Malaysian Government asked to involve Auctioneers in new E-Lelong System to avoid Monopoly and Rash Decisions

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KUALA LUMPUR, March 17 — The Auctioneers Council of Malaysia (ACM), also known as Majlis Pelelong Malaysia urged the government today to include them in discussions on the implementation of the e-lelong system. The High Court of Malaya is set to take and carry out auctions in Malaysia, a move that may monopolize the entire foreclosure industry, causing loss of livelihood for over 1,800 auctioneers. The move, seen as out of the normal role of Courts as an adjudicator had caused many controversy nationwide.

ACM president Mustafa Osman said the proposed electronic platform to auction off foreclosed property was drawn up without proper consultation with stakeholders and alleged it was harmful to the livelihoods of some 1,800 auctioneers in the country.

“The idea was mooted by former Chief Justice Tun Arifin Zakaria; we were taken by surprise when the government first had a trial-run in Kuantan for the platform in July 2017 without even including us in the conversation,” he said.

“While we are not against the implementation that is set to take place later this year, we want to be a part of the discussion as there are lives at stake, we also believe auctioneers are still relevant to the process and we can work together.”

The e-lelong service was proposed as a way to eradicate cartels and syndicates that prey on the traditional manual auctioning process. While there had been hybrid systems in developed countries, the system in Malaysia will be completely online, and at the moment, excludes auctioneers of any role in the system.

Lawyer Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla, who represented ACM, also urged the government to reconsider the amendment of 31A of the 2012 Rules Of Court.

Under the amended clause, it is stated that “an operation centre for the sales of immovable property to be known as e-Lelong Operation Centre is established” and that the disposal of such property be conducted through the e-lelong system.

Haniff suggested an addition to the amendment to allow traditional auctioneers to operate alongside the new system.

He added that they have approached two ministers including Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman, but were given contradicting responses.

“… many families are at stake, it isn’t just the auctioneers but also their children and spouses who will be left with a large burden to carry if this platform is introduce later this year without their feedback,” he said.

“If this law or change is to effect the auctioneers, basic rules of justice dictates that auctioneers’ opinions must be heard.”

The lawyer also insisted that the system would require a further change to the National Land Code, failing which e-lelong transactions would be illegal.

He then urged the government to promptly set up a committee to address the concerns and delay the implementation of the e-lelong system pending this review.

“Rushing through everything destroys livelihoods, you end up creating things that could be in breach of law.”

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