PETALING JAYA, 21 April: The Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Ministry will make an appeal against the Appellate court’s ruling that the extension of time (EOT) issued by the Controller of Housing is irregular.
“I’m sure the ministry is looking at it and they will be putting in an appeal. As for REHDA (Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association Malaysia), we will also be holding a watching brief on this. But looking at the Housing Development (Control & Licensing) Act, it is the minister’s sole discretion,” REHDA president Datuk Seri FD Iskandar told reporters yesterday.
He threw support behind the ministry, saying that the Controller has the right to issue EOT to property developers under the Housing Development (Control & Licensing) Act 1966, amended 2015. He said this is REHDA’s stand after the association and its lawyers had scrutinised the Act.
In reviewing the Act, FD Iskandar said there are things beyond the developer’s or contractor’s control such as flooding and stop work orders. He said in some cases, one project could be affected by problems faced by another project within close proximity.
“In dense areas like Petaling Jaya, you might have three or four developments within a very small area. So if one development is issued a stop work order for dengue, the other three will also receive the stop work order, because dengue is contagious,” he said, adding that there is no clause for force majeure in the Act.
He said it is not easy for developers to obtain EOTs from the Controller as the vetting process is very meticulous and the EOT is only granted in certain cases. Note that Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister Tan Sri Noh Omar recently revealed in Parliament that a total of 304 EOTs were granted by the Controller since 2014.
“I think that (304 EOTs) is not during construction. It’s right from the start. For the last four years. Today, when they do high rise 30-storeys and above, your sub-structure alone will take 18 months,” said FD Iskandar.
Earlier in February, the Appellate Court granted 104 house buyers an Order of Certiorari, quashing the minister’s decision to amend the time period for vacant possession of Sri Istana condominium in Kuala Lumpur.
Recall that the time period for vacant possession of Sri Istana was extended from 36 months to 48 months, in a letter dated Nov 17, 2015. The EOT was granted by Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan, who was the minister at the time.
— THE SUN