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Tribunal's role is to protect housebuyers, court told

 06/08/2003 NST

KUALA LUMPUR, Tues. - A lawyer from the National House-buyers' Association told the High Court today that he was disappointed with an application for judicial review brought by a developer against the Tribunal for Homebuyer Claims and 50 housebuyers. T. Vicknaraj said the legislation under which the tribunal was set up was to protect house-buying public from recalcitrant developers.

In its application, Puncakdana Sdn Bhd is seeking an order to quash the awards given by the tribunal to six of the 50 housebuyers who lodged complaints of late delivery of their houses and failure to complete the common facilities.

Puncakdana wants a declaration that the awards were invalid, ultra vires, void and of no effect.

It is seeking a declaration that the tribunal had no jurisdiction to hear and determine the claims by the 50 housebuyers.

It is also seeking an Order of Prohibition preventing the tribunal from proceeding with hearing and determining the claims lodged by the remaining 44 housebuyers, costs and other relief deemed fit by the court.

(Yesterday, Puncakdana's counsel N.V. Sree Harry told the court the tribunal did not have the power to hear the claims on purported breach by his client alleged to have taken place prior to Dec 1 last year when the tribunal was set up.)

Vickneraj, who introduced himself as amicus curae (friend of the court), said the tribunal was meant to be fair to housebuyers and developers.

"To interpret the legislation otherwise as sought in this application for judicial review against the tribunal would defeat the intention of Parliament in setting it up," he said.

"The intention of Parliament was to protect the housebuyers from the rich and powerful developers."

Senior Federal Counsel Umi Kalthum Abdul Majid, for the tribunal, said the Housing Development Act, was a piece of social legislation to provide a measure of protection to homebuyers who were economically in a weaker position.

Hearing before the judge Datuk Md Raus Sharif continues.


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