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Education the key

06/01/2007 NST


IT is indeed good news that the Housing and Local Government Ministry has at long last brought the Building and Common Property (Maintenance and Management) Bill 2006 to Parliament.


When it is gazetted some time this year, we at the National House Buyers Association (HBA) believe that it will alleviate the constant feuding between individual unit owners, developers and their appointed managing agents.


We believe that the authorities must now put emphasis on education. By this, we mean that they must take steps to make sure all parties concerned understand this new law and the role and duties expected of them.


As we move from the task of "building" to "preserving and maintaining",  it is only right that the regulatory bodies under the Housing Ministry establish training programmes to educate the owners and potential owners about the their rights and responsibilities under the new law.


They must be taught to understand the principles of a strata scheme, what a joint Management Body is; and about the formation, role and functions of a Management Corporation (MC).


They must also be taught to understand how the funds collected for the maintenance of  common property are put to use.


This education process should include opportunities for owners to  have meaningful participation and involvement in the maintenance and management of their strata schemes well in advance of the actual formation of their MCs under the Strata Titles Act.


There should also be a detailed manual to tutor those concerned on the intention and workings of the law. Without it, owners not in the business of property management and development would have a tough time understanding its intricacies.


It is because of this situation that we at the HBA strongly feel a period of time should be set aside for members of the public to learn about the law, and the powers under it, before it is implemented.


During this period, we suggest that the following measures be undertaken:

  • Make copies of the new law available in all the four major languages used in the country - Bahasa Malaysia, English, Mandarin and Tamil. This will enable ordinary people to understand it better.

  • Promote the aims and objectives of the law through the mass media and by way of information phamplets, commercials on TV, and newsletters;

  • Set up a special unit under the ministry and under the local authorities to provide information, services, advice and assistance to building owners, residents, owners' committees, managing agents, developers and management bodies; and

  • Set up a Hotline service, which the people can call in to seek assistance on the various aspects of the law.

Chang Kim Loong


National House Buyers Association


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