Property buyers and sellers must refrain from enlisting the services of illegal real estate agents and negotiators, Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Lee Chee Leong says.
He said very little could be done to help those who have been duped by illegal real estate agents and negotiators who were not registered members of the profession.
In his opening speech at the Malaysian Annual Real Estate Convention 2017, Lee said illegal agents and negotiators created a lot of problems for the Board of Valuers, Appraisers and Estate Agents Malaysia and the government.
"The greatest challenge faced by the board is when members of the public use the services of the illegal estate agents even though we have repeatedly advised against it.
"This has also resulted in the government losing out on revenues as these illegal agents do not pay taxes,'' said Lee.
According to Lee, there were 105 reported cases involving illegal real estate agents in 2016 and 180 in 2015.
The two-day convention was organised by the Malaysian Institute of Estate Agents (MIEA).
MIEA immediate past-president Siva Shanker told a press conference later that although there were laws to bring the illegal agents to book, little has been done.
"Enforcement is lacking. We have made many police reports and brought up the matter over the last 20 to 30 years,'' said Siva.
He said once the existing laws were enforced, the problem of illegal agents could be overcome.
"If the enforcement starts and you make an example of a few of them, the rest will disappear or will try to get themselves registered,'' added Siva
He said the MIEA had made it simple for aspiring agents to go through the qualifying requirements to become licensed.
Meanwhile, MIEA president Erick Kho said the organisation had embarked on a collaboration with its counterparts in Asean.
Presidents of regional real estate organisations would be having their first official meeting during the two-day convention.
"It is the first meeting of the Asean Real Estate Network Alliance (Arena),'' said Kho, adding that all the Asean nations except Laos and Brunei were participating.
He said regional collaboration was crucial due to the growth of Malaysia's property industry, which needed an open market and cross-border transactions.
"Collaboration among real estate agents, from the various regional countries, is important as they are the window to the property market in their respective countries,'' said Kho.