On 2nd March 2017, the High Court at Kota Kinabalu has allowed 30 homebuyers' application for judicial review against the Local Government and Housing Minister and quashed the decision of the Minister in approving an appeal for an extension of time of 180 days to a developer to complete their development.
The High Court held that the act of the Minister in granting the extension of time without there being a decision by the Housing Controller in the first place is a clear breach of the written law i.e. Section 12 and 14 of the Sabah Housing Development (Control and Licensing) Rules 2008. The High Court also awarded the cost of RM10,000,00 and RM5,000.00 to be paid by the Minister and the developer respectively.
The 30 homebuyers purchased their respective apartment units of the development project between December 2012 and February 2013.
Under the Sale and Purchase Agreement, the developer was obliged to deliver vacant possession within 36 months from the date of signing the Sale and Purchase Agreement.
However, the developer only obtained the Occupation Certificate on 1st June 2016 and delivered vacant possession to the 30 homebuyers on 22nd June 2016.
By then, the agreed 36 months completion date has passed and that the developer was liable to pay liquidated ascertained damages (LAD) amounting to RM356,365.78 in respect of the 20 apartment units.
However, the 30 homebuyers' potential claim for the LAD was frustrated after they were informed by the developer that the Minister had approved the developer's appeal for an extension of time of 6 months to complete the development.
It is on this premise that the 30 homebuyers filed an application for judicial review against the decision of the Minister in allowing the said extension of time.