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The Way Forward

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Participants at MAREC 2012.

Y.B. Dato’ Donald Lim Siang Chai, Deputy Minister of Finance.

Nixon Paul, President of Malaysia Institute of Estate Agents.

Siva Shanker, Organizing Chairman, MAREC 2012.

Sr. Elvin Fernandez, Managing Director of Khong & Jaafar Group of Companies.


A call to embrace change at MAREC 2012

By Emilio Vergara

Over two days, the fraternity of Malaysian real estate agents convened to discover, improve and embrace change in their practices at The Malaysian Annual Real Estate Convention (MAREC) 2012. Successfully organized by the Malaysian Institute of Estate Agents (MIEA), held on 3 and 4 March 2012, the event saw both informative and inspiring topics being conveyed to the 400-odd participants.

With the theme Property Investment – The Way Forward, this year’s event opened with a strong message by Nixon Paul, the President of MIEA, for the need of estate agents to embrace change.

“In today’s competitive and rapidly changing business environment, the need to Embrace Change has become an increasingly important issue that practitioners need to adapt to. The manner in which property transactions are carried out today has dramatically changed over the last 10 years,” says Nixon.

Graced by Dato’ Donald Lim Siang Chai, Deputy Minister of Finance as well as delegates from abroad including the Philippines, Indonesia and Singapore, the 26th installment of MAREC also addressed current issues and happenings in the property market including rising property prices, recent liberalization policies of the estate agents’ practices as well as latest rulings on loans and taxes by Bank Negara.

“It is my wish that every estate agent lives up to the theme of today’s convention and plays a vital role in the development of the real estate sector in Malaysia,” urged Dato’ Donald Lim after congratulating estate agents on being the main channel for property transactions in the year 2011.

2011 recorded the highest number of transactions in the last five years with approximately 430,000 transactions making up for a total of RM140 billion. Dato’ Donald Lim also announced that 50% of the transactions were concluded by estate agents while the rest came from government transactions, sales by owners and developers as well as private treaties.

The event continued with talks by leaders across the sector with market and economic outlooks by Datuk Seri Michael Yam, President of REHDA as well as Dr Yeah Kim Leng, Group Chief Economist of RAM Holdings Berhad.

Other speakers included Francis Goh, Group Managing Directorn of Kisabina Group of Companies, Sr Michael Geh, Senior Partner at Raine & Horne International Zaki + Partners and Sr Wee Soon Chit, Director of CB Richard Ellis (Johor) who gave overviews of East Malaysia, Penang and Johor’s property climates respectively.

Speaking on The Fundamentals Based Outlook for the Klang Valley Property Market, Sr Elvin Fernandez, Managing Director of Khong & Jaafar Group of Companies made an interesting statement on the issue of skyrocketing property prices stating that “Growth or price increase must go together with fundamentals.”

On top of that, one of the more pressing issues that was addressed was the liberalization of the real estate agent profession. Past president of MIEA K Soma Sundram and who is also Director of the New Properties Division at Reapfield Properties Sdn Bhd, explained the cause and effects of the amendments to the act, which allows estate agents to divest 49% of their shares to non registered agents. He then urged the Malaysian estate agents to take initiatives to expand their firms instead of being stuck in the ‘Being Small Syndrome’ as he puts it.

Speeches and talks on the property market were not the only order of the day. Networking sessions among the industry players were also in place with a networking cocktail reception at the end of the first day as well as a Round Table Forum on the second day. A signing ceremony for collaboration between ASEAN Real Estate associations was inked at the annual event with the purpose of building better ties and partnership among MIEA’s regional counterparts.

MAREC 2012 continues to serve as an annual gathering for estate agents and a platform for them to discuss and address issues to protect their interest and further enhance the level of professionalism thus, paving the way forward.