MIRI: The state governments of Sabah and Sarawak should each set up a housing tribunal similar to the National Housing Tribunal to provide a quick and cheaper avenue for house buyers to resolve their grouses.
Deputy Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Peter Chin Fah Kui said house buyers in the two states should have an alternative channel instead of having to spend heavily to settle such cases in court.
“Such a tribunal will be able to resolve some 60% of complaints through arbitration between the disputing parties.
“At present, house buyers in Sabah and Sarawak have no alternative but to go to court to resolve their housing disputes since they have no other channels to seek relief,” he said in an interview.
Chin, who is Miri MP, said the two states would need to amend their respective state housing laws to include a provision for the setting up of such tribunals.
He however, acknowledged that there would still be cases which would have to be referred to the courts.
Commenting on the progress of the tribunal in the peninsula, Chin said the ministry had sought an urgent decision from the Attorney-General’s Chamber on the scope of jurisdiction of the tribunal.
The ministry is appealing to the A-G to make a ruling on whether the tribunal has the power to hear and decide on complaints lodged by house buyers before Dec 1 last year, the date when the tribunal was officially activated.
“Housebuyers want the tribunal to be given the authority to hear complaints that they had filed before Dec 1, 2002. Housing developers had protested this, saying the tribunal was only authorised to hear and rule on complaints filed on and after that date,” he said.
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