Oral Answer by DPM Prof S Jayakumar to Parliamentary Question on En Bloc Legislation, 27 August 2007
27 Aug 2007 Posted in Parliamentary speeches and responses
Currently, the law allows an owner who does not agree to an en bloc sale to file an objection with the Strata Titles Boards. There is no fee for filing an objection; and the owner is not required to be represented by a lawyer and he may appear before the Board himself.
Besides this, any owner who at any time feels that he is being harassed or intimidated to consent to an en bloc sale may of course, lodge a Police report.
Let me add, Sir, that my Ministry has completed our review of the en bloc sale legislation and I shall today, that is, after the conclusion of question-time, introduce the Land Titles (Strata) (Amendment) Bill. The changes to the legislation of course will be explained in detail by myself during the Second Reading of the Bill and public sitting of the House. For now, I will just say that in addition to the proposals which we had set out in the public consultation paper and which I have mentioned during the Committee of Supply, the Government has also accepted a number of additional changes that will further enhance transparency and procedural clarity, as well as offer better protection to the owners of affected developments. So I believe these changes will go to a considerable way to address the unscrupulous and intimidating practices that Ms Ng refers to in her question.
Ms Irene Ng: Supplementary question, Sir. Sir, as the Minister has noted, there have been various reports of intimidation on the part of the sales committee. Can I ask the Minister whether there are any provisions now, or in the new Bill, to ensure that the owners can oust the sales committee if the sales committee has been found to be either negligent, under-handed or unfair in its dealings, as well as not representing the interest of the owners but more of the buyers?
The second question is with regard to pending cases such as Tampines Court, which started their en bloc process end of 2002 before the property boom. The STB has yet to approve the sale, and the sales and purchase agreement will expire on 24 September, renewable by 4 months. I believe minority owners are opposing the sale and have filed their objections to STB. Can I ask the Minister, pending the review, how will these owners be affected by the changes that will be coming?
Answer to supplementary questions
DPM: I’ll ask her to be patient and it is just a matter of time before she reads the provisions of the Bill. As a general rule, I hope she will understand that I will like to avoid commenting on specific cases of en bloc because I don’t have the details and it may not be proper as some of these cases might end up in court. The general rule in legislation is to be prospective in application. The Bill has certain provisions for transitional and savings provisions, and if she later has a look at these provisions, they provide that the amendments will apply to all developments except those where 80% or 90% majority based on share values have already been signed in the collective sale agreement at the time that the amendments come into effect. And there are also provisions in the Bill concerning applications made to or pending before the Board at the time the amendments come into effect. So, I think she has to study these proposals and of course I hope she will speak her mind when the Bill is read a second time.
Last updated on 25 Nov 2012