Bill to penalise errant builders tabled

A Bill to make it a criminal offence for developers who fail to complete their projects has been tabled in Parliament for first reading.

Under Clause 9 of the Housing Development (Control and Licensing) (Amendment) Bill, errant housing developers can be fined up to RM500,000, jailed up to three years or both.

The Bill was introduced by Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Chor Chee Heung here yesterday.

Among others, it is a crime if a developer “abandons or causes to be abandoned a housing development”.

They are deemed to have abandoned projects if they refuse to carry out, delay, suspend or cease work continuously for six months or beyond a period stipulated under the Sales and Purchase Agreement.

The Bill also introduces harsher penalties against errant developers such as increasing the fines from RM20,000 to RM50,000.

They will be entitled to terminate the Sales and Purchase Agreement if the housing project is abandoned, and the developer is required to refund any money paid within 30 days.

Developers who fail to comply with this will face a fine of up to RM250,000 and a penalty of RM5,000 for every day during which the offence continues.

The Bill will also insert Clause 3 into the Act the deposit to obtain a housing development licence will be increased from RM200,000 to 3% of the project's estimated cost.

This is to ensure that only developers who have sufficient financial ability will be allowed to begin building houses. - By Martin Carvalho (The Star)

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