Pearl Horizon buyers association complains to Chinese Gov’t of local Gov’t handling of the failed project

The leader of the Pearl Horizon Condominium Owners United Association, Kou Meng Pok, told MNA that the group has sent a letter to the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office of the State Council to complain about the Macau government’s role in the failed development project and its handling of the replacement housing scheme created for the buyers.

The association representative indicated that the association was displeased that the local government did not invite the association for a meeting to discuss the future replacement housing to be provided to buyers in the failed project.

The Macau Urban Renewal Ltd. Chairman of the Board of Directors, Peter Lam Kam Seng, the Legal Affairs Bureau (DSAJ) Director, Liu Dexue, and the Secretary for Administration and Justice Sonia Chan Hoi Fan met on Wednesday with the Replacement Housing Promotion Association – a different Peal Horizon buyers association – to discuss the construction of the new housing units at the old project land plot in Areia Preta.

According to Mr. Kou this news association was created by the Macau government to represent the buyers with Pearl Horizon Condominium Owners United Association was not invited to the meeting, something he described as a “black box operation” by local authorities.

“Why the government did not directly discuss with the Pearl Horizon Condominium Owners United Association? […] If the replacement housing promotion is urban renewal and cover all of Macau, isn’t it appropriate to use [our association] to establish a replacement housing promotion association?” Mr. Gou added.

So far the urban renewal public company has already approved 1,022 requests from Pearl Horizon buyers applying to receive replacement housing, with more 2,000 said to be eligible to take part in the scheme.

However, since only buyers who registered property ownership for the pre-sale units they purchased in the project suspended in 2015 are considered eligible to apply for replacement housing, about 100 buyers were left out of the government scheme, something that led to new protests in July by buyers against the requirement.

In the letter sent to the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office of the State Council the association states that any ‘original owner is a legitimate purchaser and is subject to the private ownership of the Macau Basic Law’. 

‘The Macau SAR government must respect the legal status of all owners. Relying on the original contract and tax bill is the consistent position and desire of all owners.’ 

The association also complained in the letter that the government of Chief Executive Chui Sai On cannot ‘absolve oneself from the blame the whole’ Peal Horizon issue.

‘We beg the central government to intervene and urge the Chui government to solve the problem as soon as possible,’ the letter indicated.

After the land concession for the project expired in December, 2015 local authorities annulled of the site’s provisional land concession in January 2016, with the Pearl Horizon developer Polytex – the local arm of Hong Kong-listed Polytec – suing the government afterward.

The developer had long claimed that delays in the development – which led to the project to exceed the 25-year development period mandated by the current Land Law – was not due to the company but due to the Macau government’s inaction.

In May 2018, the Court of Final Appeal (TUI) eventually upheld the government’s decision to expropriate the developer with procedures to reclaim the 68,000-square metres land plot initiated and the government introducing replacement housing legislation as a solution to complaints from the project’s buyers.

The public company responsible for the new project said previously that it expected to finish the development plans this year but with construction to last for a few years more.

*With Jing Wu