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HOUSING PROJECTS: Ministry must take a clear stand
18/03/2009 NST By : S.K. , Kuala Lumpur

I REFER to Chang Kim Loong's advice to house buyers in his letters "Check the fine print first" (NST, March 11) and "Build-then-sell is the best way to go" (NST, March 13).

I commend and thank Chang and his team at the National House Buyers Association (HBA) for their efforts to not only educate the public on property purchases but also to curb rampant losses in the housing sector by spearheading the introduction of safeguards for purchasers.

It is unfortunate that I only found out about HBA after I became a victim of an abandoned project.

On Dec 6 last year, I attended a seminar entitled "Protection Not Guaranteed" organised by HBA. I must say that I was shocked and sickened to hear from speakers about the sad and desperate situations of house buyers, and the huge losses (not just financial) that result from abandoned housing projects. I realised then that I was not alone. Thousands of Malaysians and many foreigners are victims.

Victims of these abandoned projects have approached the relevant authorities for advice and help. Alas, they have been given the runaround, with no authority taking responsibility or having the inclination to help. Even after 10 years (for some projects, even longer) no settlement is in sight for these victims.

It is good that the HBA is here to advise house buyers. As a victim who does not wish to see anybody else suffering the same misfortune, may I suggest that if the authorities are unwilling to be the drivers of good practice, then potential house buyers should be at the forefront to ensure their own protection. I believe the "build-then-sell" is a good concept.

House buyers, remember! When you are the paymaster, the developer and banks are your friends. But when you become a victim of an abandoned project, you are on your own!

Despite the many articles and appeal letters over decades, the Ministry of Housing and Local Government, and related authorities remain silent on these issues.

It is disappointing that these huge losses that cause hardship to so many people are not addressed.

Instead, more subsidies and benefits are given to developers to start new projects, some of which may end up being abandoned.

Perhaps the minister would like to address these issues?


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