Fund mismanagement and non-payment of dues among top complaints

PENANG Island City Council (MBPP) received more than 1,000 complaints from occupants of high-rise buildings last year and about 40% of these complaints alleged the mismanagement of funds.

MBPP mayor Datuk Yew Tung Seang said the council viewed such malpractices and mismanagement seriously and would not hesitate to use powers within its purview to take action against management bodies found to have committed such misdeeds.

“Unit owners in high-rises who pay their maintenance fees to joint management bodies (JMB) or management corporations (MC) expect their money to be put to good use for the upkeep of facilities.

“Thus, management bodies must act professionally in handling funds collected from unit owners, ” said Yew after opening the Strata Management Webinar 2021 at City Hall in Esplanade yesterday.

Under Strata Management Act 2013, the Commissioner of Buildings (COB) is a body within city or municipal councils responsible for overseeing, administrating and enforcing the duties and obligations laid out in the Act for JMB or MC.

Yew, who is the COB for Penang island said his office has the right to investigate potential breaches of JMB and MC.

If such breaches are found to be committed, it can penalise those responsible.

On the issue of non-payment of maintenance fees, MBPP’s COB director Nik Ariff Long said there were several cases in which action could be taken against unit owners, but these were hampered by the movement control order (MCO).

Last July, MBPP served warrants for the first time against two condominium unit owners for failing to pay their maintenance fees.

Several items of moveable property in the units were seized and auctioned off to cover the owed fees.

The warrants were served through the COB on the owners for arrears amounting to RM9,802.60 and RM12,347.87, in accordance with Section 35 of Strata management Act 2013 (Act 757).

“Seizure of property is only the last resort. Ample time is given to unit owners to settle their dues or the dispute can be referred to a tribunal for arbitration, ” said Nik Ariff.

“The warrants of seizure in the Batu Ferringhi cases clearly show that unit owners of high-rise buildings should be diligent in paying maintenance fees or they will be held accountable, ” he stressed.

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