By Roznah Abdul Jabbar
KUALA LUMPUR — It is certainlyon the cards and it is in the process of becoming a reality, says Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government (KPKT) Minister Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan.
The practice of building management has thus far been under the thumb of the Board of Valuers and Estate Agents (BVAEA), a body that operates under the Ministry of Finance. However, under the new Strata Management Act (SMA) that was gazetted in 2013 and enforced in July 2015, building managers could have a board of their own under the purview of KPKT.
BVAEA’s authority over building managers has been a contentious issue since the tabling of the Strata Management Bill in 2009, which stipulated that all building managers should register with the Board to be licensed to carry out their duties. Among the problems that arose from this move was the immediate disentitlement of many individuals engaged in the practice because they did not have qualifications that were recognised by the Board.
In addition to heated arguments about the “appropriate” qualifications necessary to carry out building management, many also opposed the monopoly a certain set of professionals would have over the building management activities and the rise in cost for unit owners because of higher professional fees.
Being one of the most complicated sectors of the property industry, some measure of reprieve has now been offered in the form of Strata Management Act 2013 or Act 757. With it comes the prospect of a Board of Building Managers (BBM), which KPKT says it is “in the process of setting up”.
The announcement was made by the KPKT minister himself last week, at a seminar entitled “Strata Management – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” held at Wisma Rehda in Petaling Jaya, Selangor.
Responding to an appeal by the president of the Building Management Association of Malaysia (BMAM), Tan Sri Datuk Eddy Chen, Rahman said: Self-rule for building managers?
“I have thought of it and I have been talking to BMAM on this matter, and we are looking at the entities involved for the formation of the BBM.”
He went on to say that the formation of the BBM is “one of the challenges in the industry” that his ministry has to overcome, but it is indeed “in the process” of doing so.
Rahman also said that KPKT has decided to allow building managers to register themselves with the
Commissioner of Buildings (COB) in the interim period while waiting for the establishment of the board.
“We don’t want building managers to go around without any legitimacy, so temporarily, while KPKT is sorting out the formation, they can register with COB,” he said, adding that he hopes for cooperation from the Ministry of Finance.
Commenting on the SMA, Rahman believes that it will bring some much needed good things to the industry.
“It took us a long time for the Act [to pass] in the Parliament. I hope more good things will come out of it than the bad and ugly,” he said referencing the tagline of the seminar.
At present, there are 15,000 strata building development schemes in Peninsular Malaysia alone, which account for approximately 30% of the country’s urban population.
Rahman said this rapid development requires proper laws and regulations in place for building maintenance and management. Therefore, in the interest of strata building residents, KPKT has
repealed the now obsolete Act 663 or Building and Common Property (Maintenance and Management) Act 2007 and enacted SMA.
“With this newly implemented act, Malaysia’s property industry now has the proper governing laws in place,” he said. Rahman added that the Strata Management Tribunal (SMT) has also been set up and implemented following the enforcement of the SMA.
He said that this tribunal should be seen as an alternative platform that is simple, affordable and quick in solving problems and addressing complaints and stakeholders no longer have to go through the court process which is often tedious and costly.
Beyond that, KPKT is working closely with COBs under various local authorities across the country
to manage and solve the complaints brought forward to the government, both local and federal.
Chen said that despite BMAM’s effort to uplift the proficiency and status of building and property managers, the challenge remains in sustaining an orderly and well-regulated sector. This is why it has consistently urged KPKT to set up the board, so that proper statutory standards and operations can be streamlined to provide consistent quality services that strata property owners deserve.
“A dedicated board will give a renewed impetus to an industry that is set to grow exponentially,” he said.