Hitting the roof over high cost

Unit buyer Aishikhel Muzaimis Md Rejail, 42, showing his offer letter for the LMC in front of the apartment in Mount Erskine, Penang. – Photos: MUSTAFA AHMAD/The Star

A LOW medium-cost (LMC) unit on Penang island costs RM72, 500.

However, several housebuyers are claiming that this is not the case as a developer has arm- twisted them into buying units that cost more than RM100, 000.

Housewife Nor Nazirah Sudin, 34, claimed that she paid RM182, 000 for her LMC unit, which came with a RM30, 000 car park that she “did not want”.

“I am a housewife and my husband works as a driver.

“We had to fork out 10% of RM182, 000 for the downpayment of the house, when in fact, it should only be RM7, 250 out of the original price of RM72, 500.

“It’s a different price for different units as most housebuyers have to either take the renovation package or the car park, ” she said during a press conference at the Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) office on Wednesday.

E-Garden house buyers Muhammad Hafiz Mohammed Yusoff 30, showing the leaking of his unit  during the press conference at CAP office in George Town yesterday. - Starpic by MUSTAFA AHMAD/The Star/31 July 2019E-Garden house buyers Muhammad Hafiz Mohammed Yusoff 30, showing the leaking of his unit during the press conference at CAP office in George Town yesterday. - Starpic by MUSTAFA AHMAD/The Star/31 July 2019

About six families, including Nor Nazirah’s, who were the housebuyers of a LMC housing project in Tanjung Tokong, were at the office to voice their grouses over the price of their units.

Another housewife, Letchumi Govindasamy, 52, claimed that she paid RM130, 000 for her unit, which had a car park.

“My husband and I were saddled with higher monthly instalments which we never planned.

“None of the people here paid RM72, 500, which is the price of an LMC unit.

“The amount stated in our sales and purchase (S&P) agreement was between RM130, 000 and RM180, 000, ” she added.

CAP head of complaints Ravinder Singh said the S&P agreements should reflect the amount set by the state for an LMC unit, which is RM72, 500.

“The developer can have a different agreement for the car park or renovation packages if the buyer is willing to take them instead of forcing the buyer to purchase them.

“State authorities have claimed that they are optional and purchasers do not need to purchase them, ” he said.

Ravinder also said a solution to the matter would be for the purchasers and developer to sign the S&P agreements at the Housing Department and not at the developer’s office.

State housing committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo said the state would not tolerate such “arm-twisting” tactics.

“When an official complaint is made by a purchaser, the developer will be called in to explain.

“In most cases, it’s a willing buyer and willing seller as most of them are bare units and the purchaser would want some kind of renovation before moving in, ” he said.

Jagdeep also urged the unit holders to lodge an official complaint with the Housing Department on the issue.

Real Estate and Housing Developers Association (Rehda) Penang chairman Datuk Toh Chin Leong said the association had no control over its members on pricing.

“However, the LMC is a controlled price product and the package cannot be made compulsory, ” he said.

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