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Call for an agency to revive projects

09/05/2009 The Star Story and photo by GEETHA KRISHNAN

THE Selangor government has called for the formation of a special purpose vehicle at the federal level to tackle the issue of abandoned and delayed housing projects.

State housing, building management and squatters committee chairman Iskandar Abdul Samad said as the task of reviving the abandoned projects was massive a special purpose agency was necessary.

Almost complete: Another Talam project nearing completion in Saujana Puchong.

“It would take RM3bil to RM5bil to revive the 147 abandoned projects in Selangor alone, involving 45,449 units.

“The state only has an allocation of RM5bil for development,” he said.

Iskandar was speaking during a site visit to projects under Talam Corporation Bhd in Puchong.

“In the case of errant developers, the state only has power over the land. The Housing and Local Government Ministry can revoke a developer’s licence and hand over the project to another developer but we don’t see much of this happening,” he said.

Iskandar cited three cases in Kuala Selangor and Rawang where the land was confiscated by the state because the developers had failed to pay taxes and did not apply to convert the land status from agriculture to housing.

“In the case of banks, there are elements of criminial breach of trust. Sometimes, work on the site is only 50% to 60% complete but the bank releases 80% of the loan sum to developers,” he said.

Iskandar said for more stringent handling of the issue, there was a need for feasibility studies on financial standing and project viability before the developers were given approval to proceed with their projects.

On the Talam projects, Iskandar said it was his third visit to the Puchong area to gauge the progress of projects in Saujana Puchong and Lestari Puchong.

“A number of the projects has been delayed between two and three years. Talam has given the assurance that these projects will be completed by June next year,” he said.

“Talam has been urged to expedite the abandoned low-cost projects in Saujana Puchong Phase 7 with 228 units and the Lestari Puchong Phase 6E with 360,” Iskandar said.

“The projects involve the poor and, due to the delay, they are either squatting or forking out more money to rent elsewhere,” he said.

Talam senior vice-president Tan Bak Hai, meanwhile, said the company would be completing 13 projects involving 6, 000 units next year.


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