Ong Ka Ting should present a Green Paper on proposal to replace Certificate
of Fitness with declaration of fitness by architects and engineers to ensure
that house-buyers will not be jumping out of the frying pan into the fire
Media Statement (2)
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Sunday): The foremost question house-buyers are asking is whether they will be jumping out of the frying plan into the fire if the government does away with the Certificate of Fitness requirement for new buildings and replaces it with the declaration from professionals like the engineers and architects involving in a project to certify the safety of the building and that it was built based on its specifications.
Before the government implements any such plan, it must be established beyond a shadow of doubt that the interests of the ordinary house buyers will be better served by such a change, and not the reverse.
Furthermore, it should also be asked whether the proposed change is because the government has given up all hope of improving local government efficiency and professionalism in the speedy issue of certificate of fitness by the various local authorities despite repeated exhortations by the highest in government – for if this is the case, then the solution lies in overhauling the entire local government system, including restoring City, Municipal and local council elections to ensure greater responsibility, accountability and efficiency instead of resorting to a cure which may be worse than the disease.
If the government is seriously considering abolishing the role of the local government authorities in the issue of certificate of fitness for new buildings, it must be prepared to immediately put in place a system whereby grievances of housebuyers against architects, engineers and developers for failure to meet the standards of their declaration of fitness could be adjudicated expeditiously and justly – such as a special Housing Court system whereby all housing claims could be disposed of within 12 months.
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has asked the Housing and Local Government Ministry to prepare a Cabinet paper on replacing CF with declarations from the professionals involved in a project.
The Housing and Local Government Minister, Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting should make public a Green Paper on the proposal to replace CF with declarations of fitness by architects and engineers to ensure that house-buyers will not be jumping out of the frying pan into the fire. A Green Paper is a preliminary report of government proposals published to stimulate public consideration and discussion. The Cabinet should be guided by public response and debate as a result of the Green Paper on the abolition of the CF system.
* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader,
Member of Parliament for Ipoh Timor & DAP National Chairman