A critical evaluation of certain aspects of the Strata Titles Act 1985
This research is an attempt to ascertain the reasons for the problems that are currently being experienced in Malaysia in the implementation of the Strata Titles Act. The Strata Titles act has been enacted in Malaysia for almost twenty years now. However, the delay in the issuance of strata title to would-be proprietors who bought into strata schemes long ago, remains the most common complaint received by the National House Buyer Association. This has motivated the writing of this thesis which seeks to examine and analyse the entire system of strata ownership in Malaysia. The emphasis of the study is on the establishment of the strata scheme, the object of the strata ownership, the allocations of the share unit to the strata parcel proprietors, the proprietors' rights with regard to their parcels and the common property, the enforcement of financial and non-financial obligations of the parcel proprietors, the settlement of disputes and, finally, on the management of strata titles schemes. An examination of the differences between the Malaysian and several other systems has been made, to find out why one system works better than the other. Does the problem lie in the nature of the governing legislation, the procedures of the Land office for making application and obtaining registration of a strata plan, the laws and practices relating to development, construction, financing and conveyancing of a strata title property, or a combination of all factors? The insights gained by the examination of the Strata Titles Act hopefully will reveal whether the problems and issues faced currently on the ground have been the result of the law, be it ignorance of the law, indifference to the law or even weaknesses in the law, or have been caused by other factors beyond the scope of the law to prescribed solutions. The present legislation in force for ownership of strata titles in Malaysia has provided an adequate legal structure for all the matters discussed above. From my evaluation of the various aspects of the Strata Titles Act, it emerged that there is room for improvement in virtually every aspect examined in order to keep up with the rapid development of the strata title schemes in Malaysia. But it is not only the Strata Titles Act that needs modernisation. In addition the housing delivery system in Malaysia has got to change. Officials involved in the registration and issuance of strata titles have to be properly trained in order to ensure that they have the required knowledge of the legislation and care should be taken to recruit more qualified personnel in the Land Offices. There is urgent need to have the strata scheme registered promptly so that the management corporation can come into existence at the same time as the proprietors obtain vacant possession of their strata parcel. Hopefully, the authorities concerned would consider the recommendation and introduce changes and legislative amendments to overcome the present difficulties and to give even greater security and benefits to those who choose to purchase strata type property. It is submitted that the 'first generation' Strata Titles Act should be modernised by a 'second generation' statute, which incorporates all the recommendations, set out above.