Housing Tribunal: Shocking that the Housing
Minister is still not certain about the powers of the Housing Tribunal
by Kerk Kim Hock
(Petaling Jaya, Thursday):
In response to an appeal from the
House buyers Association that the Housing Tribunal be allowed to hear
complaints dating back to almost two and a half years to allow more house
buyers to have their problems heard, Housing Minister Dato Ong Ka Ting said
that his Ministry would seek the advice of the Attorney General's Chambers
on whether the Tribunal could have such powers.
The Housing Developers (Control and Licensing)(Amendment) Act 2001 was
presented, with short notice , for Parliamentary debate more than a year
Although the proposed amendments were presented with such unnecessary haste,
the Ministry took about one year to finally make the amendments effective on
It is therefore shocking that after his Ministry tock such along time to
make the amendments effective and that the Chairman of the Tribunal has been
appointed, Dato Ong Ka Ting now claims that he is not sure about the powers
of the Tribunal.
This certainly does not reflect well of Ka Ting's and his Ministry's
As the amendments do not specify that the Tribunal has the retrospective
power, I therefore do not share Ong 's optimism that the Tribunal could hear
backdated cases. Nevertheless., I will wait for Ong to announce the
clarification and interpretations by the Attorney General.
However, Dato Ong Ka Ting should be prepared to publicly answer the
following three questions:
1.. If it is true that it has always been the intention of the Housing
Ministry to allow the Tribunal to hear all past cases, that is, cases of
sale and purchase agreements signed before 1.12.2002, why did he not provide
for such retrospective powers clause in the amendments presented to
Parliament last year?
2.. In the event that the Attorney General concludes that the Tribunal does
not have the retrospective powers, is he prepared to do the necessary
amendments in the Parliament meeting which will be held in March next year?
3.. As the DAP has argued that the present Act still contains weaknesses and
loopholes, is he prepared to make more amendments so as to ensure that the
house buyers can be better protected?
I wish, in particular, refer to one provision which the DAP MPs had
questioned while taking part in the Parliamentary debate last year but which
the Housing Minister failed to provide a satisfactory reply.
The new section 8 A provided that a licensed housing developer may apply to
the minister for approval to terminate all the sale and purchase agreements
entered into in respect of a housing development or any phase of a housing
development which the housing developer is engaged in, carries on or
undertakes or causes to be undertaken if-
1.. six months after the execution of the sale and purchase agreements,
development of the housing accommodation in that housing development or
phase has not commenced: and.
2.. at least seventy -five percent of all the purchasers who have entered
into the sale and purchase agreements have agreed with the housing developer
in writing to terminate the sale and purchase agreements.
The question, which Ong should answer, is that why the house buyers are not
given the similar right to apply to the Housing Minister to have the sale
and purchase agreements terminated? Why must this right be confined to the
Kerk Kim Hock, DAP Secretary General and MP for Kota Melaka