A ‘project’ as big as KL city in Sabah but with no approval

Chew-Sang-HaiKOTA KINABALU: Sabahans have been warned to be wary of bogus or unapproved property development projects in the state, some of which are being heavily promoted online.

Certain companies are said to be promoting not only residential but also commercial properties, purportedly spanning thousands of acres.

But checks have revealed that the local authorities have not received any application from them to build such properties at these spots.

Sabah Housing and Real Estate Developers (Shareda) president Chew Sang Hai told FMT the association stumbled on one such advertisement on Facebook for a huge property development that was supposed to come up near the naval base in Sepanggar, 20km from the state capital.

“We checked with City Hall and found there’d been no submission to the local authority for a project this size in the area.

“The ad, in Chinese, claims the development is taking place over 2,000 acres of land.”

Chew said some of these companies are believed to be even carrying out their promotions overseas.

“So we’d like to advise property buyers and investors to be wary of such so-called property developers. They should take precautions.

“The best thing to do before buying any property is to get a lawyer or accountant to verify the project being promoted.

“We are concerned about the public falling victim to conmen and Ponzi schemes.”

A source well-placed in a related industry supplied FMT with a photo of the “Sepanggar project” model in the “developer’s” office, said to be located off Jalan Tuaran here.

The development model shows mock-up buildings that look like the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Burj Al Khalifa in Dubai, Taipei 101, Eiffel Tower in Paris and Tokyo Tower.

Strangely, according to their master plan, the iconic lookalikes the developer plans to build are residential units instead of office towers, said the source.

“The area they say they want to develop is bigger than Kuala Lumpur city,” said the source, adding the developer was looking for investors to fund the holiday concept of living.

Chew said there are stringent regulations developers need to abide by before they can start construction work.

“Developers must be the registered landowners or should have entered into joint ventures with the landowners.

“They must have written approval from the city mayor or relevant local authorities, ” he said.

“Only after getting the approvals can the developers start selling the properties to potential buyers or investors through the sell-and-build mechanism. They are subject to many conditions.

“If the developers are selling residential units, then they must have a developer’s licence and sales permit from the housing controller of the housing and local government ministry.

“If the developers are selling shares in their public company, they must have a prospectus approved by the Securities Commission.

“There are a lot of things potential buyers and investors need to know about the developers before they commit their money.”