Wednesday, August 6, 2008

How Much Do You Know About Buying A House? Part 1

I am in Muar at the moment, completing my investigation on an unlicensed housing development. This place kind of reminded me of Bau, a small town about 12 km from Kuching city. Slow pace, everybody knows everybody,cheap food, banks/shopping centres are within walking distance... I quite like it here...

During my first trip here, leading a team of enforcement officers doing a raid on an unlicensed housing developer premise, I wasn't enjoying it much as I didn't know the best place to eat, places of interest, and I can't remember hearing anyone associate this town with something of a must buy (like Kuala Terengganu-Batik, Kuching-terubuk masin, KK-pearl) other than Mee Bandung or Mee Rebus or Nasi Beriani Gam... However it was only my last 2 days that I managed to savour cheap and fresh seafood and grilled fish (ikan bakar) at Medan Ikan Bakar Sabak Awor... I fully recommend stall no.8 ... Wak Jos... or no. 10 Wak Man ...

On this trip, I managed to meet one of the unlucky house buyers, who almost lost his life savings of RM 15,000.00 to this developer. We met up for dinner in a stall along Bakri Road, well known for its Mee Bandung. What makes me want to meet this house buyer is that he did a lot of investigations and homeworks before reporting to us and most of the documents which he submitted with his complaints to the Ministry are professionally done. I found out from my investigating officer, Mr M that this man is not of a high qualification.

We discussed about his case and I complimented him on his efforts that help the investigation. Then he told me, if not because of what had happened to him he might not be forced to gather more information about housing and go to the extra miles of locating the land owners, bank, EPF, Ministry, Police Commercial Crime Unit, Land Office and other house buyers.

Well, I do agree with the house buyer. Sometimes many people fall victims to irresponsible developers like this unlicensed developer because they were too trusting. Only when it was too late then they started to realise their mistakes. We should do some homeworks too before making the biggest investment of our life... buying our dream home. At least buyers of abandoned licensed housing projects have better chances of getting their house compared to victims of abandoned unlicensed housing projects like this. Though my heart goes for them but my people hands are full too..

I praise him and a few house buyers whom I know and later befriended that really make a lot of efforts to help and co-operate with the Ministry. I believe there is a saying that goes... "God will help those who help themselves". Like in this case, we manage to get investigation completed fast because the buyer provided us with more than enough evidents to create a prima facie.

I told him contrary to my impression on the government before joining the service, like government officers are lazy, slow... I think any department be it a private company or government agency are the same. There will never be enough staff because the management wouldn't want to incur more overheads.

I explained to him my team not only have to attend to grievances of house buyers, we also have to educate or prosecute developers... and in between we have to provide reports to the top management, Parliment officers and play dumb to politically motivated display and comments by some parties. People like him not only make our day but also brighten our way.My team so far has been co-operating well with some NGOs who are helping consumers like HBA, NCCC, FOMCA and CAP. My aim now is for my team to deliver and get the credit, not the NGOs.

I will share more in my next postings...


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