Court rules minister’s order for extension of time invalid


KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court today set aside the order by the urban wellbeing, housing and local government minister to give a 12-month extension to a developer to complete his project.

Justice Hanipah Farikullah, who allowed the judicial review application by 104 house buyers, said the minister’s decision to rely on a regulation to allow the extension was against the Housing Development (Control & Licensing) Act.

“The application by the house buyers to quash the minister’s order is hereby allowed,” she said.

BHL Construction Sdn Bhd was involved in the construction of a condominium in Jalan Kuchai Lama here where 104 plaintiffs had entered into a sale and purchase agreement with them.

One of the conditions of the agreement required that the developer hand over vacant possession within 36 months or be liable to pay a penalty for late delivery to the buyers.

The developer failed to complete and hand over the units to the 104 purchasers and wrote to the Controller of Housing under the ministry for an extension of time. The appeal was rejected.

The developer then appealed to the minister who, on Nov 17, 2015, allowed an extension of 12 months.

That decision would have allowed the developer to hand over vacant possession to the buyers from 36 months to 48 months.

Aggrieved, the purchasers sought legal remedy in the courts last year.

National House Buyers Association secretary-general Chang Kim Loong, who welcomed the decision, said the rights and entitlement to compensation could not be taken away by the Controller of Housing or the minister with a stroke of a pen.

“Parties are bound by the terms of the contract and any modification or variation of the agreement will require the consent of purchasers,” he told FMT.

Chang said allowing extension of time to defaulting developers made a mockery of and defeated the intent and object of housing laws, which was to protect house buyers.

Lawyers Andy Wong Kok Leong, Viola De Cruz, Koh Kean Kang and Andrew Chan appeared for the house buyers while Senior Federal Counsel Rosli Ahmad appeared for the minister.

Counsel R Rajes and Nicolas Chang held a watching brief for the Bar Council.