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Rhythm Avenue buyers to get keys by year-end
21/06/2007 The Star By Lim Chia Ying

HOUSEBUYERS of the stalled Rhythm Avenue service apartments in USJ 19 are praying hard that they will finally get keys to their units by the end of this year.

Some 1,000 of them came in full force for a meeting last Saturday at 3K Complex Subang Jaya for updates on the development status and progress on the apartments.

The meeting was held jointly by financier AmBank (represented by AmBank Group's general manager (loan rehabilitation) Yip Kok Leong, Kinrara assemblyman Dr Kow Cheong Wei and Rhythm Avenue and Newgate Avenue purchasers committee chairman Pritpal Singh.

Also present was Yap Yun Fatt, special assistant to Subang Jaya assemblyman Datuk Lee Hwa Beng.

Big crowd: Rhythm Avenue service apartment buyers listening to details on their properties at the meeting held on Saturday. The buyers were supposed to have received their keys before the year-end but this was once again delayed.

Currently, work on the apartments are nearing completion and the project is moving into its next step, which involves physical completion, inspection by authorities, application for certificate of fitness/delivery of vacant possession (VP), and payment of progress billings and revival expenses (RE) before key delivery.

“Hopefully, at the next meeting we’ll be delivering good news to you which is the handing over of your keys,” said Kow.

“This has been a hard-fought battle but we are finally seeing something positive.''

He added that the state government has approved the waiving of late charges on assessment taxes so as not to burden the buyers.

Price Waterhouse Coopers is the receiver for Rhythm Avenue.

Yap said he was grateful that AmBank was helping to revive the project using their own funds, involving an additional RM80mil.

“They did it on humanitarian grounds. Despite the setbacks, they did not sell the project to another developer as otherwise, purchasers would have lost their rights.

“This is why we are thankful to Ambank,” said Yap.

Numerous house buyers conveyed their disappointment over the non-waiving of interest by several banks, despite the issuance of letter from Bank Negara for them to do so.

House buyer Lim Joo Seok said she borrowed RM71,000 for her RM94,000 Rhythm Avenue unit in 1998 when the contract was signed, but till now, the payment is yet to be completed.

“I’ve been paying RM600 monthly since 1998, but I was told that I had only paid up slightly over RM60,000 until now.

“If the interest cannot be waived, we can never finish paying. Also, we have to rent a house to stay in while waiting for this project to be completed,” said Lim.

Another house buyer, who wished to be known only as Madam Ng, said she could not understand why some banks were unsympathetic.

“Despite us showing the letter to the bank issued by Bank Negara, it is of no use. For many of us, this is our first house and we have exhausted our EPF savings, for just the interest alone.

“Some banks, as I was told by my friends, were kind enough to waive that interest so why can’t ours do the same?

Another disappointed house buyer Sandy Chong said people would happily pay up everything if some of these banks could be more understanding and waive the interest.

The Rhythm Avenue project was stalled for six years after it was supposed to have been completed in 2001. It consists of 277 retail and 1,039 apartment units.

Pritpal Singh told buyers who have been calling up Dr Kow over the progress status of Newgate Avenue (the other abandoned apartment in USJ 21 which has since been renamed as Newgate 21 after being taken over for re-development by developer Pinggiran Setia Sdn Bhd late last year) that the project would go on soon as the developer had secured a new party to come in as partner.

“As for the waiver of interest, some of our committee members together with Lee and Dr Kow will be meeting Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Dr Ng Yen Yen next month over this.

“I know some banks behave arrogantly against purchasers although it is not their fault the project was abandoned.

“Banks must help buyers and once the project is completed, both parties will have options to resolve the matter,” added Pritpal Singh.


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