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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Dream homes remain a dream

Stalled: In the past years, these only visible sign of development were the concrete beams for Casa Gemilang in Sg Pusu, Gombak.

For the property buyers of Alam Perdana Court in Ijok and Casa Gemilang in Gombak, their dream home is still far from reality.

They have laboured through many years to resolve the issues surrounding the projects.

The buyers were caught by surprise that the land in both development was marked for agricultural purpose instead of residential, and this status has left them in limbo until today.

The Casa Gemilang project consists of Desa Gemilang double-storey terrace houses and Casa Gemilang service apartments and townhouses launched in 2003.

Phase 1 of Desa Gemilang ran into trouble over the environmental impact as it was sited next to a slope and encroaching into a forest reserve.

A stop-work order was issued by Selayang Municipal Council in 2006.

Casa Gemilang buyers committee chairman Jaafar Ismail said the developer faced many issues, hence the project dragged on for many years as the company failed to comply with safety standards.

“Unfortunately, according to the Housing Development Act 1966, townhouse comes under commercial development, therefore it does not fall under the purview of the Housing and Local Government Ministry (KPKT) before 2007.

“However, our main question is how did the developer manage to develop a project on agricultural land,” he asked.

Jaafar said 40% of disbursement had been paid out by the bank, which came up to about RM6mil, but there is no construction at the site for Casa Gemilang.

“The project was marked as abandoned by KPKT on Jan 9, 2009 and the ministry had been unable to help us.

“ We want to know what happened to our money totalling RM6mil paid via disbursement, because the project does not seem like it will ever take off based on what we have seen so far,” he said.

“We staged a protest in front of the developer’s office on Jan 18, 2011 as patience was running thin.

“At the time, the developer agreed to return the deposit and payments made for those whose sale and purchase agreement was still valid.

“But the developer tried to get buyers to sign the Deed of Rescission and Revocation that was never referred to the bank and was biased so we advised the buyers not to sign anything,” he added.

For Dr Roslina Ab Wahid, chairman of the Alam Perdana Court bungalow lot purchasers group, her woes began in 2002 when she purchased a lot and the developer failed to pay the premium to develop the land.

The project consisted of bungalows, single-storey and double-storey houses spread over 400ha of land, affecting some 400 buyers. Although part of the development had been completed, the project was abandoned.

“I had purchased a bungalow package worth almost RM100,000 only to find out that it does not belong to me.

“The land was confiscated by the state government in November last year. Now the state government is trying to revive the project and make it livable as it is full of defects.

“The state government said the houses will be delivered in March while the plight of the lot purchasers woudl be looked into after the infrastructure on site is fixed,” said Roslina.

At a recent meeting with the buyers, Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim said the state had paid RM147mil to acquire the land for the stalled Taman Alam Perdana development from developer Ladang Bukit Cherakah Nominees Sdn Bhd (LCBN), so that construction of the houses could resume.

An additional RM40mil was allocated to complete the infrastructure for the project last year.

The Association for Abandoned Building Owners Malaysia (Victims) chairman Dr Mohamed Rafick Khan Abdul Rahman said the root of this problem was the weakness of the Housing Development Act as well as the lack of regulation and enforcement by the authorities.

He said it was a common practice by developers back then to develop land without conversion, leaving that process till later when construction work was ongoing.

“Since land is a state matter, the state government can impose a deposit payment on developers as a condition if they want to develop any land. The state can determine the value of the land before development commences; should the developer fail, the money can be used for the project.

“In the case of Alam Perdana Court, the state government could have taken legal steps jointly with the buyers or resolved the issue of the bungalow lots immediately by getting the buyers to pay the premium and issue the title,” he said.

By The Star

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