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SHEDA Taken Aback By Passing Of Bill
12/11/2009 NG KIANG CHIEW

KUCHING: The Sarawak Housing and Real Estate Developers’ Association (SHEDA) is baffled and upset over the passing of the Housing Developers (Control & Licensing) (Amendment) Bill 2009 last Tuesday without any amendments.

A statement, authorised by its President Zaidi bin Ahmad, said that despite their concerns with Sections 10A and 10B and strong objections from many of the learned members of the House during the debate, the Bill was passed.

“The concerns of developers are that the powers to enter, search, inspect and seize, etc, without warrant can lead to abuse of power, and it will not be far-fetched to mention that some overzealous enforcers will use this power arbitrarily against the developers for whatsoever reason they may have.

“The sections certainly give excessive power to law enforcers who include the controller, inspector and any police officer. The inspector and the rank of any police officer was also not properly defined,” it said.

It added that the Housing Development (Control and Licensing) Act 1966 (Act 118) and Regulations of Peninsula Malaysia required a Magistrate to issue a warrant for the same purpose after pursuing the normal court procedure and application.

“In line with the 1Malaysia Concept and the government’s initiative for a clean and transparent public service, the proposed amendments have to be further deliberated to follow the Act applicable to Peninsula Malaysia to prevent possible abuse of powers. The draconian new insertion appears to intimidate and treat all developers as if they are criminals and dishonourable. Abandoned projects in Sarawak are minimal and their failures are not due solely to intention to cheat,” the statement added.

It pointed out that the housing industry was the most regulated industry in the country and developers had to obtain approval for a development project from not less than 12 authorities.

“Moreover, each authority has its own set of guidelines, rules, regulations and ordinances to adhere to, and getting approvals from all these authorities is tedious and time consuming,” it added.

“SHEDA would continue to strongly seek a review of the proposed ‘Powers of entry, inspection and seizure without warrant’ with the Ministry as this draconian law is not going to do the industry any good. The supply of houses may be affected if developers decide to call it a day and the consequence will affect the pricing of houses,” it said.


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