Hanipah Farikullah, Lee Swee Seng and Ahmad Nasfy Yasin JCA
24 January 2022
The Respondents were the purchasers of the service apartments developed by Bluedream City Sdn Bhd (“Developer”). The Controller of Housing (“Controller”) had granted the Developer a six months extension of time to complete the project (“the First Extension”). The Developer later made an application for the extension of time to the Controller for an additional 17 months (“the Second Extension”), however, the Controller allowed the Second Extension which is only applicable to the unsold units. The Developer later appealed to the Minister of Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government (“Minister”) whereby the Minister agreed that the Second Extension was applicable to the sold units as well.
Dissatisfied with the Minister’s decision, the Respondents commenced a judicial review in the High Court which held in favour of the Respondents. Hence, the present appeal against the Respondents, consisted of three appeals commenced by the Developer and the other three by the Minister and the Controller.
The issues to be determined by this Honourable Court are:
Whether the Respondents were parties adversely affected by the Controller’s decision in the first extension and second extension or by the Minister’s decision?
Whether the Minister’s decision to extend the time for the Developer to complete the units is illegal?
Whether the Minister’s decision should be set aside for procedural impropriety due to the right to be heard is not given to the Respondents?
Whether the Minister’s decision should be set aside on the ground of irrationality?
The answers to each of these questions are as follows:
The First Extension does not stand as this issue was never raised by the Respondents in the first place. The Honourable Court held that the Respondents may be aggrieved by or adversely affected by the Second Extension granted by the Minister.
The fact that the Controller has no power to make a decision under r 11(3) of the HDR does not preclude the power of the Minister to make a decision under r 11(3) or under r 12 in an appeal from an invalid decision under r 11(3) of the HDR. The power of the Minister includes the power to modify the Schedule H contract in the interest and justice of the purchasers.
There is no express requirement of a right to be heard that must be given to the Respondents. The Court held that unless the Minister has some doubts as to how the Respondents’ interest may best be safeguarded, then the right to be heard is not necessary.
After carefully examining and considering the circumstances faced by the Developer, the Court is satisfied that in the present circumstance, the Developer is not trying to gain an advantage over the Respondents, but the Developer genuinely asking for the extension of 17 months as they were prevented by the Stop Working Order from doing any work.