This website is


 Welcome    Main    Forum    FAQ    Useful Links    Sample Letters   Tribunal  


Responsibility has a name
18/02/08 Property New Straits Times Salleh Buang

Over a year ago, on Feb 12, 2007 to be precise, the latest legislative exercise to tighten our housing law – received Royal Assent.

Amendments to the Housing Development Act 1966 were gazetted on Feb 15, 2007 and effectively became law on April 12, 2007. These changes are considered by many as “completing the final touches” of an earlier legislative exercise undertaken in 2002.

Last year’s housing law amendments did not come alone: There were related changes to other laws as well – the Street, Drainage and Buildings Act (the principal law under which the Uniform Building By-Laws 1984 fall) and the Strata Titles Act.

And there was also a new law enacted, the Buildings and Common Property (Maintenance and Management) Act. However, this week I’d like to focus on the amended Development Act.

The most striking feature of the amendment to the housing law is its long title. The new version reads, “An Act to provide for the control and licensing of the business of housing development in West Malaysia, the protection of the interest of purchasers and for matters connected therewith.”

The addition of seven words – “the protection of the interest of purchasers” – is indeed overdue.

At long last, Parliament has taken cognisance of what former Lord President Tun Mohamed Suffian Hashim said more than 25 years ago, in the matter of SEA Housing Corp Sdn Bhd vs Lee Poh Choo (1982, 2 MLJ 31) – that the primary objective of the Housing Act is to protect purchasers.

With the amendments now in place, many quarters have asked whether self-regulation and the protection of purchasers can indeed go hand in hand.

Or, to phrase the question differently, “Won’t self-regulation put purchasers’ interests in grave jeopardy?”

The shift to self-regulation can be seen in the replacement of the Certificate of Fitness for Occupation (CFO) with the Certificate of Completion and Compliance (CCC). However, the introduction of the CCC does not mean the local authority has lost its role; nor does it mean that the local authority can abdicate from its statutory duties.

Our leaders appear to be convinced that CCC will bring bureaucratic red tape to an end; that the end result will be house purchasers being able to move into their new homes more quickly, without in any way forsaking safety or security.

The local authority was responsible for issuing the CFO, but the CCC can only be issued by a “Principal Submitting Person” (PSP) – an architect, an engineer or a registered building draughtsman (for buildings not exceeding two storeys and an area of less than 3,230sq ft).

On its part, the local authority will still have to shoulder the task of receiving and approving building plans and issuing planning permission in the usual way – except perhaps now more efficiently under the onestop centre (OSC) initiative implemented in April last year.

Its power to carry out site inspections and act on complaints is not in the least affected or eroded. In the event of any breach or non-compliance with the law, the local authority can issue a notice in writing to prohibit the PSP from issuing CCCs.

It is unlikely the PSP will ignore such a notice from the local authority. The recent amendment to the Street, Drainage and Building Act has enhanced the penalty for not complying with the orders of the local authority with a custodial sentence of three years. Surely no PSP will risk jail for just a fistful of ringgit – apart from the likelihood of being barred from practice.

Friends who are confident that self-regulation and the protection of purchasers can go hand in hand tell me to take a closer look at the “responsibility matrix” embedded in the new CCC procedures.

Each construction process, they point out, must be verified by professionals and contractors: There are 21 certification forms that need to be endorsed along the way, from the commencement of construction until the point of completion.

These procedures and processes are now set out in the new Schedules under the Uniform Building By- Laws that were also revised last year.

Undeniably, the task of a PSP is not an easy one. In the early stages of a project, the PSP has to get the necessary approval from the relevant authorities; thereafter, he or she must inform the local authority of the commencement of construction work, and then supervise the work until completion to make sure the contractors comply fully with the law and adhere faithfully to the approved building plans.

The PSP also has to report cases of breach and noncompliance. Thus, before a CCC can be issued, the PSP must be completely satisfied that the work has been completed in accordance with the approved building plans.

In addition, the PSP must make sure that all Form Gs (as required under the new building by-laws) have been duly filled up and certified, and confirmation of supply/ connection of the various essential services from the relevant agencies has been received.

The underlying rationale for the introduction of the CCC is that house purchasers can get vacant possession of their dream homes earlier, since it comes together with vacant possession.

The old problem of purchasers being given their house keys by the developer but not together with the right to occupy (via the CFO) is now a thing of the past.

With Form Gs putting into place the new “matrix of responsibility” for all parties concerned in the construction process, the government believes there will be greater accountability all around. In a nutshell, the government is confident the CCC will bring with it better work quality – certainly in sync with the overall objective of the law – to safeguard purchasers’ interests.


Main   Forum  FAQ  Useful Links  Sample Letters  Tribunal  

National House Buyers Association (HBA)

No, 31, Level 3, Jalan Barat, Off Jalan Imbi, 55100, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tel: 03-21422225 | 012-3345 676 Fax: 03-22601803 Email:

© 2001-2009, National House Buyers Association of Malaysia. All Rights Reserved.