Take responsibility on abandoned housing project

Date:

KUCHING: Sarawak Democratic Action Party (DAP) chairman Chong Chieng Jen has called on the Sarawak government to ramp up the pressure on Sentoria Borneo Land Sdn Bhd to give the rights to develop Borneo Samariang Garden Phase 5 to the government and its nominated developer to complete the project.

He pointed out that during his visit to the construction sites recently, there were no workers around and all of the houses seem to be on a standstill.

“This case has been brought to the attention of the Ministry of Public Health, Housing and Local Government and our premier but it seems like no one in the government is taking the responsibility,” he told the reporters during a press conference held at DAP Headquarters here yesterday.

He opened up that he has written a letter to Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg about the predicament that the house purchasers of the Phase 5 are facing and urged the state government to take action as soon as possible.

“There are 154 houses with the price between RM200,000 to RM350,000 and the sales and purchase agreements signed between 2017 and 2018, with the final one being in April 2018.

“As it is provided in the agreement that the developer shall complete the houses within 24 months from the dates of the agreements, the houses bought by the purchasers from 2017 should have had their houses completed way before COVID-19 pandemic so it should not be used as an excuse,” he added.

He said that the developer claimed most of the houses are up to 95 per cent completion when in actuality only less than 20 houses are only 80 per cent completed and there was no progress since the fourth quarter of 2019 until now.

“The purchasers continue to pay instalments and interests charged on the housing loans on the houses purchased and it has tremendously added onto their costs of living as they are paying the housing loans on the one hand, and on another they have to pay rental for their current accommodation.

“Theft happened in the area ever since the developers abandoned the area which in this case has caused the state of the houses to deteriorate,” he added.

He revealed that most of the house purchasers are civil servants and instead of receiving assistance when they are in need of help, they have been given more problems to deal with.

“Lembaga Pembiayaan Perumahan Sektor Awam (LPPSA) and the Borneo Mortgage Finance Berhad (Borneo Housing), these two government agencies have continued to charge interest on the house purchasers.

“We are calling on the Sarawak government to step in and negotiate with these two agencies and also private financial institutions to offer a moratorium on the interest charges and loan repayment.

“I have personally interfered and managed to help some of the house purchasers who took loans from private banks to negotiate with the banks to either stop charging interest or substantially cut down the interest charges on the house purchasers,” he added.

Additionally, he mentioned Borneo Housing only proposed a moratorium for those purchasers who have paid up to 80 per cent of the purchase price.

As for those who have paid up to 95 per cent of the purchase price, no moratorium was offered.

“Such differential treatment makes no sense at all and it provides no assistance to those non-Borneo Housing borrowers,” he added.

He pointed out that it would not need very much injection of fund for the government and its appointed developer to complete the project.

“The balance of the purchase price to be paid upon completion would amount to more than RM2 million which can be recovered once the project is completed,” he explained.

He added that even though the developer has indicated its wishes to complete the said project, given that the developer is hugely in debt and is currently under Corporate Debt Restructuring Scheme, it is mostly unlikely that the developer can fork out the fund needed to complete the project.

Moreover, he pointed out that previously during the late Pehin Sri Tan Sri Adenan Satem’s tenure as the chief minister, the Sarawak government was able to negotiate for the concession holder of the Tun Salahuddin Bridge to give up its toll-collection rights.

“As compared to the giving up of the toll collection rights, I believe this case is just easy as peanuts to get the developer to assign its rights to the government to complete the project.

“If the government is not doing anything and, in that case, they are basically taking away the problems from the developer instead of helping the people, which is completely different from what late Tok Nan has done in the toll-collection case whereby the people who are the ones benefit from it,” he concluded.

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