At a Cross Road - MCO and the Real Estate Agency Practice
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President of the Malaysian Institute of Estate Agents (MIEA), Ms Chan Ai Cheng, has issued a memorandum to the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of Malaysia to voice out two major concerns. The following statement is addressed to YAB Tan Sri Muhyiddin and YB Tengku Dato Seri Zafrul on behalf of the MIEA.
The Malaysian Institute of Estate Agents (MIEA), the oldest and largest Real Estate Association, appeals to the government on two major concerns affecting the profession. The first being priority for vaccination and the second loss of income through inactivity for agents.
The Real estate Profession comes under the purview of the Ministry of Finance. There are approximately 23,000 Real Estate Practitioners comprising of Real Estate Agents, Probationary Estate Agents and Real Estate Negotiators. Their primary role is to help the public at large to sell and rent their properties and to assist buyers and tenants.
While MIEA supports the government’s move to help the country on the pandemic recovery plan and its effort to provide assistance and support for those who are in need, the real estate sector has taken the beating and burden of the MCO challenges with limited assistance.
The agents are now deeply affected like other businesses, non-salaried contractors, SMEs etc. We are also very much affected by the lockdown. Agents are a resilient lot and have kept to our own this far but the lockdown has had serious effect on the livelihood of agents.
Though there may be a thin line in defining that we don’t come under the ambit of essential services, agents play a big role in the growth of the economy; Selling of properties creates cash flow and liquidity in the market, renting helps landlords to pay for their loans and provide income for them.
In view of this we appeal to the Prime Minister, Minister of Finance and the Government on the following matters;
1. Priority Vaccination
- That Real Estate Agents and Real Estate Negotiators be given ‘priority vaccination’ in view of the nature of services of agents in supporting one of the main drivers of the economy. The priority vaccination is to ensure that all agents are fully protected once MCO is lifted as they will meet all types of people to assist in property matters.
- This will enable the practitioners to move fast to help build the property sector with confidence.
- MIEA has offices in 5 states i.e., KL, JB, Kuching, Kota Kinabalu & Penang, we can use this as vaccination centres and MIEA will support in all areas including volunteers and venue usage
2. Agents are Self-Employed and on Contract for Service
- As a general rule, some 90% of the 23,000 Real Estate Agents (REAs), Probationary Estate Agents and Real Estate Negotiators (RENs) are self- employed on a “Contract for Service” and do not contribute to EPF and as such have not been able to benefit from the various initiatives of the government i.e., iSinar which have benefited other sectors. In view of that a special programme needs to be designed for this sector.
- MIEA is proposing for the PSU programme to be extended to Real Estate Agency Firms even though Real Estate Negotiators are not “Employees” but are engaged on a contract for service and registered under the Board of Valuers, Appraisers, Estate Agents and Property Managers Malaysia (Act 242) through the Board’s BID system. The firms can then pass on this incentive to the RENs to support them in their plight in supporting the industry.
- We also seriously request that parts of the industry are stranded especially tenants who are in the midst of moving in or moving out of their homes. In these cases, the police can easily verify the movement via a stamped Tenancy Agreement, to give them approval by the Police specifically for moving in and out on a date specified upon verification by the Police. This will largely help stranded tenants paying rents on both ends.
- Serious attention needs to be given to the profession as we are the cradle of the real estate sector.
We sincerely hope this matter be given urgency to help in the issues that have been raised