Sunday, February 9, 2014

Leaving Malaysia is proving more difficult than coming here!

When I applied for and received my MM2H visa it was relatively simple. When I prepared to move to Malaysia I sold my house, signed the S&P agreement, had the closing and transferred the money to my account in Malaysia, in a month. I had already put a down payment on my condo in Penang so I only had to wait a moth to move in.

When I decided to leave Malaysia a friend offered to buy my condo at the price I had asked, so I was expecting a quick procedure. To make things easier we used the same lawyer (the one I had used when purchasing my condo). All particulars were given to the lawyer in early October and all we had to do was to sign the Sales and Purchase Agreement, which usually takes a week or two here, whereas back home it would take a couple of days.A friend from the US had come over to Penang for 3 week vacation and sold her house and signed all of the documents within 2 weeks. Because of this knowledge I wasn't too worried. Well I was wrong! After a couple of weeks myself and the buyer made several calls and were told that the S &P would be done in a few days. Many times our calls were not answered nor were they returned. Emailing the lawyer was a joke. Not a single email was answered. Finally in December the buyer got a call to sign the S&P and close the deal. Three months for a simple, uncomplicated real estate sale! Unbelievable! It was either laziness or complete incompetence, or both! I must point out that while the lawyer was farting around, the Malaysian ringgit was going down the toilet and I lost $8000USD when I transferred money to my US account.

Now that that matter was taken care of I started to look forward to receiving my Sinking Fund deposit. Another adventure. For those who do not know what a sinking fund is I will try to explain. It is an account established by a condominium management committee to be used for large maintenance expenditures or emergency use. Each condo owner pays into that fund which earns interest over time. When an owner sells the property the buyer pays him the amount of his initial deposit, if the fund has not been used. The Management of the condo, at the request of the buyers lawyer, notifies the lawyer as to the amount of the deposit to return and if any amount was used. Since I had served as member of my condo's Management Committee for two years I know that none of the money was spent, at least 2 years ago. So I totally expected to receive my money promptly. Once again after 5 weeks, I received nothing and heard nothing from the lawyer. Once again all of my phone calls and several emails went unanswered. Finally I received notice that the condo Management Company and Committee had not replied to the lawyer's request.

After hearing this I went to the Management Office here at my condo in Tanjung Tokong to inquire about this problem.I spoke to the supervisor, who told me that there was no money in the sinking fund. I told him that was wrong and I wanted the manager to call me. He took my telephone number and said he would call me with more information. Of course he never did. I then returned home and emailed the Chairman of the Management Committee. I never got an answer. A few days later I emailed the Secretary of the Committee. I didn't get an answer.  Then I emailed a friend who was a member of the Committee. She did answer, saying that the Chairman refused to tell anyone anything about the Sinking Fund.  Once again I emailed the arrogant Chairman, knowing full well that he would ignore me. I still haven't heard from him. My latest move was to notify my lawyer about the behavior of the Management at my condo. I have a feeling that they know I am leaving and will do nothing about my sinking fund deposit. After living here for almost 6 years I have learned that the management committees of many of the condos are rife with corruption. It is is not uncommon for the committee or a member of the committee to embezzle the entire sinking fund. Many good people serve on these committees, but are discouraged by the number of people who serve only to make money from illegal activities. This type of behavior is unfortunately tolerated. This does not only effect the lower and middle income projects, but also the luxury condos like mine and even the super condos.

Soon I will be leaving Penang and these unfortunate events will be just minor bad memories of my life here. Thank God I have many more good memories of Penang that will stay with me forever.  In my last post I will bring everything up to date and say good bye.

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