House buyers welcome new Johor bill

Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar accompanied by the Crown Prince Tunku Ismail Ibrahim (behind him) and Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin during the 13th state assembly at Bangunan Sultan Iskandar, May 29, 2014. — Bernama pic
Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar accompanied by the Crown Prince Tunku Ismail Ibrahim (behind him) and Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin during the 13th state assembly at Bangunan Sultan Iskandar, May 29, 2014. — Bernama pic

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PETALING JAYA, June 9 — National House Buyers Association (HBA) secretary general Chang Kim Loong said the proposed housing board bill set to be tabled at the state assembly today is a step in the right direction but more could be done to promote real estate in Johor.

While the Johor Housing and Real Property Enactment Board Bill and the establishment of the Johor Housing and Real Property Board would spur housing development in the state, Chang said royalties should not be involved in administrative duties.

“The bill is a welcomed enactment by HBA but we feel rulers should not be part of the set up as the Sultan should not be involved in the administrative business of the elected state government. After all, the state government has the executive power to run the state,” said Chang.

“The establishment of a housing board would regulate any discrepancies and issues surrounding the housing and property industries.”

He suggested more could be done to strengthen the bill.

“Clause 6(2)(k) of the bill states the board has the power to salvage and rescue problematic and abandoned projects. We feel the state authority should instead adopt the build-then-sell concept, which had been studied thoroughly and approved by the Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Ministry,” he said.

He said the state should maintain a register of blacklisted property developers that had failed, neglected or refused to complete their projects.

Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association Malaysia president Datuk Seri Michael Yam, however, preferred to keep mum over the bill, adding he did not wish to comment without understanding its contents.

“We are on sensitive ground here, and I would not like to speculate until the full understandings and implications of the act is known,” he said.

“Needless to say, all legislation emanating from the state should be aligned both in principle with the constitution.”

He also said that the proposed enactment should also stand the test of being fair and good to the people and in the interest of the stakeholders.

Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had, in his recent blog posting, opposed the attempt to grant the Sultan of Johor power in the housing bill, citing foreign interference.

“It is seen that some quarters are making use of the royalty to overcome national policies and objectives,” he posted on his Chedet.cc blog last Friday.

“These people must stop, especially when they are foreigners.

“I will write more about this but as the Johor State Council is about to change certain rules, I deem it necessary that these attempts to effectively change the constitution be realised by the citizens of this country.”

Dr Mahathir said such an attempt would further fuel the existing feeling of disrespect for the royals.

“Although by and large the Malays are for the institution of the monarch, when their ability to defend is eroded, they might forgo tradition,” he said.

The bill had earlier provided the Johor ruler the authority to appoint or remove members of the state’s Housing and Real Property Board, as well as decide on their remuneration.

The sultan could also dissolve the board and approve the establishment of a corporation to maintain, develop or manage any housing plan, project scheme or industry.

The bill further empowers the sultan to direct an investigation of the board’s transactions, with its annual budget and accounts to be submitted to the ruler.

Following widespread criticism, an amended bill will be tabled at the state assembly today.

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