Saturday, March 7, 2009

JMB and your voice...

JMB and Your Voice!
In the past two weeks, I have had to attend to problems between the JMC and the other owners, including even between JMC Chairman and committee members.
There are many instances where the Chairmanship has caused the “craze” of authority to climb to the head of the Chairperson. They seem to be like dictators, managing the committee and the property like the other owners are school kids.
There are instances where the Chairman decides to over-rule whatever decision that has been made at committee meetings, changing contents of the minutes as well as “punishing” committee members and owners for questioning him / her.
All these cannot be allowed to happen – owners must stand-up to these kind of dictatorial and irresponsible management styles. In a few instances, the other committee members choose to resign – which is the wrong thing to do. If they see something wrong, the other committee members should not resign, but instead they should stand-up and put their feet down.
They must be willing to raise the matter with the COB and more importantly, the COB ,must investigate and where necessary, to take action. COB cannot just ignore the matter and pretend it is not there and wait for it to go away!
I have seen instances where both husband and wife are involved in the committee – how can the COB even allow such things to happen. There have been instances where the husband is the chairman and the wife the treasurer and both are signatories to the account. On the other instance, the wife is the Chairman while the husband is the “managing agent” – whose appointment is also questionable. Even if the appointment is properly done – surely the COB must advise them against such a situation. Is there no one else to run the place?
What is more disappointing for me is the fact that committee members and owners are aware of such “compromising situations” and they choose to do nothing. Some even claim that they do not know what their rights are. Surely simple common sense would also tell you that such situations are not right.
Apartment and Condo living is a part and parcel of Malaysian Community. JMB issues are real and will not go away. If we choose to keep quiet and wait for the authority to do something, than I am sorry to say, we deserve whatever problems that come our way.
So please my dear friends, my appeal to you – STAND UP and PROTECT YOUR RIGHTS! Seek answers and solutions instead of just folding your arms and say; “Aiyah, its like that la – what to do!!!!” Lets Change It!


PMPM said...

Yes, another JMB meeting ofb this husband wife team took place on 14th March. Again they break all the rules. First despite of knowing the objections by many committeee members outsiders were again brought in, this time more than the last meeting to show their defiance! To make matters worst a local coucillor was present as invited guest but declared her presence more as a legal advisor and not as a local councillor. Whichever way she did not play an impartial role!! When objections were raised by some committee members of the presence of outsiders in the committee meeting she assist in guiding the chairwoman to move a motion "The chairwoman and the treasurer and the secretary should be given the power to invite outsiders to attend the committee meeting without reference to other committee members". One committee member disagreed that theparties involved in the motion should be allowed to vote as there would be conflict of interest. But the guest lawyer advised the contrary. So when the vote was carried out resulting in a 5-5 draw the Chairwoman quickly announce her casting vote to go for the kill. The lawyer guest confirmed of the correctness of the application of her casting vote rights in the event of a draw. WHAT A MOCKERY!

And again the PA to an MP brought her mum along all more or less personal advisor to the JMB Chairwoman and her husband!! Eveready to pounce on dissenting committee members. Real Jokers.

Yes the law is simply too loose and this sort of situation should never be allowed to happen. Many, so called learned person/peole with connections who are suppose to improve the situation by acting and advising strangely..and thinking they are really smart and doing a favour to the JMB!!

COB should just FORBID clearly interference of outsiders DURING a committee meeting. If any consultation is really necessary then all discussions should be done outside the committee meeting.

Nicholas said...

Yes..from our experience, there are 3 major types of personalities:-
1. Vested interests
2. Hidden agendas
3. Power crazy

There are ways to overcome them:-

a) Force an EGM;
b) Report to CoB/authorities
c) Take legal action.

Remember the committee can be sued for illegal and improper actions. Silence on the part of other committee members can imply consent or agreement which can also lead to all being sued.

PMPM said...

Hi Nicholas,

Your solution to the mentioned problems are quite known to everybody and it only costa lot of energy and money (good for the lawyers) and it keeps hell a lot of people busy for a long time over nothing.

There are just too many grey areas, loop holes in the current acts governing condos and apartments and properties with Strata Titles. The act is only good if the rules and regulations are crystal clear without the neccessity of bringing almost some petty issues to court or interference of third parties.

Right now even in the presence of lawyers/local councillors an owner dare to stand up and question which part of the Strata Title Act or Act 663 forbids owners to be present in a JMC committee meeting.

COBs themselves are not clear of their real duties and rely on "common sense" which again are questionable as everyone has different interpretation of what really is common sense. And not all lawyers are really well versed with the acts, and to worsen the situation try to advise on matters which they themselves are ignorant of and wholly relying on their status as "lawyers" to push their misleading stand through!

So, the STA and Act 663 must be totally revised and be revamped. Otherwise it is really a waste of time when apartment owners an all involved have to refer to laws that are full of loopholes and weaknesses.

Ridzzy said...

Dear Sir,

I live in a condominium which has been stratified.

I wish to know what can I do if the Condo Management committee threatens to disrupt water services for arrears due.
I am currently with holding payment due to some dissatisfaction with the services and has yet to be resolved, yet they have issued a letter for claims of management fees, sinking fund and water bills due.

They have also threatened to cut my water supply if i do not pay in a said period of time.

For your info, My condo has a joint management committee (JMB), and this management has been contracted by the JMB to look into managing the building.

PS - our chairman is also power crazy and behaves like the building belongs to him. So far there has been no transparency of the accounts and also there is a mother & son in the committee.

Pls advice.

Nicholas said...

Sorry to disagree with a few issues.
1. Although Act 663 is imperfect, there are provisions for the authorities to "level" the playing field, as the essence is to protect the rights of purchasers and the public.
2. To call for the revamp or revision of the Act would not be practical.(The Strata Title Act was amended 22 years later and still there are disputes!!) There is no perfect Act: it is up to the authorities and the courts to decide on the proper interpretations.
3. If the owners do not unite to fight injustices, they have only themselves to blame.
4. I have been part of such a "rebel" group challenging my own MC and have successfully removed such "irresponsible" council members with the help of the CoB.
5. The question is - have you got the right facts properly presented to the majority of owners.
6. As for Ridzzy issue, I suggest you make the payment but send a written letter outlining all your grievances. You must be clear on who is actually responsible - Developer-cum-managing agent, property manager or the JMC.
7. The law is quite clear, owners must be responsible for paying their dues.
8. If you feel their actions are questionable, write officially to the JMC, cc to CoB. Remind all JMC members can be sued for negligence or wrongful acts.