Kuala lumpur — The long-awaited implementation of the Strata Management Act 2013 (SMA), or Act 757 received a glimmer of hope recently when the Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin stated that the enforcement of SMA is to be made known soon.
The annoucement, which was made at the 69th meeting of the National Council for Local Government (NCLG) chaired by Muhyiddin, is being anticipated by several parties.
Those who have been following the progress of the SMA know that the issue of tabling, amending and waiting for the enforcement has been a long-drawn story without an ending.
The Act, which received its Royal Assent on Feb 5, 2013 and was gazetted on Feb 8, 2013, is yet to be implemented as it is pending finalisation of the governing Strata Management Regulations.
The Housebuyers’ Association (HBA) has, on several occasions, voiced out its dissatisfaction over the delay of the enforcement of the Act.
Chang Kim Loong, secretary-general of HBA, said he cannot understand the inordinate deferral in implementing the SMA.
“It was a victory for us and those who fought for the property owners, but the sweet victory is leading us nowhere. The Act has yet to be enforced,” he said.
Chang said that the Act is supposed to protect the interest of property purchasers, where under the Act, owners of new high-rise units can expect to receive their strata titles upon moving into their property. But until the authorities can get their act together, Act 757 may be just leading nowhere.
“We have repeatedly stated that laws are only as effective as their degree of enforcement. This has been the primary bane of the whole situation. Errant developers, joint management bodies (JMB), management corporations (MC) and managing agents know all too well that the chances of them getting away with their malicious deeds are extremely high. Thus, enforcement is the key to more protection,” he stressed.
HBA stated that the SMA, which was supposed to be implemented by April or May last year, should be enforced against offenders without fear or favour, be they big or small developers, a member of a defiant JMB, MC or even rogue managing agents who fail to protect the interest of the body or corporation they represent and/or exercise due fiduciary duty of care.
Chang said that the Act is an excellent legislation which is comprehensive and forward-looking. It explicitly states the respective roles of developers, JMBs and MCs as well as the obligations of parcel owners.
The legislation was tabled and passed in Parliament on Dec 19, 2012 by former Minister of Urban Well-being, Housing and Local Government Ministry (KPKT), Datuk Wira Chor Chee Heung. The Act heralds the creation, and clearly defines the scope and jurisdiction, of the Strata Management Tribunal.
Chang said that it now rests upon the shoulders of the current minister Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan to announce the implementation of the SMA laws. There have been an unwarranted number of delays in its implementation for several reasons, one of which is the finalisation of the governing regulations.
According to a statement by KPKT, which was released after the NCLG meeting, the enforcement of Act 757 would have a positive impact and significance for millions of residents living in strata-title buildings who make up 30 per cent of the country’s population.
“To ensure their comfort and well-being, the management of the building must attain the high standard set, including through Act 757,” the statement said.
With the enforcement of Act 757, a Strata Management Tribunal would be set up to help resolve problems or disputes among residents and interested parties simply, quickly and economically.
KPKT said that the setting up of the tribunal needs the approval of the state legislative assembly for the appointment of the chairman, deputy chairman, members and staff.
The meeting also agreed that the enforcement of the Strata Management (Maintenance and Management) Regulations would be done at the same time as the enforcement of Act 757.
The NCLG meeting also unanimously agreed on applying the Malaysian Private Entities Reporting Standards (MPERS) as a foundation for the financial preparations of the Strata Building Management authorities in Peninsular Malaysia and the Federal Territory of Labuan.