Monday, October 02, 2006
posted by PabloPabla at 11:19 am

Gated-Communities. Condominiums and Apartments with facilities. Secured environment. Swimming pools. Lush gardens. Gymnasiums. Life-style living. All these words shout out from advertisements in newspapers, magazines and even in radio and television to get one's attention to the latest housing projects in Malaysia especially in the bigger cities like Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya as well as Penang and Johor Bahru. With the increase in crime rate, many housebuyers are opting for housing projects which offer security in the form of security guards and even, closed-circuit television monitoring systems.

With all such facilities that are being promised and having spent hundreds of thousands of ringgit (or even a couple of million), some housebuyers / residents are greeted with nightmares instead. Security is lax. Littering and graffitis aplenty. Management companies are blamed. Residents are blamed.

But really, are we Malaysians actually ready for communal living? Let me share my personal experience.

I bought a medium cost apartment back in 2001 which comes with simple facilities like a gymnasium, swimming pool, common room (for functions) and intercom system. Of course, security guards as engaged to provide security for the apartment. Having enquired on the estimated Management Fee which will be imposed once I move in, I signed the Sale & Purchase Agreement as well as the Deed of Mutual Covenants. My wife and I waited for 3 years with full anticipation. It is our very first home.

We got our keys in 2004 and quickly moved in. We paid our Management Fee promptly and stuck by the House Rules. But then we realised that many were not following the House Rules. Cars were parked indiscriminately. Some residents parked at my car park lot which was allocated to me as per the Sale & Purchase Agreement. Some residents park their second cars in the Visitor's Bay and hoodwinked the security guards that they are visitors. Some residents start displaying "For Sale / To Let" signs outside their balconies or windows though the House Rules strictly prohibits it. Some residents hang their carpets / blankets / towels over the balconies to display their laundry for all to see. Some residents throw their kitchen waste in the trash bins (which is meant for cigarettes and stuffs like sweet wrappers) placed at lift landings as they probably deem it too much of a trouble to walk to the rubbish bins on the ground floor. Some residents like to swim in their full attire - jeans and t-shirts included.

Things were seriously not as rosy as what the phamplets depicted. It is beginning to become a nightmare and the threat of the property losing its value seems real indeed. At the instance of a few like-minded residents, a Resident's Meeting was called after notices were put up at the Notice Boards. Less than 50 turned up and much noise was made. A Resident's Committee was set up. I was appointed the Secretary.

Having had a few meetings with the Management Office, I realised that some Malaysians are just not ready for communal living. I found out recently that one of the biggest culprit is our very own Resident's Committee Chairman who has not been paying his Management Fee for 2 years ever since he moved in!!! Another committee member has not been paying his water bill for about a year whilst another is fond of parking at someone else's car park which is covered as his allocated car park is uncovered.

Various excuses are given :-

You cannot expect Muslims to wear swimsuit to swim in the swimming pool as that will be "mendedahkan aurat". Haven't they heard of the full body swimsuits? Do they not realise that when they and other users of the pool who are wrongly attired cause the colours from their clothings to leach in the pool and thus, contaminate the pool and that they might be drinking the colouring from their clothes??

I paid the Management Fee. What is wrong with me throwing my rubbish (which includes fish bones and what nots) in the trash bins? The cleaners have to do their job anyway. Hello! You might as well ask the cleaners to clean your homes since you paid your precious Management Fees. Why don't you just place the rubbish outside your door and wait for the cleaners to take them away? Is it so smelly that you have to put them at the trash bins at the lift landings so that other residents and visitors can see what you had for dinner last night?

My carpark is uncovered. My carpark is too far. Nobody is using this carpark lot. Yeah, you might as well move into someone else's apartment which is nicer or nearer or unoccupied. Read your Sale & Purchase Agreement and you will see your allocated car park lot clearly designated. By using someone else's car park lot, you are trespassing. Just like an illegal squatter. You are no different from them.

This is my apartment. I can do what I want with it including hanging my laundry and advertisement the way I want. Do you read the House Rules? The drying area in the yard is specifically for drying your laundry and the Notice Board at the ground floor lobby is for advertisements. I do not pay thousands of ringgit to see your laundry and I do not see the practicality of having a teeny-weeny advertisement board placed on the high floors where people from the ground floor can't even read the telephone numbers in display.

I don't stay there. I don't use the gymnasium. I don't swim. Why should I pay the Maintenance Fees? Wah! This one really caps the tolerance limit. If that is the case, please at least pay up for the security rendered for your unit. Don't forget the cleaner's charges for sweeping the corridor outside your door as well as your car park lot.

The Maintenance Fee is too expensive. My friend's apartment only charge so much lesser. First of all, you should blame yourself for not asking about the charges to be incurred. Secondly, if it is too expensive, get into the Residents' Committee and demand an explanation of the charges and seek a reduction (as a committee) if it is manifestly unreasonable. Otherwise, please pack up and move to your friend's apartment.

Notices are put up on the Notice Board asking residents to register their phone numbers for the Intercom System so that visitors can be verified. Do you think all will be bothered to do so? No. They are either of the "tidak-apa" attitude or have a "I don't read Notice Board disease". This attitude and disease will swell to rage and fury at the security guards when something goes wrong such as car-break in or unsolicited salesmen knocking at the door. The security guards will be blamed for letting the people in without proper vetting. Hello! If you co-operate in the first place to have your phone number registered, we would be able to implement the Intercom System effectively.

Unless residents fully fulfill their obligations and remain blameless, they are not in a position to blame others including the Management Office. But then again, who will bother to take action and serve in a Residents' Committee for the benefit of all? Most of the time, those who make the most complaints and noise in a Residents' Meeting will be no where to be seen just before elections or nominations start.

Isn't this so so common?

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At 5:42 pm, Blogger Anak Merdeka

I feel so sorry for you! Actually, this problem is sooo common. I found out myself when I was working & renting an apartment in KL, my neighbours are such noisy people it was stressful most of the time.

But the experience was a blessing for me when the time comes to purchase my first home - I decided to go for landed property. It was something I did not regret to this day, although I had to work harder to pay the mortgage.


At 9:34 pm, Blogger huZmi dahLan

Who is the culprit? The developer for misleading advertisement, the government, the maintenance people, resident committee or the occupants. Guess each one of them plays a part.


At 10:33 am, Blogger PabloPabla

anak : I would choose landed property if finance permits :)

huzmi : The residents who do not comply with the rules are to be blamed first. It has a snowballing effect and they don't realise it.


At 2:38 pm, Blogger Tummythoz

Landed properties have their own set of probs too, very much depending on immediate neighbours too, dun u think?


At 3:01 pm, Blogger mahaguru58

You speak for all of us who live in apartments and condos.

I go through most of the troubles you have wrote about here in your post!

BTW, nice blog you have here. Have added you to my favourites.

Got to rush off now to the city but will return to read your posts!

Pleasure to have u visit me. Take care bro. May Allah guide us all, Ameen.


At 3:38 pm, Blogger PabloPabla

tummythoz : Hello! Thanks for visiting :) I guess the problem is more acute in communal living where the residents have a set of rules to follow (which they don't).

mahaguru58 : Thanks for your compliments mahaguru58! We all need God's grace to love our neighbours, don't we?


At 4:01 pm, Anonymous tuktoyaktuk

Hi! I fully agree with what you say in this post. I'm presently trying out communal living in a condo after living in a house, and though I find it convenient, there can and have been problems. Fortunately though, things haven't been as bad as you described...yet ;)


At 4:24 pm, Anonymous Hijackqueen


Good ppl are all extinct liao.


At 5:06 pm, Blogger PabloPabla

tuktoyaktuk : Pray it doesn't get worse :)

hijackqueen : U are still alive mah! ;)


At 5:26 pm, Blogger mumsgather

The bad news for me is I've almost gotten used to it, the indiscriminate parking, the rubbish everywhere accept the bins where they're supposed to be, the laundry hanging like flags over the balconies and the for sale signs that only bionic eyes can view. Once, we even had the misfortune of a drunk driver crashing into our car parked in our own parking bay because he was too drunk and not only did he not realise that the parking bay was not his, he did not even see our car there, he simply crashed into it trying to park there! Imagine that!