Abandoned housing and commercial projects: Call on the Prime Minister to solve the problem before his retirement
by Kerk Kim Hock
(Petaling Jaya, Thursday): In a parliamentary reply to me, the government revealed that as at December 2000, there were a total of 514 abandoned housing projects in the country.
The number of purchasers affected was 68,340 and the properties involved RM 7.5 billion.
As presently there is no law governing the development of commercial properties, the above figures do not therefore include abandoned or stalled commercial development projects. The total number of purchasers affected by abandoned projects will hence be much higher if purchasers of abandoned commercial projects involving industrial land development, shop offices and commercial complexes are included.
Although it is undeniable that the Federal government has made efforts to revive some of the abandoned housing projects in the country, there still exists a sizable number of stalled projects, both residential and commercial.
In Melaka alone, the stalled commercial projects include Liga Maju project (800 units), Malaysia China Light Industrial Project (300 units) and Pakatan Mawar project (800 units).
Work only resumed recently for the stalled Pulau Melaka project (1083 units).
While the government has always boasted about the rapid development of high rise buildings in Kuala Lumpur and has taken a lot of pride in having the tallest buildings in the world, it cannot ignore the fact that the existence of such unsolved and longstanding abandoned housing and commercial projects is a blot on the Prime Ministerís performance.
I certainly do not think that the Prime Minister, upon his retirement on October 31 this year, can claim total satisfaction of his performance, even by whatever criteria he chooses as yardstick of measurement, if he knows that so many purchasers who have suffered so much, will continue to do so without knowing when their projects will be revived.
As such, the Prime Minister must make the task to tackle all the abandoned projects as one of his key and urgent tasks before his retirement.
He should set up and head a special committee to solve the long-standing woes faced by tens of thousands of purchasers who have endured much hardship.
He should summon all the developers of stalled projects, identify the problems and intervene to ensure that the projects will be revived within a reasonable and acceptable time frame.
As one of the main grouses of purchasers of abandoned projects is that they have to continue bank loan interest without knowing when their projects will be revived, the Prime Minister should alleviate their plight by urging the banks to waive or at least reduce such interest imposed on the purchasers.
* Kerk Kim Hock, DAP Secretary General & MP for Kota Melaka