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Thread: Let Select Committee hear public views

  1. #1
    DrMinority Guest

    Default Let Select Committee hear public views

    Let Select Committee hear public views

    The Straits Times (Singapore)

    May 26, 2007 Saturday
    Straits Times Forum
    Shriniwas Rai

    THE editorial on collective property sales ('Cooling the en-bloc frenzy'; ST, May 24) has prompted me to comment on the issue. That the issue has merited your comments speaks for itself. The editorial has put the picture in perspective. It has summarised the matter judiciously.

    The Strata Title law is important legislation and as such, it should be sent to a Select Committee so the public can give its view.

    Granted that the Government has asked for feedback. That is not sufficient. When the law was amended in 1999, the Bill was referred to the Select Committee. The Select Committee received submissions from wide sections of the public. Representations were made from academia, professional bodies and members of the public.

    Some of the presenters were invited to attend the Select Committee's hearing. The public gave valuable input. The Select Committee submitted its report to Parliament. The Bill was amended by the House, incorporating some of the proposals made by the public.

    Similarly, in view of the public interest in collective sales, as can be seen in recent press reports, it would be worthwhile for the Bill to be sent to the Select Committee.

    I know the process is time-consuming but such important legislation should be referred to a Select Committee. I urge MPs to ask the House to send the Bill to the Select Committee.

    Finally, I would like to share my experience as a former member of the Strata Titles Board. The board has adopted a mediatory approach in reaching settlement of many a thorny dispute. Its efforts are laudable.

    The Government should reward members of the board with an extra honorarium. Most members are busy professionals. It is unfair to ask them to sacrifice their time, sometimes for days.

  2. #2
    DrMinority Guest

    Default Gazette en bloc law as soon as possible to prevent further anarchy

    Gazette en bloc law as soon as possible to prevent further anarchy

    The Straits Times (Singapore)

    May 29, 2007 Tuesday

    I FIND it strange that former MP Shriniwas Rai had suggested that MPs should ask for another Select Committee to review the findings of the recently concluded Ministry of Law's Public Consultation for en bloc legislation, 'Let Select Committee hear public views' (ST, May 26).

    In 1998/1999, Mr Shriniwas Rai spoke in support of this law when he was a Nominated MP and the present law came into being only after going through a time-consuming Select Committee process.

    Nonetheless, we ended up with the present law that has facilitated outright exploitation and unscrupulous behaviour. Justice delayed is justice denied.

    I would urge the Ministry of Law to expedite the review of the present law and gazette it as soon as possible to prevent further anarchy.


    (a) How anarchy has finally hit Singapore in the way sales committees are formed in en bloc sales, culminating in the latest fiasco of Watten Estate having two sales committees, each with its own marketing agent and lawyer.

    (b) How hundreds of dollars are being 'short-changed' in the distribution of collective sales proceeds which is to the obvious detriment of owners of large units. The large units may be double the size of the smaller units because prior to April 2005, the share value bandwidths are in intervals of 100 sq m (since reduced to 50 sq m). This meant that a unit of 101 sq m has the same share value as another unit of 199 sq m (double the size).

    Also, the unit-size composition of most estates is such that there are only a few large units/penthouses in each condo and hence this group's vote is skewed even before voting begins.

    As share values determine the voting power and is usually factored in the distribution formula, the self-appointed unregulated Sales Committee and the Majority Small-Unit Owners fully exploit the laxity of the present law by deciding on a distribution formula such that the big-unit owners are getting either the same amount of sales proceeds or a mere 15-20 per cent more even though the unit sizes vary significantly.

    As Singaporeans can bash each other up over a Hello Kitty toy or a few dollars of petrol discount, what wouldn't they do for an outright short-change running into possibly six figures?

    Tan Meng Lee (Ms)

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