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'Tribunal will better protect housebuyers'
22/01/2006 Daily Express

Tuaran: Homebuyers in the State can rest assured that they would be protected further when the Tribunal for Housing Purchasers Claims is finally formed this year.

Local Government and Housing Minister, Datuk Hajiji Noor, on Saturday said the Ministry is in favour of forming the Tribunal as soon as possible.

"However, there are several aspects that need to be taken into consideration first," he said after officiating at the launching of the Tuaran Crocodile Farm, here.

These factors, he said, include appointment of Tribunal officers and members, studying (existing and) related regulations and legislation.

The Tribunal, approved during the State Legislative Assembly sitting in December last year, is meant to provide protection as well as a channel for property buyers to air their grievances.

Hajiji, who tabled the Housing (Control and Licensing of Developers) (Amendment) Enactment 2005, said it is the most comprehensive so far as it seeks to better protect house purchasers from errant developers.

In the past, many homebuyers fell victims to ambiguous interpretation of the law pertaining to property acquisition and subsequent remedy on defect property.

Hajiji said despite having solved many housing-related problems through pro-active approaches, the Ministry felt there is still work to be done, especially with the rapid housing industry growth and high market demand.

"At the same time, in order to realise the Government's aspiration to see everyone in the State has own house and overcome any related problems due to the rapid development in the industry, my Ministry wants the State's housing laws, especially their applications, to be comprehensively reviewed," he said.

The amendment Bill to the enactment, which had been amended twice, in 1995 and 1998, was the fruit of initial discussion with the housing industry and based on several provisions in the Federal 1966 Housing Development Act (Control and Licensing of Developers) (Amendment 2002).

Under the amendment, the Tribunal is to be headed by a Chairman to be appointed by the Minister from among members of the State Legal Service or ex-officer who had served at least 12 years.

The Tribunal's deputy chairman could be from the State Legal Service (SLS) or ex-officer who had served at least 12 years or advocates and solicitors of the Sabah and Sarawak High Court practising in the State for at least 12 years.

The other members, not more than three, are to be appointed either from the SLS or ex-officer or advocates and solicitors from the Sabah and Sarawak High Court or members of any registered professional bodies in Malaysia with at least 10 years' experience.

Housebuyers will be able to lodge claims with the Tribunal for any loss suffered or any matter concerning his or her interest under a Sale and Purchase agreement.


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