Homebuyers’ body calls for housing minister to be stripped of power to grant extensions

Chang was one of the few key figures in the housing industry who were summoned by the Council today. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Chang was one of the few key figures in the housing industry who were summoned by the Council today. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, May 17 — The National House Buyers Association today submitted a few recommendations regarding the country’s affordable housing projects in a brief meeting with the Council of Eminent Persons.

When met after the 20-minute briefing, its honorary secretary-general Chang Kim Loong said among the issues brought to the Council’s attention included the removal of power to grant the Extension of Time (EoT) by the new minister of Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government.

He said this is important to avoid abuse of power by any minister who will be chosen to fill in the spot.

Between 2014 to 2017, he said a total of 304 projects were awarded EoT from the Ministry, which hindered house buyers from being compensated in the case that their house completion is delayed.

“A house buyer typically can get compensation if the developers exceed the 36-month timeframe.

“But there are some developers who use it as a loophole by asking for a one-year EoT from the ministry, obviously, at the disadvantage of home buyers,” he told reporters at the Ilham Tower lobby after meeting some of the council members.

“The new government must not allow this and remove such powers from the hands of the minister,” he added.

In today’s briefing, Chang met with former finance minister Tun Daim Zainuddin, former Bank Negara governor Tan Sri Zeti Akhtar Aziz, former Petronas CEO Tan Sri Hassan Merican and a representative of mogul Tan Sri Robert Kuok, Tan Sri Oh Siew Nam.

He also spoke about the implementation of the build-then-sell (BTS) 10:90 system as the industry’s main housing delivery model.

“The meeting went well, I only had 20 minutes to speak but I explained the recommendations from our side and it was acknowledged by the council member.

“The BTS 10:90 system is a far safer mode for house delivery system as it will safeguard the rakyat’s interest and the Government should compel the industry to adopt the system so that it will simultaneously reduce the number of abandoned house projects,” he said.

The 10:90 model, which was supposed to be made mandatory by 2015, would require house buyers to pay only 10 per cent of the down payment and settle the remainder upon the completion of the house and collection of the keys.

He said the aspiration was to have the system adapted by the whole country by 2022.

Chang was one of the few key figures in the housing industry who were summoned by the Council today.

Among others who reportedly have met with the Council today were PR1MA Corporation CEO Datuk Abdul Mutalib Alias, Syarikat Perumahan Negara Berhad (SPNB) group CEO Datuk Ahmad Azizi Ali, and 1Malaysia Public Housing Project (PPA1M) unit head Shuhardi Turaz Radzik Aznan.

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