An owner holds up two proxy forms that were rejected by the Pantai Panorama Condominium Management Corporation, which barred the proxy holders from attending its annual general meeting on Labour Day.
KUALA LUMPUR: It is not against the law, but is it against the spirit of the law?
|The 13-year-old Pantai Panorama has 708 units with an occupancy rate of over 90 per cent.
While the Strata Titles Act allows owners of land titles to appoint proxies to look after their interests, it does not limit the number of proxy votes a person may hold.
The part of the act which deals with proxies was, ostensibly, created to protect the rights of title owners unable to attend meetings regarding their property.
But the fact that it does not limit the number of proxy votes a person can hold may have been exploited by some with their own agendas.
This is what the residents of Pantai Panorama in Bangsar allegedly faced at the management committee's recent annual general meeting. And, they claim it was not the first time.
The residents said over the past two years, their rights and wishes had been disregarded because of some who held proxy votes for multiple unit owners.
In fact, one man, a real estate agent, held 51 proxy votes.
The residents claimed it was futile for them to table any resolution at the AGM because of the individuals holding a high number of proxy votes.
"The act of 'bulldozing' through proxy votes negates any proposal put forward to improve conditions at the condominium complex," said condominium unit owner S. Nirmal, 57, who has lived at Pantai Panorama for 13 years.
"Most of us obtained our strata titles some four years ago. We were then allowed to elect a management committee to safeguard out interests.
"This turned out only to be a fallacy as certain individuals were allowed to vote in proposals as proxies for unit owners. And due to the amount of proxies held by an individual, other owners have no say on the way the complex is run.
"At the last AGM held on Labour Day, there were 44 registered owners and one person holding 51 proxies.
"The resolutions tabled were simply accepted based on the votes lodged by the proxy holder which outnumbered the rest," he said.
Nirmal said he believed the person had solicited proxy rights from owners who had purchased the units for investment purposes and who do not know of the issues faced by those living here.
"We feel that this is unfair although legal under the Strata Titles Act, 1985 [Act 318] as the act does not stipulate how many proxies a person can hold. This has resulted in abuse of power."
Another owner, who only wanted to be known as Steve, said of the AGM: "It was a waste of time for us to even air our mutual concern to make our homes a better place to live."
He said one of the resolutions put forward by the management committee, pertaining to the painting of five blocks and two buildings for RM1.25 million, was passed because the man with 51 proxy votes chose to support it.
Steve claimed other residents had obtained quotes for the work to be done for under RM900,000, but these were not taken into consideration because the man with the proxy votes had the majority.
It is understood a complaint on the matter has been lodged with the Commissioner of Buildings (COB), which comes under City Hall.
It was learnt from the owners that although the COB sympathises with them, its stand was to follow what was stipulated under the act.
A spokesman from the COB stated that the act does not clearly define the number of proxies allowed to any one person.
Owner Raylene Wong (not her real name) said the committee had not acted in a professional manner.
She was baffled to find that there were two cases where proxies were not accepted by the committee as they claimed that the registered owners who had appointed proxies to represent them had no titles to their units.
"This was absurd as the same owners were acknowledged as rightful owners and allowed to attend the previous AGM."
In response to the issue, Pantai Panorama Condominium Management Corporation council member Danny Ng, said: "It's true that some owners are not happy with the situation. From the point of the corporation, we have to abide by the act and regulations set forth by the COB and in this case, our hands are tied."
On the real estate agent holding 51 proxies, Ng said the man manages units for owners who did not live in Pantai Panorama.
"It's only natural for the agent to cast his votes to safeguard the rights of his clients and it would then be unfair to his clients should he do otherwise," he said.
Asked on the RM1.25 million repainting cost, Ng said it was a budget proposed by a professional quantity surveyor based on the "actual scope of work and materials".
He said the figure was passed as an estimated budget allocation and a transparent open tender process would take place where it was possible that less would be spent.
The 13-year-old Pantai Panorama has 708 units, with an occupancy rate of over 90 per cent. Each owner pays RM150 to RM800 per month in maintenance charges depending on the size of the unit.