Simplified system for better strata management

Rodziah flanked by Dr Juhari (left) and Loh at the launch. — GLENN GUAN/The Star

THE launch of the Selangor Intelligent Strata Property System (SISP) will see the use of an eCOB (Commissioner of Buildings) system by all 12 local councils in Selangor for better strata management and processes.

“eCOB is a system designed for the COB of local councils to assist stakeholders such as joint management body (JMB) and management corporation (MC) in managing, monitoring and rating strata housing schemes,” said Odesi ECOB Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Loh Ken-Ji.

“It is a web-based solution that provides an integrated service online platform to help COBs to digitalise strata information and automate the monitoring processes so that the entire strata management ecosystem can be elevated.

“Besides simplified dashboard reporting, automatic report generation and data management, eCOB’s digital platform also means there will be easy access to reports and data retrieval, thus saving time and cost.

“It also fosters collaboration between the various stakeholders and acts as a channel for quick dissemination of information,” said Loh, adding that the company’s system used a secure cloud-based platform.

eCOB’s other functions include meeting and financial reports submission, complaint filing as well as owner, tenant and committee members’ details submission.

To date, Loh said 11 local councils in Selangor were already using eCOB, with just Shah Alam City Council left to fine-tune its data before coming on board.

“We do regular online training to teach JMBs and MCs how to use the system,” he said.

“We are also offering our Odesi Life app for free to JMBs and MCs as part of SISP.

“It is a one-stop mobile app and web solution that allows for online collection of maintenance fees and sinking funds, visitor management, summoning help during an emergency, book shared facilities and facilitating interaction between residents, committee members and security providers,” he added.

Selangor housing, urban well-being and entrepreneur development committee chairman Rodziah Ismail was the guest of honour at SISP’s launch held at Glenmarie Golf and Country Club, Shah Alam.

She also witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between Odesi ECOB Sdn Bhd and Selangor Housing and Property Board (LPHS) on the eCOB system.

Rodziah pointed out that having some 7,500 strata properties with more than two million housing units in Selangor made it challenging for the state government and local councils to manage, monitor and assess these properties.

“This partnership is timely as the eCOB system will allow the digitalisation of the processes involving COBs, JMBs and MCs,” she said.

“This will hopefully make the management more organised, starting with the financial system.”

While the MOU was for a one-year period, Rodziah said there was a possibility for renewal in future and adoption of other solutions developed by Odesi ECOB on property management and energy savings.

“In the early stages of developing the Selangor apartment financial reporting system, LPHS identified three components to create an efficient management body,” said LPHS executive director Datuk Dr Juhari Ahmad.

“Firstly, effective management of monthly maintenance fee collection.

“Secondly, implementing a balanced expenditure from the collection of charges from property owners.

“Thirdly, controlling vandalism incidents that are the cause of cost leaks and inadequate revenue.”

With the eCOB system, he said JMBs and MCs would be trained to manage financial reporting more systematically.

He added that COBs at local councils could monitor financial reports of strata properties under their purview, while LPHS could accurately report on the strata properties’ maintenance charge collection throughout Selangor.

“It will also help LPHS make analysis reports in determining the right kind of aid for deserving strata properties in Selangor.

“For example, there is a Skim Ceria (Bright Scheme) to facilitate repairs for JMBs and MCs that don’t have the financial capacity for such huge repairs.

“By using eCOB, we would be able to evaluate the impact of each aid given through financial reports and collection performance, whether the aid came from the state or Federal Government,” said Juhari.

Rodziah said Selangor government welcomed solutions that offer empowerment and guidance to JMB and MC to allow them to function sustainably.

“It could be some form of green technology that offered cost-saving benefits, so they would not have to just focus on monetary collection (to run the apartment blocks).

“Having such solutions will ultimately empower the people as Selangor works towards being a Smart State by 2025,” she said.Feedback from stakeholders

“Our office started using the eCOB system in July this year due to the lockdown and movement restrictions,” said Maxwell Towers Condominium MC manager Thilen Murugeasan.

“So far, eCOB is user-friendly and easy to understand; it is similar to online banking or using a mobile app.

“The system seems secure, as our condominium is assigned a specific user ID and password.

“As I was unable to attend the online training at that time, I had to learn how to use eCOB using a manual sent by email. But it wasn’t difficult and I could contact Odesi ECOB for guidance or clarification.”

While the submission of monthly reports and other documents was done via eCOB, Thilen has also visited Petaling Jaya City Council’s (MBPJ) COB office to get the same documents stamped.

“It was a personal effort to ensure the documents were really received by MBPJ’s COB.

“This could be one area where eCOB could improve on, that MBPJ’s COB acknowledges receiving documents that were submitted or if there was something missing or incomplete.

“I prefer having both eCOB and manual systems run concurrently. The manual system can serve as back-up or in case there are Internet connection problems,” he added.

Lafite Apartments MC chairperson Theresa Ratnam Thong said her MC had yet to be advised or informed by Subang Jaya City Council (MBSJ) on the eCOB system.

“I hope MBSJ’s COB won’t rush the use of the eCOB system but instead set a timeline for its implementation,” she said.

“MCs and JMBs will need some time to learn and familiarise with the new system.

“We also need to ensure staff at the MC/JMB office and committee members are tech-savvy to understand how eCOB works.”

Theresa expressed concern about the need for the eCOB system to be user-friendly yet fully secure to prevent any data breach.

“MBSJ has not informed us about eCOB or any new system yet,” said a Subang Jaya condominium MC representative who declined to be named.

“If such a system were to be implemented, I would appreciate it as long as there was proper briefing and training carried out to ensure MCs and JMBs understand how to use it.

“If eCOB functions well, having the online system will make it easier.”

The representative is especially keen on MBSJ’s COB improving its relationship with MCs and JMBs with regular communication and engagement.

“We need to know who’s who at MBSJ’s COB, so we know the right person to channel our concerns to,” he said.

“Our MC has fulfilled all that is required on our part, such as annual audit and management report submissions.

“Our committee is willing to learn new technology (such as eCOB) for a smoother workflow,” he added.

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