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SPNB must pay up
26/11/2009 The Malay Mail By Pearl Lee

KAJANG: The Ministry of Finance has told its wholly-owned company Syarikat Perumahan Negara Bhd (SPNB) to pay up contractors it owes and assured that there will be no government bailout for the national housing board.

"They have paid portions of what they owe and they will have to pay up the remaining, or else there will be serious consequences to other parties," Minister Of Finance II Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah told The Malay Mail this morning.

He was attending the Culture, Ideas and Values Programme by Institut Sultan Iskandar UTM at Country Heights Resort and Leisure here.

Husni was responding to questions on whether the government had set up a task force to look into alleged misappropriations which may have led to SPNB's failure to pay up the contractors.

He said no task force will be set up to resolve the matter as he viewed the problem as part and parcel of a business cycle.

"This is just a normal problem for companies and it is just a part of a business cycle. In this cycle, there is land, and then they (SPNB) construct houses and then they sell them. If any private company has a problem like this, do we set up a special task force to settle the problem?"

Husni said SPNB had informed the ministry that it would be relying on three methods to raise funds to pay up 34 Bumiputera contractors who have yet to receive full payment for housing construction projects carried out throughout the country.

"SPNB has informed us that they will be relying on their land, unsold houses and other financing solutions," Husni said, declining to elaborate further on the details of the method of payment. The Malay Mail had last month highlighted the plight of 34 Class A Bumipetera contractors nationwide who had not been paid by SPNB for development projects carried out over the years.

According to sources, contractors had been informed by SPNB in August this year that it did not have the money to make payment.

Malaysian Malay Contractors Association chairman Datuk Roslan Awang Chik had told The Malay Mail that contractors had sought intervention from the association, hoping that their problem would be resolved.

As a result of this, the paper had confronted SPNB chairman Datuk Azian Osman on the plight of the contractors who later admitted that the company did owe money to the 34 contractors concerning 34 housing development projects nationwide amounting to a total of 35,000 housing units worth between RM100,000 and RM150,000 each.

He had blamed the economy and poor sales in houses as the reason why payment had not been made to the contractors.

Although contractors had claimed that RM500 million was owed to them, Azian had said that the exact amount was, in fact, below RM300 million.

Azian had given his word that the contractors would be paid up by year end.

He declined to say how SPNB was raising the funds and instead said that "SPNB had their own way to resolve the matter", declining to confirm or deny that the money would come from the Finance Ministry.

SPNB was set up in 1997 to provide affordable homes in line with national housing policy objectives.

Husni also told reporters that the government would implement the Goods and Services Tax (GST) by 2011.

"Extensive studies had been carried out on the matter and once implemented, it would not burden consumers," he said.


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