TAIPING: Four houseowners who were supposed to have their homes auctioned on Monday had a last-minute reprieve, thanks to none other than the bidders to their houses.
The potential buyers at the Taiping High Court auction house refused to bid for the properties of Jonathan Ng and a group of house owners who are victims of a procedural breach in the Banking and Financial Institutions Act and the National Land Code.
Prior to the start of the auction, Ng and the other victims including Wong Chun Mun, Megat Azmi and couple Ng Siew Imm and Lee Chek Chuan pleaded to the other bidders to not purchase their properties.
It was a heart-wrenching scene when Ng's mother, Susan Cheong, broke into tears telling everyone that they have lived in their homes for 10 years and had fallen victim to an alleged cheating scheme.
"We were cheated of our homes. We have paid fully. But they're trying to take our homes away! Please! Don't buy our house, we don't have a place to stay!" begged a tearful Cheong.
Another victim, Megat Azmi, also appealed for compassion, showing a picture of his sick baby, saying that he has not slept well for a month trying to raise funds for his house.
"Please, please... I just want my house back... Please... please don't fight with me when I start bidding," said Megat Azmi, who finally caved in to the demands of debt collection agency Gale Force Sdn Bhd by repurchasing his home.
The bidders not only showed solidarity in not bidding for any of the Taman Suria Permai, Taiping houses that came up on the block but even tried to discourage Megat and Lee and Siew Imm from repurchasing their homes.
They informed Lee that they are not interested in his home and will not contest but the couple went ahead, saying they just wanted to get on with their lives.
"How long can we suffer? This time around we are lucky no one wanted to contest against us when we began our bid.
We paid RM108,000 again, yes, but how many times must we go through this kind of pain? We don't want to go through this again," said Siew Imm.
Megat on the other hand said that he would have fought on if only his baby was not ill.
"I have a family. I can't do this anymore. I didn't sleep well for a month and I am here with my group. I don't want to leave my group but I have to think of my baby! I had to find ways to raise money again to repurchase my home!" said a tearful Megat whose bid for his own home cost him an extra RM162,000.
On Aug 21, fz.com reported that at least six individuals might lose their homes due to procedural breaches in banking and land laws.
Ng had fully paid for his house to the developer KS Properties Sdn Bhd via his lawyer, the late Tan Hooi Meng, 45, who was found dead in Taiping last year under mysterious circumstances. Now, the title is being held by the court.
The other five victims had also fully settled payment for their properties.
The developer, Koi Kim Seng, owner of KS Property Sdn Bhd also died under mysterious circumstances in 2008.
His death was the catalyst that caused problems to the victims in Taman Suria Permai.
Malayan Banking Bhd sold Koi's non-performing loan to foreign-owned debt collection agency Gale Force Sdn Bhd, which set aside the six properties to be auctioned.
The transaction was considered illegal as Ng's lawyer, Jennifer Thomas, had previously pointed out that Maybank did not receive the consent of the houseowners (victims), the Perak state authority or the finance ministry.
A bidder who owns a realtor company told fz.com that he "pities" them.
"This is not the first time I've seen them here. I know their case and normally, when it's them, the realtors get together and try to inform the other bidders not to purchase their houses. It's wrong. Thank God they managed to retain their homes again," he said.
For more stories, go to www.fz.com, the website for freedom of expression and fairness in articulation.
This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on August 29, 2013.
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