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Housing Ministry: Not true we only ‘compound’ errant developers
01/03/08 Property New Straits Times

The Housing and Local Government Ministry has denied allegations it only requires developers that break laws to pay monetary fines.

The types of action by the ministry’s Monitoring and Enforcement Division, it said, are based on the nature of the offences committed.

Until Dec 31 last year, it said 672 housing developers have been convicted and prosecuted for various offences under the Housing Development (Control and Licensing) Act. Another four have been convicted and 19 prosecuted by the court for non-compliance of awards issued by the Tribunal for Homebuyer Claims.

“The list of developers prosecuted has been posted on the ministry’s website … the actions resorted to (are) based on offences committed, taking into consideration the significance of expeditious administration of justice.”

In recent weeks, NSTProperty columnist Salleh Buang and the National House Buyers Association (HBA) took the ministry to task for going “easy” on rogue developers, as they are able to get off with mere fines.

If the ministry was really committed to ensuring “healthy growth” of the housing sector, Salleh asked, how could it justify its reluctance in prosecuting rogue developers, even as the affected house buyers are crying out for justice?

The HBA has often expressed its concern over the lack of firm enforcement, arguing that “any law is only as effective as its degree of enforcement”.

The ministry, however, said the actions it has taken include blacklisting rogue developers and their boards of directors.

Companies and directors blacklisted will not be granted new licences or approvals for renewal of permit of sale, it explained, adding that this would prevent them from embarking on new projects and collecting monies from homebuyers through sales.

The ministry said the process of prosecuting directors takes a longer time because it has to prove that the relevant officers of the company were, at the time the offence was commissioned, in positions of authority in the company.

Compounding developers, it said, is appropriate in cases where the laws governing advertisement and permit of sale for houses, as found in the Housing Development (Control and Licensing) Regulations 1989, have been contravened.

Once a developer is compounded, it will automatically be blacklisted, “without having to go through the process of litigation which may take months or even years”.


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