Developer urged to demolish unfinished Tawau building
Published on: Thursday, July 19, 2018

Tawau: State Assistant Minister Jimmy Wong Sze Phin urged the developer of an unfinished building on the open space in Sabindo to demolish it soon as possible or risk being hauled up for contempt of court. Only by doing so would the plaintiff withdraw the committal proceedings.

The plaintiff, represented by Bishop James Wong, had filed an application for committal proceedings against the developer on July 17, 2018. It was made with the purpose to effectively allow the court to have the power to make an order to punish the person who disobeyed a court ruling or order.

Jimmy said given the nature of the breach is a criminal offence (contempt of court), in the event that the court allows this application, the developer would be subject to legal sanctions.

In fact, the plaintiff even offered the developer to share half the court fees and contribute the balance of 50 per cent to the demolishing cost. Besides that, the Deputy Chief Minister cum Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Jaujan Sambakong also promised to contribute 50 per cent of demolishing cost from his Ministry in this matter.

According to him, this is a fundamental principle that separates Malaysia as a democracy from others and hoped the developer could wooperate in this matter by demolishing the unfinished building on the respective public open space.

Meanwhile, Jimmy also apologised to the public if this unfinished building has not been demolished after 100 days, as he promised before the general election.

"I'm agreeing with the move of the plaintiff to take legal action against the developer because the developer must be held responsible for what he did and he cannot be allowed to run scot free.

"As a people's representative, I have the obligation to protect the green lungs in Tawau and the interests of the Tawau people. Again, I must stress that there is a due process in serving justice and the law must take its course," he cited.

Jimmy also disclosed that it is important that the building is demolished and restored back to its original position.

However, it is also equally important to ensure the rule of law and due process is respected.

Here was the chronology of the case:

Year 2006: A declaration was sought to declare the Joint Venture Agreement and the two approved development plans were illegal and unenforceable.

Year 2009: A full trial was conducted by the learned Judicial Commissioner and an order to compel the developer to dismantle, remove and clear all plants, equipments and material within six months from the date of the order granted. The developer defied and failed to comply with the order and appealed to the Court of Appeal.

Year 2011: Court of Appeal dismissed its appeal in year 2011.

Year 2012: The developer sought to appeal to the Federal Court but subsequently, the Federal Court dismissed its appeal.

Year 2016: The High Court learned trial judge allowed the application and affirmed the order made in year 2009, in which it was subsequently affirmed by the Court of Appeal and Federal Court, both in year 2011 and 2012 respectively.

Year 2017: The developer filed an application for leave to appeal to the Federal Court.

On October 12, the application was dismissed by the Federal Court. In other words, the High Court order still stand and the developer is compelled to demolish the unfinished building within six months.

Jimmy said this case has been more a decade and yet justice has not been served.

Clearly and unequivocally, the developer has acted in breach of the court order.

He said the defiance of the developer not to abide by the court order shows that he does not respect the rule of law and legislations that are readily available in our country.

However, he believed the law must take its course to restore the trust and confidence of the public towards the judiciary. The court has fixed the hearing of this case on this coming August 8, 2018. - Christy Chok


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