White knight for abandoned projects
07/06/2008 NST By Chang Kim Loong
I refer to a recent news article in
New Straits Times on the subject of a
few housing projects in Puchong, Selangor, that were abandoned by their
developer, Talam Corp Bhd.
I am extremely excited by the assurance made by
Minister of Housing and Local Government Datuk Ong Ka Chuan that the plight
of the victims would soon be over and that he will be making "a favourable
announcement" this month.
He seems very confident that
White Knight is in place to salvage the projects, made up of Taman Lestari
Permai, Taman Lestari Puchong, Taman Saujana Puchong 9E and Taman Punchak
Jalil Phase 10A.
The Honourable Minister was
quoted as saying that "we are currently in talks with a 'White Knight'
developer to salvage the project".
However, I wonder just how
positive the talk is - I believe the talking has been going on for over two
years already, without any solution in sight.
I also beg to disagree with the
Honourable Minister that taking punitive action against the developer isn't
his immediate priority.
For as long as the government
continues to adopt such a stand, the Housing Development Act will continue
to be breached because wayward developers will continue to try their luck.
Amending housing laws will not
prevent housing project from being abandoned. This is more so when
enforcement of the Act is so shabby.
The Honourable Minister seems to
imply that because the Act has been amended three times, it has managed to
achieve a reduction in the number of cases. But I think even a single case
is one case too many!
In other words, every single
person who has paid for his house must get his house.
He also said the state
governments must be accountable for approving the land upon which projects
Perhaps the Honourable Minister
is unaware it is his Housing Ministry that issues the developers' licences
and receives the security deposits from developers. It is also his ministry
that is supposed to be the monitoring agent.
The Housing Ministry has been
given wide-ranging powers to ensure housing projects are not abandoned. So
what happened to all those safety nets that our Parliament put in place?
One can only symphatise with
those buyers of abandoned projects who are so distressed they feel their
only option is to march to Parliament so their grievances can be heard.
Having paid so much of their
hard-earned savings but not getting their houses and with housing loan
interests accumulating but no solution in sight, such actions are certainly
Chang Kim Loong, AMN.
National House Buyers Association