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Saturday, November 20, 2010

Association calls for level playing field in property management

PROPERTY management practitioners want an open market and level playing field where the profession will be regarded as an open occupation based on competency, expertise and experience and not by mere legislation or purely by qualification.

According to Building Management Association of Malaysia (BMAM) president Datuk Teo Chiang Kok, if the proposed Bill to amend the Valuers, Appraisers and Estate Agents Act 1981 (VAEA) into the Valuers, Appraisers and Estate Agents (Amendment) Bill 2010 Act and changes pertaining to property management are to be passed, it will create an absolute exclusivity and monopoly for valuers to be the only ones allowed to undertake property management. Entrepreneurs who are now operating as managing agents will all have to wind up their businesses or become employees of valuers.

The two embedded clauses on property management in the proposed Bill will cast the net so wide to include facilities management, building maintenance management, building facilities management, building management and managing agents, he says.

Stressing that legislation compelling and restricting property owners to only appoint valuers to manage their properties has never been imposed anywhere in the world, Teo says property management is fundamentally a general management function like marketing management, sales management and operations management.

It should be an open occupation based on competency, expertise and experience and not by mere legislation or purely by qualifications. Owners either individually, or via company holdings or collectively as in sub-divided buildings, must have the inherent and indivisible rights and freedom to choose whomever they have confidence in to manage, operate, maintain, preserve and enhance their investments in their properties.

Their skills have been honed and recognised by property owners. Many have been head-hunted and gone on to work in neighbouring countries including China, Singapore and Indonesia. Some may migrate and contribute to the country's brain drain, Teo says.

He says that although 95% of the 20 clauses in the Bill to amend the Act covers mostly housekeeping matters, the two clauses are worrisome for BMAM members with regard to their future livelihood.

BMAM has no problem with 95% of the housekeeping clauses but we are opposed to the two clauses that will make property management the exclusive domain of valuers.

An open and competitive environment will ensure best practices and will be the most efficient and best value for property owners and consumers. Valuers must be confident to compete on an equal footing and level playing field. Owners must have the unfettered rights and freedom to choose and engage the best and deserving in a competitive environment, he points out.

BMAM is organising a roadshow and forum to raise awareness on the role and importance of property management, starting with Penang today.

Registered in November last year, the principal members of the BMAM are Real Estate and Housing Developers Association of Malaysia (Rehda), Institution of Engineers Malaysia, Malaysia Institute of Architects, Malaysia Association for Shopping and High-rise Complex Management, Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry Malaysia, Malaysian Institute of Estate Agents, joint management bodies, management corporations and managing agents.

Stressing that the association is not against valuers performing in property management, Teo says the members are totally against the exclusivity and monopoly to be created solely for valuers.

Our main basis of objection is that property management is a multi-disciplinary occupation and valuers are not the only persons competent and qualified to perform property management. Property management partnerships and entities should be open to all disciplines without limitations that only valuers must be the controlling partners or shareholders.

Being a multi-disciplinary management function, he says property management encompasses a wide range of activities from operations, leasing, maintenance, credit control, safety and security to engineering.

Teo points out that different types of buildings require different emphasis of property management skills.

The demands and skills required for a shopping centre are very different from a medium-cost condominium. No one profession can fulfil all the needs of property management. Allowing free competition will promote greater competency and efficiency in the industry, he says.

By The Star (by Angie Ng)

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