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Housing Setbacks: Fix our own backyard first
07/06/2007 NST By Woo Sow Pheng, Johor Baru

ACCORDING to "Real estate boom looms" (NST, June 3), the country is now to be launched as "an international property destination" that will attract billions in foreign investment and create new jobs.

I wonder, though, whether we have thought of cleaning up our own backyard first before launching such promotions.

Abandoned projects are everywhere, especially in Johor.

Have they spared a thought for the thousands of victims of abandoned projects who are still waiting for their homes?

Our committee, Cahaya Kota Putri Pro-tem Committee, represents 1,090 buyers of Taman Cahaya Kota Putri near Johor Baru, one of the unfinished projects.

All these efforts may come to nothing if these abandoned properties stand as evidence of the inability of the state and federal agencies to monitor and control the activities of unscrupulous developers.

How did Taman Cahaya Kota Putri come to this state?

When the 1,720 units of housing were launched in 2002, 1,374 units were sold.

The housing project stalled after one year and buyers were left with unfinished houses and bare land until today.

After a lot of expense and time invested by the committee elected by 600 buyers to save the project, we can now look back and say: "Why did we even bother at all?"

Memorandums, numerous letters and pleas to the relevant authorities for action, especially the Housing and Local Government Ministry and the minister, have produced nothing.

It took buyers seven months to get a first meeting with the ministry, and then to have it adjourned without any action taken as the ministry wanted three months to monitor and follow up on the case. That meeting was last July.

The project went from being a stalled project to an abandoned one (as declared by the ministry in its Senarai Project Terbengkalai 2005 that being the only decisive action taken so far) and was later placed under receivership and finally the winding-up.

We have failed to revive our project but it is not because of a lack of trying.

Therefore, we urge the authorities preparing for the boom in the property market to think of those that went bust.

Neglecting those unhappy victims of failed housing properties will not be good for the image we are trying to project as "an international property destination".

If the laws cannot give adequate protection, a safer mode of housing delivery like 10:90 is necessary to protect buyers from further suffering, financial losses and victimisation


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