MB Johor Dato’ Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin managed to push through an amended Johor Housing and Real Property Board (LPHJ) Enactment 2014 at the Johor State Assembly in Kota Iskandar this evening. It was done not without pulling a lot of wool over Johoreans’ eyes.
The Star story:
Published: Monday June 9, 2014 MYT 5:46:00 PM
Updated: Monday June 9, 2014 MYT 8:44:09 PM
Johor approves controversial housing bill
BY NELSON BENJAMIN
NUSAJAYA: The Johor Housing and Real Property Enactment Board Bill 2014 was unanimously passed by the state legislative assembly here Monday.
The controversial bill was approved with a majority vote of 38 from Barisan Nasional while 18 from the Opposition voted against it despite efforts from the Opposition to delay passing the enactment for further studies.
The Bill was passed at 5.20pm after Dr Boo Cheng Hau (DAP-Skudai), Yeo Tung Siong (DAP-Skudai) and Wong Shu Qi (DAP-Skudai) suggested for the passing of the enactment to be postponed.
Only 29 votes were needed to pass the Bill.
The Bill, which is divided into six sections, 51 clauses and three schedules, was tabled by Housing and Local Government Committee chairman Datuk Abdul Latiff Bandi.
Eight lawmakers, including three from the opposition, debated on the Bill for three hours before it was approved.
Changes were made to the controversial Bill to limit the powers of the Sultan by making 10 amendments to 10 clauses, including stipulating that the Ruler has to act on the advice of the Mentri Besar.
The amendment involves Clause 4 (3) Composition of the Board – changing the phrase from “members of the board may be paid remuneration and allowances as determined by the Sultan” to “members of the board may be paid remuneration and allowances as determined by the state authorities.”
Under Clause 12 (2) Appointment of Directors, Officers and Civil Servants, the appointment of the directors shall have prior approval of the Sultan on the advise of the Sultan, instead of solely base on the approval of the Sultan.
Under Clause 43 (1) Winding up and Liquidation, the state authority may wind up or dissolve the board by publishing it in the Government Gazette, instead of “the Sultan may windup and dissolve by having the order gazetted.”
In his winding up speech, Abdul Latiff said the enactment was not meant to burden any quarters but at strengthening the housing and real estate sector in Johor.
He said the Johor Housing and Real Property Board would be tasked with policymaking, implementation, coordination and planning of the housing and real estate development in the state.
“It will help facilitate people as well as stakeholders such as developers and consultants in housing and real estate affairs in Johor,” he added.
Earlier, Maulizan Bujang (BN-Tiram), when debating the Bill, said from the government perspective, the purpose, goal and function of the enactment was to strengthen real estate development in Johor, particularly for the benefit of the middle and lower income groups.
He said the housing and real estate sector in Johor could be managed more efficiently and effectively with the setting up of the board.
“I hope the board will identify suitable land in the city for the development of affordable housing. This will ensure that there will be houses for people from various backgrounds where development are taking place,” he said.
Wong Shu Qi (DAP-Senai) said although the enactment was timely, several issues needed to be clarified.
All assemblymen have to understand people’s needs, especially that of young couples before formulating policies and laws for the benefit of all groups, he add
The original draft of the LPHJ enactment drew a lot of controversy when the initial draft was thought to give Sultan Johor so much executive powers and contradicts the principle of separation of power between Ruler and Executive in the Constitutional Monarchy parliamentary democracy this nation adopted.
Fourth Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, MT UMNO members Datuk Dr Puad Zarkashi and Dato’ Tajuddin Abd. Rahman and former long time cabinet Minister Tan Sri Dr Rais Yatim Ph.D, all opposed the proposed LPHJ in sundry.
The opposition even brought Tun Dr. Mahathir and his former Deputy and political adversary Tun Musa Hitam on the same page, criticising Johor State Government for the proposed provision of powers to Sultan Johor.
Even Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd. Najib Tun Razak sounded out that the principle of separation of power needs to be preserved and the LPHJ enactment should not contravene the Federal Constitution.
In his media conference after the LPHJ enactment was passed, MB Johor Khaled criticised those who are not in Johor failed to understand what is best for the state and the new law would not allow powers be abused by Sultan Johor but instead would have sought advise from the Menteri Besar before making any decisions.
Little Annie is spot on when she wrote MB Johor Khaled should not have ‘Flip-Flopped’ and rammed the enactment under the Johoreans throat, only to deal with the repercussions.
Interestingly, the Johor Royal Council Secretary Dato’ Rahim Ramli denied Sultan Johor initiated for having so much power in the LPHJ.
Riong Kali dot com story:
Johor Royal Council denies Sultan initiated property Bill
BY ANISAH SHUKRY
Published: 9 June 2014 | Updated: 9 June 2014 11:49 AM
The Johor Royal Council says there was no instruction from the palace nor the council on the controversial Bill tabled in the Johor state assembly today. – The Malaysian Insider pic, June 9, 2014.
The Sultan of Johor was not behind the state’s Housing and Real Property Board Bill 2014 which drew criticism for allowing the ruler to have a hand in the state administration, the Johor Royal Council said today.
Council president Datuk Abdul Rahim Ramli told a press conference that the ruler does not interfere in the state government’s affairs and that the Bill, which was later amended to reduce the sultan’s power, was written up by the government.
“It was not the sultan (who created the Bill). The sultan does not interfere in state administration. It is the state government’s right to propose any laws that could benefit the rakyat,” he said.
He dismissed speculation that the sultan had initiated the Bill, and that Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin had been forced to follow the sultan’s wishes.
Abdul Rahim pointed out that if the sultan had vested interests in the Johor Property and Housing Commission (JPHC), he would not have “magnanimously” agreed to the Bill’s amendments, which had removed or restricted his authority over the proposed housing board.
The amendments, which were made today, no longer gave the sultan the power to determine the remuneration or allowances of board members.
The sultan’s power to direct any person to investigate the books, accounts and transactions of the board has been removed, and he no longer can direct the board to be wound up and dissolved.
The board no longer has to submit to the ruler its accounts, an estimate of the expenses for the following year and a report of its activities in the preceding year. Nor does it require the sultan’s approval to establish a corporation.
Instead, all those powers are vested solely in the state authority.
Similarly, the sultan can only appoint members of the board on the advice of the menteri besar. The sultan’s approval for the appointment of the director is also on the advice of the menteri besar.
Either the sultan or the menteri besar can decide to revoke a member’s appointment, as opposed to the sultan having the sole authority to do so.
The amendments were made following public outcry over the administrative powers given to the sultan. Critics said it violated the Federal Constitution.
But Abdul Rahman denied this, saying: “The provisions of the Bill are not meant to surrender absolute power to the ruler and therefore should not be misconstrued as interference of the monarchy in the management of the state.
“Neither does it contravene the concept of constitutional monarchy.”
Even though the Bill had originally given the sultan power to, among others, appoint members of the board, Abdul Rahim stressed the ruler was bound by the constitution and by convention to act on advice regardless.
He likened the provision to the sultan’s power of appointing the menteri besar, which was also done after consultation with certain parties.
“Although the ruler may at his discretion appoint a menteri besar from among the legislative assembly… such appointment is normally made after consultation and advise from the party.”
Abdul Rahim added that the power vested in the sultan in appointing board members was in line with the Act of Parliament No. 380 Incorporation (State Legislatures Competence) Act 1962 revised 1989.
“They (the provisions in the Bill) constitute a check and balance mechanism in the management of the corporations,” he said. – June 9, 2014.
The ‘Thirteen Million Ringgit Plus Question” if Sultan Johor did not initiate for the LPHJ to provide the Ruler so much executive power, then why did Johor State Government under MB Johor Khaled drafted the enactment as such?
Was MB Johor Khaled over ambitious to win favours from the palace or obtuse? Or was it MB Johor Khaled’s act of machiavellian politics?
Needless to say, the bitter after taste of this unnecessary banter for an enactment which should not have been presented in its original draft and context had caused the Johoreans to be net losers.