Saturday, 1 December 2012

An Encounter with the Malaysia Insolvensi

I have always said that Malaysia is my biological parent while Singapore is the foster.

Sometimes, I watch on TV about how a fostered or adopted child desperately seeks out his or her natural parents, just to realise how crass or materialistic the natural parents are, and feels awfully disappointed.

I would tell myself that this would never happen to me. I was, after all, making an analogy about the parentage thing. And for Malaysia to disappoint me? Come on! HA HA HA!

Recently, it happened to me.

My father bought a shophouse as a gift to my mother about 20 or 30 years ago.

He had bought a few properties in his better days. When his business hit a downturn, he sold them off to support his business, except the shophouse for my mother - because my mother refused to sell it for whatever reasons.

My father was sure that he had paid off the bulk of the housing loan, which stood at RM 90k then, but last year, when he tried to get the title deed of the house from the authority after he learnt that the developer went bankrupt and the Malaysia insolvensi took the house back, the lawyer representing him claimed that the authority wanted documentary proof that he had paid for the house. My father is not the most meticulous person where finance is concerned. He did not keep all the receipts he received for paying off the housing loan, but he did not think that was a case for concern. The incompetent lawyer sent in whatever receipts my father could find and came back telling him that he still owed the authority RM 58k.

Enraged, my father refused to pay the RM 58k.

Subsequently, without any written warning, the insolvensi sent two letters terminating my father's contract, stating that the house was now confiscated by the insolvensi! And if my father wanted to get the house back, he would need to pay RM 140k, the market price, instead!

One shock after another.

I spoke to the lawyer's clerk since June this year, because apparently the clerk was handling the matter.

I told her that we were willing to pay cash upfront and we would like to negotiate on the price - to be reduced to RM 110k.

When I called again in September, after the clerk took too long to revert to us, the clerk said that the insolvensi had agreed to it.

About a month ago, we paid the deposit of RM 11k within three days. In fact, we knew about it on Friday and sent the cheque down on Monday. They promised to call us in two weeks' time and we could have the house after paying the remaining sum.

We waited for more than a month.

I called again last week.

What I heard outraged all of us.

The clerk now said that the insolvensi had not cleared the cheque. They received a new bid for the house and that the new bidder was willing to pay more for the house. So if we wanted the house, we had to pay RM 140k, the 'market price'!

My elder sister was sure that it was a property agent's tactic: to show the cheque to potential buyers and ask them for higher bids if they want the property.

My father was upset that the insolvensi did not keep to what they had promised and had refused to issue a black-and-white to confirm the offer.

It totally changed the way I view Malaysia, my biological parent.

Like how those children in the drama serials feel, I am awfully, awfully disappointed. 'Disappointed' is an understatement. I am disheartened, disgusted.

It is clearly a case of corruption.

Could the drama serials a foreshadowing of what I was to experience?

I discussed with my father about the matter and we decided that we would give up the house if they would not sell it back to us at RM 110k.

If they had stood their ground and insisted on selling it at RM 140k at first, we would not have been so agitated. If the price had been non-negotiable, we would have paid the price.

But the insolvensi is behaving like a profitable organisation - whoever bids at a higher price is the keeper.

The house belongs to my mother in the first place.

In fact, they are withholding RM 22k which my father has receipts for to confirm his ownership on the house.

We have already confirmed that we want the house, paid the deposit for it. How can they say that there is no black-and-white to say that they are selling the house to us at RM 110k?!!

And isn't the lawyer our witness? How can a government organisation not honour what it had promised? How can it get away with all these?

You mean the country is lawless ah?

Totally ridiculous! Singapore's authorities will never do this, even if it's just spoken words.

As a child, I had heard from my aunt how corrupted the police were. Our neighbour's son was a police. Every night, when he went back to his police quarter, he and his team-mates would peel open the squashed notes surreptiously, inconspicuously thrust into their hands during their duty in the day, and divide the loot among themselves equally. These notes were also known as 'kopi money' for bribing the police into not taking the offenders to law. Sometimes, the police extorted money outrightly from locals or Singaporeans who drove Singapore cars in by threatening to charge them for an offence they did not commit.

Eventually, the acts pricked his conscience and the neighbour's son decided that he had had enough, and quit the job.

Like most other children, I naively asked my aunt,"Then why didn't he stop collecting the bribes? He could continue to be a police - an upright one!"

She replied,"Then the rest of his team-mates would wallop him, thinking that he wanted the bribes all for himself."

I had thought that such dark corruption would have ceased in this day and time.

Apparently, such practices are too rife, too rampant, too uncontrollable, such that even in this modern time, the government appears to give consent to them.

Like a wife who's betrayed by her husband, disgust and shock overwhelmed me.

I feel so stupid and lame to have stopped my brother in converting to being a Singaporean. What has Malaysia got to offer for us to retain our citizenship? Any faith I have in its governance is completely shattered by my encounter with the insolvensi, which is supposed to deal with bankruptcy. How ironical it is for such authority to want to take advantage of the situation!

The inefficiency, the ineffectiveness, the inability to converse or exchange in a global language - I reserve my judgement on these. But blatant corruption? I have nothing but an f-word for it.

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