Johor developer loses appeal against house buyer

PUTRAJAYA: The Court of Appeal today dismissed the appeal by the developer of a mega project in Johor over a judicial review filed against a Singaporean house buyer.

A three-member bench chaired by Kamardin Hashim said there was no merit in the appeal by Country Garden Danga Bay Sdn Bhd (CGDB), the developer of the Danga Bay project.

However, no grounds were provided by the panel which also included judges Harminder Singh Dhaliwal and Hanipa Farikullah.

The purchaser, Ho Chee Kian, who was represented by Viola Lettice De Cruz, Vinobha Anthony Doss and Chuah Yi Xie, was awarded RM15,000 in costs.

The housing tribunal in Johor Bahru awarded Ho compensation of RM50,000 last year based on his claim that 25 out of 26 pages of the sale and purchase agreement which he signed on Aug 23, 2013 were later changed by CGDB without his knowledge.

Ho also alleged that he was given a stamped copy of the document which contained significant differences from the original.

As a result, he said, he was handed the keys for a RM1.6 million condominium unit in November 2017 which was not the one he had agreed to buy.

On June 24 last year, 45 owners of units by CGDB filed police reports accusing the developer of altering their sale and purchase agreements.

CGDB applied for judicial review, naming Ho and the tribunal as respondents. However, its application was dismissed.

On Dec 27 last year, High Court judge Mohd Ivan Hussien said there should have been no amendments once the plans were approved and sales begun as there were no clauses allowing for changes.

Ho, in a statement said the developer should deliver what was promised, and not short-change the buyers.

“The authorities should send a deterrent message to the market not to tamper with the sale and purchase contents,” he said.

CGDB can take its case to the Federal Court but must first obtain leave for its appeal to be heard.