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Monday, 9 June 2014 | MYT 5:46 PM

Johor approves controversial housing bill

NUSAJAYA: The Johor Housing and Real Property Enactment Board Bill 2014 was unanimously passed by the state legislative assembly here Monday.

The controversial bill was approved with a majority vote of 38 from Barisan Nasional while 18 from the Opposition voted against it despite efforts from the Opposition to delay passing the enactment for further studies.

The Bill was passed at 5.20pm after Dr Boo Cheng Hau (DAP-Skudai), Yeo Tung Siong (DAP-Skudai) and Wong Shu Qi (DAP-Skudai) suggested for the passing of the enactment to be postponed. 

Only 29 votes were needed to pass the Bill.

The Bill, which is divided into six sections, 51 clauses and three schedules, was tabled by Housing and Local Government Committee chairman Datuk Abdul Latiff Bandi.

Eight lawmakers, including three from the opposition, debated on the Bill for three hours before it was approved.

Changes were made to the controversial Bill to limit the powers of the Sultan by making 10 amendments to 10 clauses, including stipulating that the Ruler has to act on the advice of the Mentri Besar.

The amendment involves Clause 4 (3) Composition of the Board - changing the phrase from "members of the board may be paid remuneration and allowances as determined by the Sultan" to "members of the board may be paid remuneration and allowances as determined by the state authorities."

Under Clause 12 (2) Appointment of Directors, Officers and Civil Servants, the appointment of the directors shall have prior approval of the Sultan on the advise of the Sultan, instead of solely base on the approval of the Sultan.

Under Clause 43 (1) Winding up and Liquidation, the state authority may wind up or dissolve the board by publishing it in the Government Gazette, instead of "the Sultan may windup and dissolve by having the order gazetted."

In his winding up speech, Abdul Latiff said the enactment was not meant to burden any quarters but at strengthening the housing and real estate sector in Johor.

He said the Johor Housing and Real Property Board would be tasked with policymaking, implementation, coordination and planning of the housing and real estate development in the state.

"It will help facilitate people as well as stakeholders such as developers and consultants in housing and real estate affairs in Johor," he added.

Earlier, Maulizan Bujang (BN-Tiram), when debating the Bill, said from the government perspective, the purpose, goal and function of the enactment was to strengthen real estate development in Johor, particularly for the benefit of the middle and lower income groups.

He said the housing and real estate sector in Johor could be managed more efficiently and effectively with the setting up of the board.

"I hope the board will identify suitable land in the city for the development of affordable housing. This will ensure that there will be houses for people from various backgrounds where development are taking place," he said.

Wong Shu Qi (DAP-Senai) said although the enactment was timely, several issues needed to be clarified.

All assemblymen have to understand people's needs, especially that of young couples before formulating policies and laws for the benefit of all groups, he added.

Related articles:

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