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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Malaysian mindsets ~ Is it possible to turn duds into diamonds?

First and foremost, I'd like to apologize to you my respected readers and fellow bloggers for being so caught up in my current responsibility in now being the chairman of a joint management body of the very apartment where we have been living since 2003.

Life has been so hectic for me since shouldering this tremendous burden of managing two blocks of apartment buildings containing 540 units. It all started when we, the residents of these apartments had our apartment units water supply cut off on the 18th of September 2012!

Reason was that the JMB @ Joint Management Body had failed to pay the SYABAS water bills! When I come to think of it, this has happened a couple of times before. 

All these while we had been fooled into believing that the water tanks were being drained and cleaned and I recollect seeing the BOMBA water hoses being used to fill up the water tanks at the ground levels of our apartment block. Now, it dawns upon me that we had been hoodwinked by the culprits who were mismanaging our residential apartments.

Anyway, to cut straight to the matter at hand, we the residents had enough of the CBT and decided to hold an EGM voting out those who had been letting our apartments go to ruin.

All of the JMB's funds have been siphoned dry and huge debts had been accumulated over the years since these chaps took over. Contractors and service providers were lining up to demand that the monies owed to them was paid no matter who it is running the JMB!

I for one on behalf of our JMB sought the advice of an established lawyer and was so relieved to learn that we who are now managing these apartments are not liable or responsible for the debts of those who were robbing us blind before this.

I knew beforehand that we as the new management of these apartments couldn't be held answerable for the debts incurred by those before us? It is ridiculous to ask us to pay the debts of others when it was not us who signed the contract with those service providers in the first place! 

One does not need to be a lawyer to know this. It's common logic. Those contractors were cronies of the fella who had been mismanaging our place and the contracts awarded were mostly over the allocated monthly budget! 

So, it is natural for them to be pissed as they can't have it their way anymore as I and the new JMB Committee are slowly but surely changing the way things have been to what it should be.

Yesterday, three of them awaited me as I entered the management office and demanded to know why there was uncollected rubbish since I had told the illegally employed cleaners that I had no intention of retaining the services of the cleaning enterprise which had been overcharging the previous JMB exorbitantly to the tune of RM3450 over the allocated monthly management budget!

The allocated monthly budget for the cleaning services of our apartments is only RM5250.00 but the cleaning service had been enjoying a monthly contract of RM8700.00!!!

Frankly speaking, it all smells fishy and as the new management, we decided that enough is enough. We can't be bothered about those who had been robbing us blind all these while and we just have to go about cutting costs if we are to bring these apartments around financially, physically and regain our apartment's prestige!

Whether we realize it or not, each and every dwelling has its own prestige and distinction. If we had just minded our own business as what we had done since 2003, then these apartments would really turn into a squatter colony!

The apartments where we live has a swimming pool but there's been no enforcement of House Rules since way back then and you would grimace and turn your head away with disgust if you are to witness the horrendous way some of the folks misuse and abuse the pool!

Most of them do not wear the appropriate swimming attire and enter the pool as they damn well please! No swimming caps are being worn by most of the girls and grown up women. As a result, you'd witness the female swimmers having their long hair floating about like those belonging to the banshees one sees featured in the scary movies!

It's a nightmare for the swimming pool contractor as loose hair from the ones not wearing their swimming caps eventually ends up at the suction areas of the pool's water filters and clogs it up! Who'd end up paying for such repairs? The JMB! Who else???

I can't for the life of me figure out why this mindset seems to be the chosen one adopted by most of these folks who simply do not give a damn or bother about the common rules and regulations that governs the usage of a common swimming pool?

The difference between residents who stay in condominiums, apartments and squatter colonies is the attitude of its residents. Those who know how to use each facility appropriately and conform to the accepted standards and those who don't give a rat's ass to all such regulations is so glaring that it hurts!

As the new Chairman of the JMB, I have no choice but to slowly and surely change the way things are here in our apartments. Rules and regulations are starting to be enforced and these changes are causing those who had been having it their way all these while some pain in their butt and in their corrupted minds!!!

Talk about trying to turn duds into diamonds!!!

This is the challenge I and our JMB Committee have before us right now!

Update:

As of the 20th of November, 2012 following a meeting which the DBKL's Commissioner of Building ruled that since the former JMB didn't sign any letter of resignation and just did so verbally, they still are the valid JMB.

The COB Asst Director said that although the COB appreciates me and our Joint Action Committee for all the good work we have done since taking over, the fact remains that these chaps didn't tender in their resignation letters to the COB and are still recognized as the JMB of our apartments by the COB. Regardless of all the evidences I brought to the meeting showing proof of the malpractices by the management committee before us.

As I am not an owner myself - being a proxy of my spouse whose name appears as the owner of the apartment we live in, I am thus not eligible to head the JMB or even be in the committee, I had to return control of the management back to those guys no matter that they didn't hold the AGM since 2009 or had shown us the accounts for all those years!

We managed to successfully pay RM25000 in cash to SYABAS from the funds which we collected during our interim management of the apartments. 

We successfully engaged a reliable roofing contractor and repaired the leaking roofs of two apartment units in our block.

We reduced the costs of engaging the cleaning service contractor by hiring a new one for RM5100 per month, effectively reducing the monthly service contract which was RM8700 per month with the previous contractor.

We employed our own security guards whereby we managed to not shoulder the monthly RM17000 over contract that they signed with the security company and thus avoiding unnecessary expenditure which the JMB had to pay each month!

Its not like we are so hard up in running the place but because we had no choice but to do so in order to avoid any further repetition of the SYABAS water cuts which affected us terribly those 3 days in September.

With the greatest of relief, I gladly returned such control of the management to them and have no regrets but just an ardent wish that they will live up to their promises to correct the situation here at our apartments.

No matter what, the truth will always prevail. If not here during our sojourn on Earth now, then in the Hereafter where Allahu Rabbul Alamin will judge us as to our deeds and what we have done so far?

Insya Allah.

As Allah is our Witness, we who did what we had done did so purely for the sake of looking out for our rights and out of necessity! It was truly not what we desired or were after for it was like trying to stop the Titanic from sinking for the obvious reasons.

No matter what these chaps will try to pin on us, our hearts and minds plus our conscience is clear for we did what any other rational person would do. Stop the rot and try to salvage what we can and we did!

The COB ruled for an AGM to be held at the end of this month ~ 29th December. Hopefully a better committee will be elected to take charge and return our apartments to what it should be.

Insya Allah.
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