Obtaining strata titles:
a developer's duty
Prof Salleh Buang hopes that a recent decision of the Malacca High Court can
throw some more light on this difficult area of the law.
Urgent need to revamp
the Housing Developers Act
The Housing Developers Act 1966 which is more than 30 years old is in need
of a total revamp, judging from the number of calls by the public and local
What makes buyers unhappy
with legal provision in S&P
When a Malaysian buys a house or an apartment from a licensed housing developer,
the sale and purchase agreement that the parties are obliged to sign is not
open to negotiation.
Pitfalls of buying a model
THERE is a strong urge bordering on an irresistible compulsion for people
with money and no patience to buy an existing model house, also called a show
house, built by a housing developer on the occasion of the launch of a new
project, or a new phase of a project.
Financing an illegal
On January 5, 2001 the Kuala Lumpur High Court handed down a decision which
I think should be read by everyone involved in the housing industry and more
so by senior management in financial institutions.
NLC 2001 amendments
It has been quite some time since the National Land Code 1965 (NLC) was amended.
Make them pay
Punitive measures are in place for false advertising, perhaps it is time to
The law’s stepchildren
One of land law’s most important (for the squatter, the most awful) decisions
is none other than Sidek & 461 Ors v.Government of Perak  1 MLJ 313,
where Raja Azlan Shah J. (as he then was) said, in one of his most-oft repeated
judgments, that “squatters have no rights in law or equity”.
Weak debate on housing bill
Only time will tell whether the new law is up to expectations or still a major
A news item in a local daily at the end of February raised some eyebrows because
it queried the propriety of joint ventures affecting State land in Kelantan.
The long and winding
If a problem involving indiscipline was to occur in a school, the problem
would usually be tackled either by the class teacher, the discipline master
or the principal, in that ascending order.
Is it a crime?
Under the Housing Developers (Control & Licensing) Act 1966, as it stood before
its most recent amendment, housing developers can be sent to prison by the
courts (apart from having to pay substantial fines) if they commit any of
the following offences:
The Act is here
but when is the SPA?
The Housing Development (Control and Licensing) Act 1966 (amended last year)
is ready for implementation and enforcement but where is the standard
Sale and Purchase Agreement, wonders Salleh Buang
on land ownership
Land ownership in Peninsular Malaysia is governed by the National Land Code
1965 (NLC), in force since January 1966. Since the law is based on the Torrens
System (where “the register is everything”) ownership is evidenced by having
one’s name on the title.
Right to sue still doubtful
Whether an assignment is in fact absolute does not have any impact on section
purchasers' indemnity insurance
Things are brightening up in downtown Alor Setar. Everyone is looking forward
excitedly to seeing it attain city status by next year.
Backdating the law
Probably everyone by now knows that the updated version of the Housing Developers
(Control and Licensing) Act 1966 (with its new name) has been in full force
since Dec 1.
Raw deal for purchasers
Housing means different things to different people. For the average Malaysian
who is still without a roof over his head to call his own, a house is not
just a shelter but also a home and sanctuary.
Appraising the new
There was an e-mail message in my inbox recently from an old friend, NT of
Fine-tuning public auction
When the National Land Code, 1965 was amended recently, many thought it was
merely to effect a shift in policy announced earlier by the Prime Minister.
Enlarging the Ministry's
I have rarely found anything useful in the Internet portals maintained by
our various federal ministries and departments, but there are exceptions to
Blots on the landscape
Derelict buildings are usually made up of abandoned buildings, although there
have been cases where they are occupied, if not by their owners, then by tenants
Dislodging your interest
I recently received a query via e-mail from a reader in Shah Alam, Selangor.
Ahmad (not his real name), sold a piece of land to a distant relative, Borhan
(also not his real name), over a year ago.
Ask people what they think of the National Land Code and invariably the reply
will be: “I can’t understand it.
Right to vacant possession
In a standard Sale and Purchase Agreement (SPA) for residential accommodation
signed with a developer, a purchaser is guaranteed the right to receive vacant
possession of a completed building within the period stipulated in the agreement.
Upholding purchaser protection
There is a recent case regarding purchaser protection (the primary objective
of the Housing Development Act 1966) which merits close study by everybody
involved in the local housing industry.
Slimmer is fitter
Thank goodness the problem regarding delay in the issuance of Certificates
of Fitness for Occupation (CF) for built properties is nearing an end.
A shocking decision
The finding of the High Court to curtail the power of the Housing Tribunal
was upsetting ... but not unforeseeable Depending upon who you are, the recent
decision by the Kuala Lumpur High Court to disallow the Tribunal for Home-buyer
claims from hearing disputes between two developers and their buyers arising
from Sale and Purchase Agreements signed before Dec 1 2002 must have either
shocked you ... or allowed you to heave a sigh of relief.
The year after
One year is too soon for the ideal state of affairs contemplated by the amendments
to the housing laws to be achieved How time flies.
of unchecked urban growth
Unlike enthusiastic lawyers, urban planners would probably have little time
or patience for the intricacies of jurisprudence.
Walls that exclude
THERE is a growing number of Klang Valley residents who are moving out of
their homes in the "open" and settling into gated communities with their twin
attributes of privacy and security.
Tenants from hell
If you have been blessed with extra cash (or have access to an easy-term financing
scheme) and property investment is your cup of tea, you’ve probably amassed
a portfolio of properties which you’re renting out - residential, commercial,
and may be industrial as well.
Solving the low-cost housing
Units may be priced too high while buyers still face the threat of abandoned
Identifying the black sheep
Assurance needed that developers with bad track records do not repeat their
boost for build-then-sell
WHAT are the chances of the build-then-sell (BTS) method becoming law in the
better land administration
My congratulations to the senior management and staff of the Land and Cooperative
Development Ministry (its former name, for as long as I can remember) for
having a new minister and a new name, the Ministry of Natural Resources and
Clear path for the Housing
It was good news indeed for house buyers when the nation's highest judicial
body, the Federal Court, declared that the newly established Tribunal for
Homebuyer Claims is empowered to hear all disputes related to the Sale and
Purchase Agreements (SPAs) between house buyers and developers that are brought
Duties of a housing developer
The duties of a housing developer can be put into two broad categories.
THERE is an old common law doctrine called "the freedom of contract" which,
simply put, means that people are free to make their own contracts.
Know what you're signing
A quick tour through the laws governing the sale and purchase of a house
The law regulating landlords and tenants in Peninsular Malaysia is not too
difficult to learn, or too complicated to comprehend.
Questions over Malay reserve land
Earlier this month, I spent a couple of days in the midst of more than 250
senior officers from Land Offices around the country, at a seminar on land
administration in a five-star hotel in Kuala Lumpur.
The abuse of knowledge
It is indeed a pity that the people behind the fraudulent land transfers recently
discovered in Selangor had no qualms about abusing the knowledge they have
on the computerised land registration system for their own benefit
A joint venture in any undertaking - whether in trading, manufacturing, construction
or land development - is like a marriage. While some joint ventures can be
said to be “made in heaven”, there are others that can only be described as
“consummated in hell”.
An environmental tragedy: But who weeps?
By now, many of us would probably have forgotten what our fourth Prime Minister,
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, told the Dewan Rakyat on Oct 30, 2003 when presenting
the Mid-Term Review of the Eighth Malaysia Plan.
land alienation in the Klang Valley
Thanks to the power of the Press, investigative journalism and increasing
awareness of the laws of the nation among people, public horror has rightly
been expressed over the ecological destruction - carried out in the name of
development - that Shah Alam has suffered.
When heads would have rolled...
I HAVE been flooded with e-mail and SMSes for the past week from friends and
readers around the country who are keeping a close watch on the environmental
tragedy that has unfolded in Shah Alam, Selangor.
Ever since my good friend and editor, Andrew Wong, invited me to “join him”
(and leave behind us another daily) to become a regular contributor for PropertyTimes,
I have always enjoyed the prospect of opening my e-mail Inbox every morning
and perusing the messages that readers of my column send me.
According to a recent news report, the Federal Government is setting up a
special task force to detect and combat environmental crimes. Admittedly,
a salutary move that deserves public support.
Compulsory land acquisition
The Federal Constitution guarantees citizens right to ownership of property.
Challenging land acquisition
A little over three years ago - on April 12, 2002 to be exact - the High Court
sitting in Shah Alam, Selangor, delivered its verdict in the landmark land
acquisition dispute between Sagong Tasi & 6 Ors vs Kerajaan Negeri Selangor
& 3 Ors (2002, 2 AMR 2028).
Malaysia as a second home
The Malaysia: My Second Home (MMSH) campaign is rooted in policy.
Long shadow of Boonsom Boonyanit
Ask a lawyer who claims to know the National Land Code like the back of his
hands which provision he would regard as the single-most important statute,
and my guess is that he would say, “Section 340”.
Singing the same old song
I was in Johor last week when the State’s Legislative Assembly was also sitting.
Spare the beaches, save the shorelines
Monday July 25 turned out to be an important date for the planning profession
in this country.
The lure of
There is a growing body of literature on gated communities, not only abroad
but also locally.
How safe is
A woman in Penang lost her land, a very valuable piece of property in Tanjung
Bungah, when a con-artist, also a woman, impersonating her transferred the
land to a purchaser, a Malaysian-registered company.
In May 2004, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was quoted by
the local media as saying, "I think it is not right to pay money first, before
you get your house if they (developers) don't get to sell all their houses,
the money won't be enough for them to build. What will happen to those who
have paid up?
Reflections and recriminations
It has become customary that at the end of each year, we take stock of what
we have done over the past 12 months to see where we have gone, what we have
done, the mistakes we committed, what services we rendered, and so on.
A season of hope ...
High on my wish list for 2006 is an end to the perennial problem of abandoned
In an earlier column titled “How safe are your titles?” (PropertyTimes Nov
26, 2005) I noted that according to the United Nations Guidelines on Land
Administration, a good system should, among other things, provide State guarantee
of land ownership and security of tenure.
In urgent need of reform
It is only lately that residents of Peninsular Malaysia have been compelled
to grapple with the problem of a registered proprietor’s indefeasibility of
title, for there had been no urgent need to address the issue before the Boonsom
Boonyanit case (PropertyTimes, Jan 14, 2006).
Handling rogue developers
EARLIER on in this column, I said that high on my wish list for 2006 is an
end to abandoned housing. But going by news reports, not just in the dailies
but also over prime time TV news since January this year, stories of such
banes still continue to haunt us.
All’s not well on the sea front
A couple of weeks ago, while attending a conference in Port Dickson, Negeri
Sembilan, my good friend Chang Kim Loong of the National House Buyers Association
handed me a brochure of a beachfront project in the area.
Let’s say several years ago you purchased, after a cursory visual inspection,
a four-acre plot of land some 20km away from your city centre residence.
Throw environmental offenders in jail
I have on several occasions in the past expressed in this column my feelings
of regret and dismay at what seems to be an inexplicable reluctance of part
of the judiciary to punish environmental offenders with custodial sentences,
even when the facts of a particular case warrant it.
Hardware and heart-ware
needed in Land Offices
There has been much “official good news” publicised about the computerisation
of the Land Offices throughout the country. However, on the quiet, friends
in-the-know tell me that the situation is not really as bright as it ought
THE commentary I made early this month on the Government's decision to introduce
the 10:90 variant of the Build-Then-Sell (BTS) mode of housing delivery (NST-Property
July 1, 2006) has received quite a bit of feedback.
The pros and cons of gated living
Why do people really go for such a scheme, and what can be regarded the "best
The sad tale of Abu Seman
High time a lop-sided law that continues to protect rogue developers is rectified
Twenty years ago, Abu Seman Saad embarked on a journey to realise a dream.
It may not seem like a very big dream to some, but for the KTM Bhd worker,
owning a single-storey home in Taman Kotawira in Taiping, Perak, was nirvana.
Righting a wrong
Once again, that awful Federal Court decision of 2001, in the Boonsom Boonyanit
vs Adorna Properties case, has cast its dark shadow on the legal
landscape. The New Straits Times front-paged it last Saturday under the
headline, "Land Deal: Court of Appeal declares Federal Court Ruling
Moving at snail’s pace
We are now 50 years as a free and independent nation. A joyous occasion indeed
for all Malaysians, as we pat ourselves on the back for the splendid progress
we have made over the last five decades. Did I say "progress"? Perhaps you
may want to revise your opinion after you read two stories I recently picked
up from our local media.
Avoiding a mortgage meltdown
A number of our real estate players may have learnt a valuable lesson following
the recent mortgage meltdown in the United States. Besides property, other
sectors of the national economy were also affected. And, as everyone predicted,
the problems spread around the globe, albeit in different degrees.
Please, protect landowners too
In about a month's time, it will be exactly seven years since the Federal
Court made that "historic" – or "disturbing"– decision as many have described
it – in the Boonsom Boonyanit land transaction dispute.
Strange happenings in Sungai
07/01/08 Property New Straits Times Salleh Buang
The procedure for applying for state land in this country is laid down clearly
in the law – the National Land Code 1965. However, should you wish to learn
more, detailed information is available in cyberspace, for example, in the
Johor state government website.
Wherefore art thou, OSC?
14/01/08 Property New Straits Times By Salleh Buang
When Prime Mininster Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi launched the One-Stop
Centre (OSC) initiative in April last year, he emphasised that it was part
of "several moves by the government to boost the property sector in the country".
Blacklisting rogue developers
FROM the email I receive every month, one sent by Dick (not his real name)
just as we turned the corner into 2008, grabbed my attention. He asked: Has
the Housing and Local Government Ministry's blacklisting of rogue developers
had any lasting, beneficial impact?
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.
A bold leap by Perak
20/05/08 NST Salleh Buang
Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Nizar Jamaluddin’s pledge to issue
permanent land titles to some 10,000 TOL (Temporary Occupation License)
holders in 134 new villages has not gone down well with his political
Conversion doesn’t pay
26/05/08 NST Salleh Buang
Under the National Land Code 1965 which applies to Peninsular Malaysia,
there are only three categories of land use: Agriculture, building and
industry. There is no fourth category called “padi land”.
Between hype and hope
17/06/08 NST Salleh Buang
When a colleague told me recently that changes to the National Housing
Policy will soon see the light of day, purportedly to "protect buyer’s
rights", I must say that my initial response was to ask, "What policy? I
don’t know that we ever had one!"
Wanted: An effective land information
12/08/08 NST Salleh Buang
Any man-made system is measured and valued by its enduring benefits to society,
and the same should be said of a national land information system (LIS). According
to the International Federation of Surveyors (FIG), LIS is a tool for legal,
administrative and economic decision making.
Land fraud victims needn’t
15/10/08 NST Salleh Buang
The Federal Court gave Malaysians an awful lesson in the Boonsom Boonyanit
case seven years ago – that under the local version of the Torrens system,
innocent landowners who are victims of fraudsters and scam artists cannot
expect to find justice in the law.
Of Queensbay and foreshore
21/10/08 NST Salleh Buang
A news item regarding the National Land Code (NLC), specifically section 76,
recently caught my attention. Under the law, a State Authority is the absolute
owner of all "state land" within the territory of the state. In section 5
of the NLC "state land" is defined as "all land in the State" other than alienated
land, reserved land, mining land and reserved forests.
Still many unanswered questions
09/12/08 NST By Salleh Buang
Going by recent media reports, it would appear that the orang asli community
can expect good times beginning next year. According to Rural and Regional
Development Minister Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib, each orang asli household
will be given agricultural plots of between two and six acres and another
553,820sq ft of land to build their own permanent dream home.
Nobody listens to the Voice
15/12/08 NST By Salleh Buang
"Leave the hills alone", warned the Voice. "What? Can't hear you," came the
instant reply. Just eight words, but they succinctly sum up what has been
happening to our hillslopes and highlands all these years.
Time to scrap immunity of authorities
30/12/08 NST By Salleh Buang
Section 95(2) of the Street, Drainage and Building Act 1974 (Act 133) may
be difficult for lay persons to comprehend fully and I, therefore,
reproduce a portion of what's relevant here.
Dark side of the Torrens system
12/01/09 NST By Salleh Buang
One important fact about our land administration system which many people
forget or overlook is that our local Torrens system is not a close-door or
an exclusive system.