KUCHING: Bureaucratic and administrative problems were the main cause of delay in the approval of lease extension for Lawas Health Office which led to the accumulation of 30-months arrears and chaining of the office by the landlord.
Assistant Minister of Housing and Public Health Dr Annuar Rapaee however explained that the issue has been settled including compliance with a new condition set by the Department of Lands and Mines.
“The lease for the shoplot, in which the Lawas Health Office is housed, has expired since January 2017. So the Health Department has to reapply for extension of the lease period which according to procedure also required the Bomba (Fire and Rescue Department) to come in and inspect the building before the contract can be renewed and signed,” he clarrified in a press conference at the state assembly today.
While in the process, however, he said another condition set by the Department of Lands and Mines under the federal agency suddenly emerged which stipulated that residential area cannot be used as office.
“This is because the land use of this property (housing the office) is assigned for residential. Previously, there was no such condition. So, they have to apply to Land and Survey (Department) for permission to change the land use from residential to office before the contract can be signed,” he further explained.
Due to all these delays, Dr Annuar said there were 30 months of arrear not paid but fortunately the State Health Department has received approval on June 11 to allow this residential property to be used for office as approved by the Land and Survey Department.
“So there is no more issue and now waiting for payment which has been approved to be issued to the landlord before it is all settled and contract to be signed in a couple of weeks,” he said.
“This issue is purely bureaucracy and administrative although it is not fair for the landlord not to be paid for 30 months. It can be settled earlier if condition was informed from early and there is good communication among officers. This should not arise at all,” he added.
This was also to address the concerns from Ba Kelalan assemblyman Baru Bian who was not present at the state assembly sitting today as highlighted in the question and answer session