress through the Tribunal have been
dragged into the legal muddle.
"The Government, by setting up the Tribunal, sought to provide an
affordable and more readily accessible avenue for aggrieved house
to seek redress from developers. The last thing buyers want is to be
involved in court cases, chasing developers for their money."
He added that buyers should not be made to suffer more than what
were going through.
As a matter of public interest, Chang said, a team of lawyers has
forward offering time and expertise to represent the 42 buyers pro