Tuesday, August 12, 2008

CoB appointments on councils should be full time – by Goh Ban Lee

The SUN Tuesday 12 Aug 2008

Petaling Jaya mayor Datuk Mohamad Roslan Sakimin recently urged that local council presidents and mayors be relieved of the Commissioner of Buildings (CoB) appointment. This was supported by Subang Jaya Municipal Council president Datuk Adnan Md Ikhsan qnd Kajang Municipal Council president Datuk Hassan Nawawi Abd Rahman ( The Star Aug 5,2008 ).

This public appeal was not only rare, but also out of character of local council presidents or mayors. Indeed, some might see this as inappropriate since the appointment of local council chiefs to be CoB was the brain-child of the federal government and implemented by the state governments.

On the contrary, they should be commended for speaking out. Although they are seconded from the civil service, as heads of governments, albeit the lowest tier, they should voice out their opinion if something is not working effectively.

More importantly, their appeal should be considered seriously. The post of CoB is a very recent creation following the enactment of the Building and Common Property ( Maintenance and Management ) Act 2007 (BCPMM Act ) to institute a systematic procedure in the maintenance and management of properties with strata land titles. This is the result of numerous complaints about very poor management, including cheating by property developers which used to manage their projects long after completing them.

CoB is to implement the BCPMM Act and Parts Vl and Vll of the Strata Title Act. This basically involves ensuring that entities that manage strata titled-properties, be they Joint Management Bodies (JMB) or Management Corporations (MC), function according to the law and maintain proper accounts and property owners fulfill their obligations. For instance CoB has authority to institute actions against errant office bearers of JMB and MC and property owners who refuse to pay maintenance fees.

In other words, CoB plays a very important role in the quality of life of millions of people living and working in multi-storied apartments, shopping centers and most gated communities. The interests of the owners of such properties are also involved.

As such, the Ministry of Housing and Local Government should be commended for the enactment of BCPMM Act. However, while there might be legitimate reasons to appoint presidents or mayors of local authorities to be CoB, it is now clear that this is ill advised.
Even though the functions of local authorities have diminished since the last decade or so and about to be reduced further with the implementation of the Solid waste and Public Cleansing Management Act and the Solid Waste and Public Cleansing Corporation Act, there are still a lot on their plates. More significantly, they are still not able to handle

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