Abdul Rahman Dahlan has yet to explain if he was influenced by any high profile person to grant extension of time to a developer in 2015 to complete delayed projects, said Penang Deputy Chief Minister II P Ramasamy.

Rahman was then Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister, and should not avoid answering the question, Ramasamy added.

By avoiding the question, Ramasamy felt that there is a “probable abuse of power” in Rahman’s decision to grant the developer – BHL Construction Sdn Bhd – a 12 months’ extension to complete their delayed condominium projects.

“He has clearly diverted from the issue; my question is not whether the ministry has power to give extensions,” Ramasamy told Malaysiakini, when asked to respond to Rahman’s comment about the issue.

“My question was, whether there was a high profile person – a director of BHL – who wrote the letter to the minister to ask for the extension?

“He has not touched on this issue. How come? This is why I felt there is a probable abuse of power,” he added.

Yesterday, Rahman, who is currently Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, denied abuse of power in granting an extension of time (EOT) for the construction of condominium projects by BHL Group of Companies.

Rahman claimed that the decision he took was based on the powers clearly given to the housing minister as stated in Act 118 (Housing Development (Control and Licensing) Act 1966).

He said the decision was based on merit and was not influenced by support letters, Rahman added, when responding to Ramasamy, who made the allegations on Thursday.

“In respect of support letters, I can assure the public that all EOT applications are approved based solely on merit,” Rahman said in his statement.

“No support letters can supersede the stringent procedures in approving the EOT applications.

“In fact, support letters have no value in determining the approval. Those letters, at best, are just formalities and pleasantries,” Rahman added.

On March 2, Ramasamy said two police reports were lodged in Penang against Rahman and Faridah Begum KA Abdul Kader, the wife of attorney-general Mohamed Apandi Ali.

The police report was lodged against Faridah after DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang had earlier claimed that Faridah was involved in the matter.

Where is the compensation for the 104 buyers?

Meanwhile, Ramasamy also took Rahman to task for saying that the Penang government has also given extensions to contractors.

Ramasamy said Rahman had made a very fundamental claim, but pointed out that the Sale and Purchase Agreements of those contracts were made between the Penang government and the developers.

If the developer does not complete the projects within 36 months, they are liable to pay compensation to the house buyers, Ramasamy explained.

“In the case of BHL, the minister has intervened as a third party, without offering any compensation to the house buyers, who were the ones who had a bilateral agreement with the developers,” Ramasamy said.

“Rahman has missed the point, we are not a third party,” he added.

He urged Rahman to stick to the point and answer if there was a high profile person who wrote him a letter to appeal for an extension for BHL.

I am asking Dahlan that as minister of housing, he has a high profile in criticising the state, so what kind of minister he is?

“Rahman should not shift responsibilities to others although he is no longer the minister; he made the decision when he was minister in 2015,” Ramasamy said.

“Although the minister said he would appeal the case, the court’s ruling in favour of 104 house buyers is testimony there is probably a misconduct on the part of the minister,” he added.

Here, Ramasamy was referring to Justice Hanipah Farikullah, who allowed a judicial review by 104 affected condominium buyers, saying the minister’s decision to regulate was ultra vires the Housing Development (Control and Licensing) Act.