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Anything outside contract is wrong
Published on: Sunday, March 19, 2017

By Brig-Gen (R) Datuk Goh Seng Toh
WE refer to Rehda Malaysia treasurer Datuk Muztaza Mohamad’s stand that, “Any delay is not the fault of the buyers.

It’s our own fault or that of other people.”

He was commenting on a landmark High Court decision to set aside the order by the minister of urban wellbeing, housing and local government to give a 12-month extension to a developer to complete his project whereby denying the affected buyers their rightful compensation from the developer for delay in handing over of their purchased houses.

Muztafa said the law is a law and that developers should plan ahead to ensure homes are delivered on time.

We would state further that a contract agreement is a contract agreement (in this case the statutory sales and purchase agreement) and should be binding on both parties.

The only deviation/alteration that may be allowed is when both parties covenant to alter it, if they are allowed to do so legally.

It follows that for the minister who is an unrelated third party to unilaterally and high-handedly alter the date of completion and hand over of the said houses is not correct.

Thus, we feel that it augurs well for the industry when Rehda comes out to voice support for the court’s finding.

This should translate into Rehda discouraging its member developers from seeking EOT save and except with serious and genuine situations that are totally beyond the developer’s control, such as natural catastrophe like massive landslides, earthquakes serious floods or other natural disasters.

Certainly as in this case, being given stop work orders by local authorities and neighbourhood complaints of disturbance clearly cannot be classified as beyond the developer’s control. On the contrary they are totally self inflicted.

The fact that the appeal for “extension of time” (EOT) was even granted in the first place raises a lot of questions that beg to be answered.

Why were the affected house buyers made to go through the mental anguish and financial expenditures to pursue their rights. What further compensation should they be given so that justice prevails.

They suffered because of a faulty decision.

Should the affected buyers now take up another suit to pursue compensation for mental anguish/suffering, inconveniences and other incidentals?

What they achieved this round is only to get back what is rightfully theirs. Who should they now pursue to get back the other compensation. What clout has Rehda to discipline its member developers from seeking EOT when they are not able to complete their projects?

Will the minister ensure that EOT is not high-handedly dished out whereby affected buyers are forced to resort to court action with its attending setbacks?

Brig-Gen (R) Datuk Goh Seng Toh Vice-President National House Buyers Association

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