Putrajaya (The Star/ANN) - High-rise building owners in Malaysia can expect decisions on housing disputes within two months, once a special tribunal is set up under the Strata Management Bill to be tabled in the parliament today.
Housing and Local Government Minister Chor Chee Heung said the strata management tribunal would have more bite to address the woes of owners who have to put up with problems related to apartment living, such as shoddy maintenance and failure to pay monthly management fees.
Currently, owners of high-rise property can only seek recourse either through the courts or through Commissioner of Buildings (COBs).
The legal recourse can be expensive and long, while COB's powers are limited and there have been cases where parties had refused to comply with its decisions.
There was also the Strata Titles Board which was given six months to settle disputes but it is understood the board ceased operations due to lack of funds.
"With the new tribunal, a decision has to be made within 60 days after the first hearing," Chor said.
It is understood that those who do not comply with the tribunal's decision may be fined up to 250,000 ringgit (US$81,659) or three years' jail or both.
The tribunal, which is expected to be headed by a chairman, could draw its members from those with legal experience.
Owners, developers, joint management bodies and management corporations can file their grouses with the tribunal as long as the amount of claims sought does not exceed 250,000 ringgit.
Proceedings of the tribunal are expected to be open to the public.
Dissatisfied parties could seek redress at the High Court only if there are irregularities regarding the tribunal's decision.