|Woes of abandoned housing projects
19/06/2008 The Star Stories by Salina Khalid
TO have a home of one’s own is every person’s dream. But, for thousands of
families in Selangor, their dreams have turned into nightmares after the
houses they bought using big long-term bank loans were left incomplete and
the developers disappeared.
Many of them have been waiting for years, some
even decades, for their houses to be completed, but in the end, they were
left with shattered dreams and in a dire financial state with huge long-term
loans to service.
The initial joy of booking and then signing the sales and purchase
agreement for the house, followed by the granting of a bank loan, slowly
turns into dreadful and dismal feeling of fear, anger and sadness as the
time passes and work on their dream home is stopped.
All that they see is an incomplete structure left to rot by the building
contractors on a piece of idle land overgrown with lallang and construction
rubbish all over the place.
Dengue threat: Some abandoned houses can get filled with
stagnant water and become a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
According to Selangor state housing, building management and squatter
committee chairman Iskandar Abdul Samad, there are 141 abandoned projects in
the state, 108 of them housing projects.
“Most of the abandoned projects are located in the urban areas, with
Klang and Shah Alam on the top of the notorious list,” he said.
“We understand the financial burden the house buyers are facing and we
are doing our best to help them,” Iskandar said.
According to Iskandar, the state government has no legal ground to take
action against any party involved in the sales and purchase of a private
Overgrown: This abandoned project in Kajang has almost been
reclaimed by nature.
He said the sales and purchase agreement of a property was signed between
a purchaser and the private developer.
Iskandar said that as the contract was signed between both parties, any
breach of the contract should be settled in court.
“So when a housing project is abandoned, a buyer has to take private
legal action to seek remedy from the court. The state government does not
have any locus standi to take any legal action against any parties involved
in the matter,” he said.
“But, on humanitarian grounds, the state government through the Selangor
Property and Housing Board has taken several measures to help ease the
burden of these buyers,” he said.
“Our top priority is to ease the financial burden faced by the affected
families and help them find a solution to the problem,” he said.
According to Iskandar, about 30 abandoned projects have great potential
of being revived.
He said the state government was closely monitoring these projects,
hoping to have them revived.
Iskandar said the Selangor Property and Housing Board would work closely
with the Local Government and Housing Ministry on the matter.
He said regular meetings had been held with the developers, contractors,
local councils, technical departments and representatives of the purchasers
to seek solutions to revive the projects.
Iskandar: Most of the abandoned
projects are located in the urban areas.
“The state government is all ready to help if assistance is needed for
fast approval of permits or on matters pertaining to land,” he said.
“We will cut red tape and impose minimum conditions so that the projects
could be revived if the matters do not involve security and safety issues,”
Iskandar said that talks were also being held with the developers whose
projects were under liquidation.
He said regular talks were being held with the Malaysian Insolvency
Department to see if the Selangor Property and Housing Board could help in
reviving the affected projects.
“The state is also studying whether it is possible for it to repossess
the land of the abandoned or problematic projects so that it could be
revived by a new developer,” Iskandar said.