PETALING JAYA: Developers and their legal representatives are taken aback by the result of Tuesday’s ruling by the Federal Court which nullified the extra time sought by developers to complete their projects.
A meeting between ministry officials, representatives of the Real Estate & Housing Developers’ Association (Rehda) and their legal representatives will be held today to discuss the apex court’s decision, sources said.
The invitation to stakeholders from the ministry said “the meeting is to determine the action (to be) taken following the Federal Court decision”.
The meeting will be chaired by National Housing Department director-general N. Jayaselan.
Rehda president Datuk Soam Heng Choon said he would issue a statement after today’s meeting. Rehda has 1,461 registered members.
“Please don’t pre-empt any incorrect interpretation, ” he said on Tuesday.
Soam said the decision made (on Tuesday) is specific to BHL Construction Sdn Bhd’s case while the National House Buyers Association said it is retrospective.
Tuesday’s apex court ruling nullifying the extension of time granted to developers by the ministry’s housing controller – which comes at the expense of house buyers – have thrown open a scenario where more aggrieved house buyers are expected to seek legal action.
The financial implications of that ruling would be massive for both developers, the banks and buyers.
On Tuesday, Chief Justice Tan Sri Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat, leading a five-member panel, ruled that “as a result of the extended time given by developers, the purchasers were unable to claim for liquidated ascertained damages (LAD)”.
Tengku Maimun said the ministry did not give the house buyers an opportunity to be heard, that the action of the ministry “does not appear... to protect or safeguard the purchasers, but rather the developer...”
That case involved 104 buyers of Sri Istana Condominium in Old Klang Road by developer BHL Construction.
Between 2014 and July 2019, the ministry granted developers a total of 523 extensions, which translates into 77% of 678 applications over a five-year period.
On an annualised basis, 87% of applications were successful in 2014 and 78% in 2015. In 2016,79% applications were successful, 78% in 2018. Up to July 2019, there were 61 applications, 46 were approved, or 75%.
Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan was the Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister from 2014 until June 2016, after which came Tan Sri Noh Omar until the fall of the Barisan government.
It is to be noted that these applications for extra time to complete their projects came at a period when the property sector was red hot, which spurred developers to carry out multiple launches.
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