Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Developer has to compensate buyers for delays of projects, Court says


 
Take them to task: According to the liquidated damages clause, condo buyers can claim 10 per annum of the purchase price for the delay

KUALA LUMPUR: The Housing Controller has no power to grant an extension of time to developers who delay the completion of housing projects, the High Court has ruled in a landmark judgment.

This means a housing developer has to pay compensation to the affected buyers for delays in the delivery of vacant possession.

High Court (Appellate and Special Powers) judge Justice Hanipah Farikullah also held that the regulation which empowers the Controller to modify terms of the contract of sale was ultra vires the Housing Development, Control and Licensing Act.

The judge said this in allowing an application for judicial review by 71 buyers of the Sri Istana condominiums in Old Klang Road against the Housing Controller and Urban Well-being, Housing and Local Government Minister.

Their lead counsel Datuk Wong Kok Leong told The Star the judge held that the minister’s decision to grant the developer an extension of time to complete the project via a letter dated Nov 17, 2015 was invalid.

In the letter, the minister had granted the developer a 12-month extension to complete the project.

“This means that the Housing Controller has no power to grant an extension of time to housing developers for any delay in completing their projects,” Wong said.

“Now, the developer has to pay the liquidated damages (a pre-determined sum) for late delivery of vacant possession of those condominium units.”

Wong called the decision a landmark judgment as many project developers seek extensions to complete their projects in Malaysia.

“This is a victory for all house buyers. With this ruling, the housing developer can’t just go to the Housing Controller for an extension of time to complete the project in order to avoid paying the liquidated damages to house buyers.

“This is because if an extension of time is allowed, house buyers lose their rights to claim damages for late delivery of vacant possession,” he added.

Wong explained that according to the liquidated damages clause, the condo buyers can claim 10% per annum of the purchase price for the delay.

In their application for judicial review, the condo buyers stated that they wanted to quash the decision allowing BHL Construction Sdn Bhd an extension of time for the delivery of vacant possession from 36 months to 48 months.

They also asked the court for a declaration that Regulation 11(3) was ultra vires of the Housing Development Act (Control and Licensing) Act.

Wong said the judge has ordered the parties to address the issue of costs on the next date for case management.

When contacted, SFC Mohamad Rizal said the judge also allowed a similar application involving another group of condominium buyers involving the same developer and project.

Source: By  m. mageswari, royce tan, thean lee cheng, eugene mahalingam, The Star

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Sunday, 26 February 2017

Police must act swiftly


Several recent crime cases have shaken Malaysians quite a bit. We leave it to our police force to provide answers to this madness.


RECENTLY, several widely reported crime cases, which many Malaysians are following, have really shaken us.

Yes, Malaysians complain a lot, and rightly so, about the never-ending burglaries and snatch theft cases in our neighbourhood and streets but these are merely incidents involving petty criminals.

Yes, we lose money and sometimes, there are fatalities involved but most are non-brutal and the motives are established quickly. I am not even talking about the high profile assassination of Kim Jong-nam, the exiled half-brother of North Korean dictator Jong-un, at the KLIA2 which has grabbed the world’s attention.


The police have been swift – two women who committed the crime were arrested and other suspects were taken in while more North Korean suspects have been identified.

There has been plenty of noise from the North Korean embassy but the case is being wrapped up, with fresh leads being revealed to the public daily.

But what has disturbed me most is the disappearance of Pastor Raymond Koh Keng Joo, who is well-known among the Christian community in Malaysia.

It has been reported that on Feb 13, occupants of a van stopped the pastor’s car, a silver Honda Accord, along Jalan Bahagia, Petaling Jaya, and abducted him.

 
(Left) Koh: Abducted in broad daylight. (Right) Sameera: Brutally murdered.

He had earlier left his Prima Sixteen Chapter Two home in Jalan 16/18, Petaling Jaya, at about 10am to go to the Puncak Damansara Condominium in Kampung Sg Kayu Ara, not far away. Koh’s family said the 62-year-old was en route to a friend’s home.

So far, there has been no ransom demanded or motive identified. We still don’t know the reason for the kidnapping.

A CCTV footage, currently with the police, purportedly showed the abduction taking place on a busy road.

It is believed that the pastor’s abduction involved several vehicles. It was professionally and very swiftly executed.

The case is under the personal attention of Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar, who announced that a special task force has been formed to investigate the case, saying police had recorded statements from eight witnesses but admitted that there had been little information to go on.

The team is led by Selangor Criminal Investigations Department chief Senior Assistant Commissioner Fadzil Ahmat.

The case is most baffling. Ours is not a South American or Middle Eastern country where people get abducted from busy streets.

The abductors appeared to be very organised, almost professional-like, in carrying out their task. One of them even diverted traffic while others grabbed Koh.

The fact that they have not demanded any ransom shows that they are not ordinary kidnappers looking for money.

The only possible answer is that some persons (or group) are not happy with the way he is handling his work. Koh’s colleagues have revealed that a bullet was sent to the pastor six years ago after the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) conducted a raid on a thanksgiving and fund-raising dinner organised at a church in Petaling Jaya, where he was accused of proselytising to Muslims.

Religious leaders of any faith must be mindful that attempting to convert anyone is really crossing the line. The majority of Muslims will not tolerate any attempt of proselytising, even in the most subtle form, and leaders of other faiths must understand and accept the sensitivity and reality of the situation.

However, any grievances or complaints relating to religion, a sensitive issue, should be directed to the religious authorities and police. In this case, the pastor was snatched away with no obvious clues, and no claims have been made.

This is distressing, and his wife has understandably sought counselling in Singapore as the family agonises over the unexplained incident.

In the absence of any information, this has led to speculation and it is unhealthy for Malaysia as we take pride in our religious diversity and tolerance in resolving conflicts.

The other widely talked about case involved transgender Sameera Krishnan, who was brutally murdered on Thursday. She was shot, had four fingers severed and suffered head injuries.

The cruelty inflicted on her was horrifying and something Malaysians just cannot imagine. Interestingly, Sameera was the main witness in her own kidnapping case two years ago and the trial has been set to begin early next month.

In 2015, she was rescued by police after she was abducted from her home in Klang, and repeatedly sodomised.

Enough. Malaysians must stand up and demand for justice. While Malaysia does not condone LGBT (lesbians, gays, bisexual, and transgender), this does not mean Sameera’s life is worth any less than ours. It doesn’t matter whether we refer to Sameera as him or her.

The fact is this – she was murdered and sexually violated. Her pride and dignity were snatched away from her and despite the prejudices of many Malaysians, this should not, in any way, diminish the diligence and commitment needed to solve the crime.

Her perpetrators must be brought to justice and if we have any conscience at all, we should all be furious. It will be abnormal to be indifferent about this. Sameera deserves justice, just like anyone else.

I believe that Malaysia is a country where minorities are protected. There are laws in our country and they are upheld.

The police have been professional, and I believe and respect our police force. They take every bit of information seriously and in my regular dealings with them, I have developed even more respect for them. They trudge on diligently despite their impossibly heavy work load.

I hope they will bring some sense and provide us answers to the madness and along the way, some reassurances to the public.

On The Beat By Wong Chun Wai The Star

Wong Chun Wai began his career as a journalist in Penang, and has served The Star for over 27 years in various capacities and roles. He is now the group's managing director/chief executive officer and formerly the group chief editor.

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Friday, 24 February 2017

Investing in property to let may not be a good idea



Buying to rent may not be a good idea


RENTING out a house or apartment used to be a source of income that would help to pay back the loan instalment or increase one’s available income.

Today, this is no longer a good idea, particularly for those whose income is just enough to meet their needs in the near- or short-term. This is because many people have become less honest.

Those who buy a property with the idea of renting it out may find themselves dealing with a delinquent tenant. To illustrate the situation, I reproduce part of a letter from a reader who is having sleepless nights.

“I have rented an apartment to a Bangladeshi family for a monthly rent of RM900 for several years without a written tenancy agreement. The rental payment went on smoothly until roughly nine months ago, when the tenant started delaying payment of both rental and water.

The rental and water payment was owed several months. Every time he said he would pay, but ended up not paying. He now owes me more than three months rent and more than six months water and has refused to move out, saying he needs time to find a place.

What can I do to get him out, if he continues staying without payment? People have advised me to lodge a police report and get the Rela to forcibly move him out. Is it legal to cut off the water and/or force the tenant out?”

To start with, it is legally wrong to disconnect the electricity or water. Once rented out, the tenant acquires a special kind of right to be on the premises.

A breach by him allows the landlord to terminate the tenancy. Thereafter the tenant becomes liable to pay double rent. The landlord should get a court order to evict him. I don’t think making a police report or approaching Rela will help.

This does not go very far in hel­ping the reader, but what I have to say could help readers who are renting out their property of the type referred to, or who are planning to do so.

Such a person should consider carefully whether he has sufficient spare funds if he is taking a loan. If he is a cash buyer or has resources to pay the instalments then it is fine.

This is because rent will not roll in immediately once the property is ready. There will be a need to spend time and money on putting in some basic fixtures. Time may be required to find a tenant.

In the meantime, the loan instalments will become payable and if he is unable to pay, these will add up and attract penalty interest, increasing the amount of the loan. There will be an added problem if the tenant is only able to pay rent which is less than the instalment.

So what could a landlord do to safeguard himself? The landlord should have a written agreement, and should require at least three months’ deposit at the outset and one month’s rental in advance, with the rental to be paid on or before the seventh day of each month, if not earlier.

Breach of these requirements would entitle the landlord to terminate the tenancy forthwith and require vacant possession.

Once the landlord has put himself in this position, he must monitor the payment of the rent. The tenant may pay late, but the landlord must not keep quiet. When there is a delay in payment but he pays within the month, you must give him a warning that the late payment is a breach.

The need to do this every month is important, because if the landlord allows the tenant to do this repeatedly, the law may regard this as acquiescence and a waiver by the landlord of the obligation to pay on the stipulated date.

If the tenant has not paid for two months the landlord should, by the middle of the second month, terminate tenancy and ask him to vacate the premises. At this stage the landlord has one and half month’s deposit, which allows him to have time to take meaningful action against the Tenant.

Chances are that if the landlord proceeds with such promptness, the tenant will come forward and resolve the matter.

As a term for allowing the tenant to stay on, the landlord could require the tenant to pay the legal costs. In such an event, the tenant would in future pay the rent regularly or he would leave, allowing the landlord to let the premises to another tenant.

Going to court can be costly, but the landlord should not just give up. He should approach a lawyer who can help him with the problem. Not all lawyers are out to make big profits from every client. Some lawyers will even do it for a very low fee, just to help the tenant.

Going to court will look harsh and is something that the owner may not like to do. This is because, at the point of renting, tenants project themselves as very decent and nice people who have every intention of paying the rent promptly. The issue here is: does the owner want his rent to be paid?

If the owner wants to be kind, then the tenant is likely to take advantage of him and drag on the non-payment. Of course, if the landlord is so inclined, he must be prepared to pay the price for being nice.

Law For Everyone By Bhag Singh The star

Any comments or suggestions for points of discussion can be sent to mavico7@yahoo.com. The views expressed here are entirely the writer’s own.

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Thursday, 23 February 2017

Retrenchments ahead, says Malaysian Employers Federation


The Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) believes that more people will get the axe this year due to the current economic challenges.

Apart from the weak economy, contributing factors include the introduction of “disruptive technology” in some industries, it said.

According to its executive director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan (pic), economic challenges would see bosses reviewing their workers’ requirements.

“I think slightly more workers will be retrenched this year,” he told a press conference after the Taxation and Employer seminar jointly hosted by the Inland Revenue Board and MEF yesterday.

Shamsuddin said in 2015, about 44,000 workers lost their jobs while up to September last year, about 40,000 workers were retrenched.

He said the complete data for 2016 has not been released by authorities yet, but the numbers could be higher than the previous year.

In 2015, said Shamsuddin, about 18,000 of those who lost their jobs were from the banking sector due to the introduction of what he termed as “disruptive technology”, where banks were increasingly adopting online transactions, for example.

Other industries that could be affected, said Shamsuddin, include insurance, manufacturing and construction.

He said for the insurance industry, many prefer dealing with the companies directly for their services, which makes the job of middlemen or agents, redundant.

“However, these agents are not really part of the retrenchment rate because they are considered to be self-employed,” he said.

Asked to comment on the E-kad (enforcement card) programme by the Immigration Department, Shamsuddin said the Government should consider widening the criteria.

He said the programme should be open to illegal workers who do not have permanent employers.

Currently, only illegal foreign workers with valid employers can register and legalise their work under the E-kad programme.

Shamsuddin said by including illegal foreign workers without employers, the source pool for workers can be widened.

By Hemananthani Vivanandam The Star/ANN

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Monday, 20 February 2017

Kim Jong-nam's murder masterminds back in North Korea

https://youtu.be/fCSNNgzdgqI



https://youtu.be/D5B5jom56Sc

Official story: Noor Rashid speaking to the media during the press conference at Bukit Aman.

KUALA LUMPUR: Four suspects being hunted by Bukit Aman in the assassination of North Korean exile Kim Jong-nam are believed to be back in Pyongyang after leaving the country for Jakarta immediately after the attack.

The four – Rhi Ji-hyon, 33, (arrived in Malaysia on Feb 4), Hong Song-hac, 34, (arrived Jan 31), O Jong-gil, 55, (arrived Feb 7) and Ri Jae-nam, 57, (arrived Feb 1) – left for Jakarta from KLIA2 immediately after the attack on Monday.

From Jakarta, sources say they flew to Dubai and Vladivostok before reaching Pyongyang.

“They may have taken the long route to shake off the authorities,” sources said.

Deputy Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Noor Rashid Ibrahim said Malaysian police are cooperating with Interpol and other relevant bodies overseas to track them.

Bukit Aman’s first priority is to collect all evidence on the suspects’ involvement in the case.

“Next plan is to get them. We will use all resources to pursue them,” Noor Rashid told a press conference, the first by the police since the killing.

On the possibility that the murder was politically motivated, Noor Rashid said the police were not interested in any political angle.

“What we are interested in is why they committed such a crime in our country.

“Any political angle can be put aside as it is not our job to worry about political matters.

“We want to get at the truth and bring the perpetrators to justice,” he said.

He said police were also looking for North Korean citizen Ri Ji-u, 30, also known as James, along with two others to help in investigations.

Of those arrested, Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong, 28, arrived from Hanoi on Feb 4 while Indonesian Siti Aisyah, 25, a spa masseuse, entered the country via Batam on Feb 2.

North Korean Ri Jong-chol, 47, was arrested on Friday and entered Malaysia on Aug 6 last year.

“We are in the process of identifying the two others sought to assist in the investigations,” said Noor Rashid.

“We hope anyone with information can come forward,” he said.

On Jong-nam’s post-mortem, Noor Rashid said that it was conducted on Feb 15 at Hospital Kuala Lumpur.

“The cause of death is still unknown. We are waiting for the toxicology and pathological test results. I think in a few days, we will get the toxicology result.

“The case will be referred to the deputy public prosecutor for fur­ther instructions and investi­ga­tion,” he said.

Priority is given to close family members or next of kin to claim the body and they have been given two weeks to do so, added Noor Rashid.

“It is very important for close family members of the deceased to come forward to assist us in the process of identification, which is based on our legal procedures and Malaysian law.

“However, as of today, we have not met the next of kin. We are trying very hard to get the next of kin to assist us,” he said.

In the event that the family does not show up, Noor Rashid said police will look at further options.

Sources: By  farik zolkepli, jastin ahmad tarmizi, merga watizul fakar, adrian chan The Star

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Saturday, 18 February 2017

Lured by Korean movie led to murder of N Korean supreme commander's half brother Kim Jong-nam


‘Siti told me she was in a North Korean movie’


A divorcee who has been arrested as one of the suspects in the high-profile murder of North Korean exile Kim Jong-nam was able to speak Korean and had always wanted to go to North Korea.

Deadly ‘prank’: Siti Aisyah.

From the slums of Jakarta, the 25-year-old Siti Aisyah moved to the bright lights of Kuala Lumpur and has now become embroiled in a high-profile murder that gripped the world’s attention.

 
A man walks past a house (red color) where Indonesian woman Siti Aishah, a suspect in the murder of Kim Jong Nam, used to live in Tambora district in Jakarta, Indonesia. - AFP

She had told her friends and family in Indonesia that she had been invited to act in a movie.

“She said the shooting would take place in North Korea,” a friend of Siti Aisyah told Detik.com, an Indonesian portal.

However, she did not give family and friends the details.

“I don’t know the details, she just said it was for a DPR office (North Korea). We ordinary people just listened to what she was saying,” said the friend, identified only as AZ.

Siti Aisyah is one of the two women who allegedly attacked Jong-nam, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, with a deadly chemical.

Siti Aisyah worked as a guest relations officer (GRO) at a spa in Ampang although she told folks in Indonesia that she had a job “selling tickets”.

Her nightlife job was hidden from her family in Indonesia, where she has a seven-year-old son named Rio. Rio lives with her former in-laws.

But one thing that Siti Aisyah’s mother Benah did know was that her daughter could speak English and Korean.

“I never knew she worked in Malaysia,” said Benah, 50, who thought her daughter was selling clothes at a market in Batam after divorcing her husband, Gunawan Hasyin alias Ajun.

She said that the last time Siti Aisyah went back to her village in Serang, near Jakarta, was on Jan 21. Aisyah had been sending money to Benah.

“Usually it’s 500,000 rupiah (RM170). But not every month,” Benah told the news portal.

Siti Aisyah’s mother-in-law Lian Kiong or Akiong, 56, told Indonesian Foreign Ministry officials yesterday that she and her family had no relationship with her since she divorced her husband Gunawan Hasyim.

A sealed handwritten letter of the divorce note dated Feb 1, 2012 was presented to the Foreign Ministry yesterday.

Signed by Siti Aisyah and Gunawan, with her then employer Lian Kiong as witness, the letter said the couple had opted for a divorce as they no longer “had the compatibility and harmony of husband and wife”.

Lian Kiong said that following the divorce, Siti Aisyah hardly visited her in-laws in Tambora in West Jakarta, and only came around once a year to meet Rio.

“After the divorce, she never came around. The last time she came was on Jan 28.

“She came and stayed for the night. She spent the night with my grandson and left the next day,” Lian Kiong was quoted as saying.

She added that Siti Aisyah’s son had previously even refused to meet his mother because he knew she would leave eventually.

According to another Indonesian news portal Kumparan, based on identification records held by her village of birth in Angke, west Jakarta, she had two separate entries, complete with different photos.

In the first one, her name is spelt as “Siti Aisyah” with information saying she was born in Serang, Indonesia, on Feb 11, 1992. In the accompanying picture, her hair is tied in a ponytail.

In the second entry, her name was written as “Siti Aisah” and her date of birth is listed as Nov 1, 1989. In this picture, her hair is worn loose.

The ID (identification) numbers as well as her occupation on both entries differed.

As “Siti Aisyah”, she listed her occupation as entrepreneur; as “Siti Aisah”, she listed her occupation as housewife.

Kumparan quoted Angke village head Dwi Ariyono as saying he did not know why Siti Aisyah had two separate IDs.

Siti Aisyah was arrested at a hotel in Ampang on Thursday after she was identified on CCTV footage from KL International Airport 2 (KLIA2).

Among the items seized by police in the room included three US$100 notes.

She was the second suspect detained for allegedly murdering Jong-nam. The first suspect was a woman who held a Vietnamese passport, identifying her as Doan Thi Huong, 28.

Siti Aisyah’s boyfriend, Muham­mad Farid Jalaluddin, 26, was also arrested on Wednesday.

Indonesian deputy ambassador to Malaysia Andreano Erwin said that the embassy in Kuala Lumpur had been unable to meet Siti Aisyah as of yesterday afternoon.

“We are still waiting for permission from the Malaysian authorities to see her,” he said.

Source:  The Star/ANN

https://youtu.be/UxZIqvTQPoA

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Killer women recruited by a man three months ago

 

Deadly ‘prank’: Siti Aisyah in this file picture. — Detik.com >>

The two women suspected to have murdered North Korean Kim Jong-nam were allegedly “recruited” by a man to carry out the deadly task as early as three months ago.

According to a report by China Press, both Siti Aisyah, 25, and Doan Thi Huong, 29, were not North Korean “special agents” but were possibly duped by a spy ring to commit the assassination.

China Press reported that the mystery man, believed to be a spy, got to know Thi Huong about three months ago in Malaysia, and she eventually became his escort.

The man took her on several overseas trips, including to Vietnam, where they visited her hometown and another trip to South Korea.

The man then introduced Thi Huong to the four men still wanted by police in connection with the killing.

The man got to know Siti Aisyah about a month ago, but only introduced the two women to each other recently when he told them about a “prank “ he wanted them to pull.

The two women have claimed that they had no idea that it would lead to trouble as they thought it was only supposed to be a filming of the prank.

They apparently rehearsed the “spoof” many times and were able to carry out the process proficiently.

The report also said that Siti Aisyah was tasked with using a handkerchief to cover Jong-nam’s face while Thi Huong administered an injection.

China Press reported that Siti Aisyah claimed she was paid US$100 (RM445) to pull off the “prank”.

Jong-nam, 45, was killed by two women who splashed his face with a chemical at the KLIA2 departure hall at about 9am on Monday as he was about to leave for Macau. - The Star

On the trail of a killer called Thi Huong

 


KUALA LUMPUR: The woman known as Doan Thi Huong stayed in cheap hotels, carried a wad of cash and cut her hair a day before the murder of North Korean exile Kim Jong-nam.

 

Doan Thi Huong

According to the receptionist at one of the hotels, the woman left early in the morning on Monday, the day of the assassination.

Thi Huong had told police she had been duped into what she thought was a harmless practical joke.

However, staff at two hotels near the airport gave details of Thi Huong’s movements before the killing that appeared both calm and deliberate.

On Saturday, Feb 11, she went first to Qlassic Hotel.

A staff member said she stayed in the cheapest room, which had no windows.

“I remember she wanted to extend her stay here, and was ready to pay with a stack of money in her hand,” said another member of the Qlassic’s staff, a front-desk employee identified only as Sia.

On Sunday, Thi Huong checked into the CityView Hotel, arriving with a suitcase, a backpack and a large teddy bear, the receptionist said, adding that Thi Huong spoke understandable English.

She borrowed a pair of scissors from the front desk the evening before the attack, and a member of housekeeping staff found hair on the floor and in the waste basket the next day.

“She found the scissors on the room desk. There was hair strewn on the floor in the room, (Thi Huong) had thrown some in the bin but there was still a mess,” the receptionist said.

She said the next day, Thi Huong had on the shirt she was seen wearing in an airport CCTV grab that has earned her the nickname “LOL Girl” in Malaysian media.

Thi Huong was out for much of Monday morning and, on her return, she seemed “relaxed” and “didn’t look angry or worried”.

She complained about the Wi-Fi in her room and when she was told it could not be fixed until the afternoon, she checked out and left.

She then checked into the nearby SkyStar Hotel and left after one night, an employee said.

She was arrested on Wednesday morning, about 48 hours after the murder, in the same terminal where Jong-nam was attacked.

“Do her movements indicate she was an intelligence operative, then I would say yes,” said a private investigator in Kuala Lumpur.

“That is how they operate. Change of appearance, cash transactions, no paper trail and constantly on the move.” — Reuters

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