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Forum shows residents' frustrations
16/07/08 The Star By Jade Chan

THE long Q&A session at the forum entitled Building and Common Property (Maintenance and Management) Act 2007 – Act 663 highlighted just how frustrated residents were with problems related to the Act.

The forum was organised by Bukit Lanjan assemblyman Elizabeth Wong’s office in collaboration with Subang MP R. Sivarasa.

Good turnout: A section of the crowd who attnded the forum. Seen here are Fernandez (second from left) and Wong (left).

It was aimed at educating residents about their rights, roles and responsibilities and help them understand the formation of Act 663, and facilitate the formation of a joint management body.

The speakers comprised Petaling Jaya City Councillors Derek Fernandez and K.W. Mak, and National House Buyers Association honorary secretary-general Chang Kim Loong.

Fernandez spoke on the formation of Act 663 and presented suggestions on how to address several issues, while Mak cited issues on condominium properties based on case studies with the Petaling Jaya Municipal Council (MBPJ) and residents.

Chang outlined the roles and functions of the Joint Management Body (JMB) and Commissioner of Buildings (COB), and provided tips on forming a JMB.

Selangor Housing, Building Management and Squatters committee chairman Iskandar Abdul Samad later joined Wong and the speakers during the Q&A session.

Iskandar said there were plans to streamline the Act’s process and urged residents to contact the Selangor Housing Board if necessary, as the board was willing to mitigate and solve their problems.

Fernandez explained that Act 663 was put in as an interim between the issuance of vacant possession and formation of Management Corporation under the Strata Titles Act, so that residents would have the right to the management aspects of running a common property with the developer.

“However, no laws will be able to help in resolving the predicament faced by residents who own buildings that are under the Strata Titles Act, because the COB does not have sufficient resources to carry out this difficult task,” he said.

“Some of the COB’s present duties have been assigned to the presidents and mayors of local councils and none of whom have enough time, ability or resources to get to the problem.”

Fernandez proceeded to list some of the common problems.

“First of all, the handing over of money and accounts from the developer to the JMB. There have been many cases where developers aren’t able to explain or justify the amount of money being handed over.

“The second problem is dealing with people who don’t pay maintenance charges and the enforcement of the laws against them.

“Thirdly, there’s the lack of cooperation in terms of the commissioner being unable to take control of the situation and issue the relevant directives because they’re ill-staffed,” said Fernandez.

Hence he is suggesting something revolutionary – that the COB be a separate department that is fully funded by the government with its own enforcement division with sufficient resources.

“You need to be mindful of the fact that you need to appoint professionals or people who are great leaders, because they will have to resolve disputes between residents and the developer.

“In the interim, before the government sets up this organisation, we have to look at appointing one or two councillors to carry out Building Commission functions.

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