‘Min­is­ter can ex­tend hous­ing project dead­line’

New Straits Times - - News -

GE­ORGE TOWN: The ur­ban well­be­ing, hous­ing and lo­cal gov­ern­ment min­is­ter has the power to grant an ex­ten­sion of time (EOT) to devel­op­ers.

Min­is­ter in the Prime Min­is­ter’s Depart­ment Datuk Seri Ab­dul Rahman Dahlan said the power was en­shrined in Act 118 of the Hous­ing De­vel­op­ment Act.

He de­nied abus­ing his power when he was in the min­istry by grant­ing the EOT to a condo devel­oper in Jalan Kuchai Lama here.

DAP ad­viser Lim Kit Siang on Tues­day claimed that the at­tor­ney-gen­eral’s wife, Puan Sri Fari­dah Begum KA Ab­dul Kader, had writ­ten a let­ter to Rahman re­quest­ing for EOT for two projects un­der the BHL Group of Com­pa­nies.

This came af­ter a High Court rul­ing which al­lowed a ju­di­cial re­view from 104 house buy­ers to set aside Rahman’s ex­ten­sion or­der as it was against the Hous­ing De­vel­op­ment (Con­trol and Li­cens­ing) Act.

“I be­lieve the DAP lead­ers used the High Court de­ci­sion as the ba­sis for their highly defam­a­tory con­clu­sion.

“This will be chal­lenged as the Min­istry of Ur­ban Well­be­ing, Hous­ing and Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment will be ap­peal­ing the ver­dict,” he said.

He as­sured the pub­lic that all EOT ap­pli­ca­tions were ap­proved based solely on merit and that no sup­port let­ters could su­percede the strin­gent pro­ce­dures in ap­prov­ing the EOT ap­pli­ca­tions.

“In fact, sup­port let­ters have no value in de­ter­min­ing the ap­proval. Those let­ters, at best, are just for­mal­i­ties and pleas­antries,” he said.

Rahman ex­plained that in 1989, Par­lia­ment amended the Hous­ing Devel­oper Act (Act 118) to ad­dress many is­sues plagu­ing the hous­ing in­dus­try, in­clud­ing paving the way for the pro­vi­sion of EOT reg­u­la­tion to put a lid on ram­pant aban­doned projects.

Since then, he said, the coun­try has seen a sig­nif­i­cant de­crease in the num­ber of aban­doned hous­ing projects.

He chal­lenged the Pe­nang gov­ern­ment to deny they had is­sued EOT to any con­trac­tor since 2008, in re­sponse to Pe­nang Deputy Chief Min­is­ter II Dr P. Ra­masamy’s press con­fer­ence four days ago, say­ing such ap­pli­ca­tion was not unique to the Fed­eral gov­ern­ment.

Datuk Ab­dul Rahman Dahlan

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