Sniping from the sidelines

I received the following email from Tony Wee who has granted me permission to use it for this post. Tony is a street representative for GCROA and his email gives me the opportunity to update GCROA members and others on the issues he has raised.

The contents of Tony’s email are in italics.

1. Is there any indication of the estimated charges residents have to bear for security and maintenance once GCROA takes over? I fear that some residents will not agree to an increase if the amount is substantial.

The proposed new charges shall be ready by the first week of June. Residents should not pretend that they do not know that what we are paying now is well below the norm for a gated and guarded community. GCD had left the rates unchanged for years and they could afford that. The new management company, whether it is under the GCROA or any other company will have to deal with current market rates. Thus we have to look carefully into the manning levels for the number of security guards and review the deployment the guards over the 100 plus acres to give residents adequate protection while being conscious of the costs at the same time.  Plus we have to select a new guard company that understands what Standard Operating Procedure means. For grounds maintenance, we are looking into the supplementary services required to augment the limited services we get from MPK.

If residents do not like the figures presented, there will be no choice but to scale down the expectancy. There will be no free lunch.

As an indication, we hope the increase will not exceed RM100 per household per month. There will be measures to curb non-payment and I am not talking about taking residents to court, at least not initially. These measures will also presented to the residents for their support and endorsement.

2. GCROA must take over a start from a clean slate.

I believe Tony is referring to the unpaid dues by a number of residents. We have said all along that GCD will have to collect the debts owed to the company on the crossover date.

3. I still hold the view that every resident must be given access cards to come and go (nos. per household can be worked out). If they do not pay, then sue them with costs. If the terms are watertight, GCROA should not lose a cent in lawyer’s fees.

Most families have an adequate number of access cards for the vehicles that they have. The House Rules that were never adopted by GCD provide for a Residents Card for every person living in GC above a certain age. This card will have a picture of the resident so that it can be used for identification when the need arises, such as, access to the shop lots or use of the clubhouse.

Legal suits take time and are expensive and we’ll get back the costs if we win the case. In the meantime our smart watertight lawyer must be paid or he or shee will not hold our hands in court. And do not forget if we lose the case, we may have to pay the defendant’s legal costs as well. Taking legal action against some residents may be unavoidable so, regrettably,  there will be a provision for legal expenses in the budget. Sad to say this, but it really amounts to responsible residents having to fork out money to sue the freeloaders. Hence, I would hope that residents will be supportive of the measures we have in mind in (1) above.

4. I understand Nicky Ooi has a good “TnGo” system where the monthly fees can be uploaded at a kiosk which can be set up at the clubhouse or some convienient venue. I’m given to understand the system will not cost more than 15K.

We may check this suggestion when we have the RM15K to spend. Meanwhile Nicky Ooi  should contact Santok Singh who is handling the handover issues for maintenance matters.

5. I gather many residents are vary of GCROA taking over and running the clubhouse … whats the feedback from the majority?

I am not sure of the reasons for the wariness and who are these “many residents”. If they are GCROA members they would have contacted me, as members often do. So it is likely to be non members of the GCROA, in the main,  and described to me by a a fellow committee member as, ” the several people who have been moaning to me about all  sorts things and when i say come and help up they Dont want to know”.

GCD owns the clubhouse and it has proposed that the  GCROA, through its wholly owned management company (to be known as GC Management Services Sdn Bhd, if the name is approved by the ROC) become the operator.

The Clubhouse has a swimming pool, two saunas, a gymnasium, two suraus, and a small pantry for the café operator. It will also be equipped with certain fixtures and fittings.

Let us look at the rocket science an operator needs to know to run a simple and small, but nice, clubhouse.

The operator’s task is to make sure that the clubhouse will be run as a clubhouse for the enjoyment of residents and their guests and for no other purpose (no illegal activities like gambling, strip club, massage parlor, etc).  Set opening and closing hours will apply.  The operator will hire a caretaker to keep the facilities clean and tidy daily. The caretaker has to supervise that air conditioners and pool equipment  are serviced per schedule(s) set and he must possess  the common sense to switch off the power in the gym and saunas when not in use by residents or their guests (something the last resident could or should have done or simply does not care to do). The caretaker must be a person who can figure out that the heater in the sauna may be faulty or the air conditioners are not blowing cooled air like it used to do. Problems that need fixing are reported  and attended to immediately and not days or weeks later. How hard can the job be?

Sure there is a risk for the GCROA to undertake the clubhouse operation but the level of financial risk is small change compared to security and maintenance.

What if the level of delinquent debts increases to the point that we cannot pay the service providers? Unlike GCD, we do not have a papa to run back to when there is a shortage of funds to pay the contractors. We have to be serious about residents who do not pay their dues. We have no choice but to adopt measures to discourage these people.

The GCROA Committee is answering a call by its members to take over things in GC. Whatever the GCROA does affects non-member residents and we need to listen to them because this is their home too. If the Committee is afraid of the challenge ahead they could all resign and let others step in or they could ask GCD to continue providing the services until their obligations run out under the Deed of Mutual Covenants. GCD in turn could find other contractors and we may well have Chapter 2 of the same things again. What would residents prefer?

We will have no choice but to cut things down if we reach a point where there is no way we can afford to pay the contractors for their services in full. Otherwise we would have to keep raising the level of dues on those who are willing to pay while the freeloaders continue to enjoy the services. We can also consider a full shut down and hand things back to GCD so they could continue to provide for P2’s security services until 31 December, 2015. We are so spoil for choice!

Sniping from the sidelines is of no use to anyone. Thus if there are so many residents who are wary that the GCROA Committee is unable to grapple with the rocket science needed to run the clubhouse, then by all means ask GCD to choose another operator and see if the company is willing to do that. Or ask GCD to run the thing. Meanwhile I will put on hold the help I have agreed to give GCD in respect of the operating budget and the operating/tenancy agreement. Act fast because the clubhouse will soon be in use!

Residents should know that the GCROA has no profit element in undertaking the tasks ahead.  I hope any financial interest in a proposed operator, by any resident, will be fully disclosed.

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27 Responses to Sniping from the sidelines

  1. yfyin says:

    Since there are no other comment from the bungalows’ owners in GC , this means that all of them agreed to the security charges calculated by land sizelah, let’s go ahead with this!. Good.

    • darenong says:

      Not good. lol. Semi D owners do not tell bungalows owners how much to pay, suppose to be the other way around … lol just kidding. Laugh or I’ll tell another joke.

  2. davidioustan says:

    Hi am I a proud new owner of a semi d in GC. i have been following this blog constantly. As a noob, i dont mind with the price increase but the SAFETY ISSUE!!!! it must be tip top!! over the pass month reading all the break ins….I would not want to pay for the increase once i move in if there are so much issues of break in. I have been staying in my link house for 10 years and no issues of break ins and i am only paying RM 60/month.

    My 0.1 cent concern

  3. I am pleased to see some comments on how the expenditure cake should be distributed between the property owners. GCD had in the earlier years shown the monthly rates as an equal split between security services and maintenance services but in the last year and a half billed in a lump sum without division. The total charge has remained the same until today; RM180 for an semi-d and RM230 for a bungalow (regardless of the size of the bungalow lot which can range from 6600 sq ft to 10,000 sq ft or more).

    Let us put all the above aside and look at the distribution again. For starters everyone will be informed of the expenditure budget for grounds maintenance, the clubhouse and for the security provisions. But first,let me quickly respond to Yin’s comment: “In my opinion, if GCD is facing collection problem of RM180.00 a month, GCROA is going to face more problems if the price goes up to RM 280.00 a month.”

    I do not think affordability is the reason for GCD’s collection problems and it should be patently clear to SD residents that the RM180 is a lot lower than amounts charged in other G&G communities. What is the magic number that will spare GCROA the collection problems? If I know the answer to this, I should not be wasting my time in this blog.

    Philosophical debates are great; nobody gets to be wrong, like what do you do when you buy a new shirt. Do you get one that fits your body now, or do you buy a shirt that you like to wear and grow into the shirt or go on a diet? Can be difficult, huh? The logical approach in our case is conduct a proper review with the chosen security company and see how the numbers stack up and then decide on the method for distributing the expenditure between the residents.

    Yin’s suggestion to reexamine the basis for charging each resident is fair. Lot size seems to have little impact on GCD’s rates because the average 40’X80′ semi-D is just a third of the 10,000 sg ft bungalow, but Yin pays 78.3% of what the bigger fellow pays. And I pay the same rate as the owner who has 50% more land area. Is this fair?

    I dislike the concept of using property valuations as a basis because you get into the hassle of valuing the properties, injecting into the process a high degree of subjectivity. I haven’t seen any G&G community using such a basis. Condos and apartments normally use square footage and is universal. People can relate to and are more at ease with numbers they understand and have a feel for. Land area is administratively easy to handle – the number of lots their respective land areas are static numbers which can be summed up to determine the cost per square foot.

    On the other hand, there are circumstances which make the use of land areas look silly. For example, living in a bungalow or a semi- detached home has no relevance to the maintenance of the common areas or the security requirements at the main guardhouse. In respect of the clubhouse, the number of people in a household seems more appropriate because it is about usage of facilities by people. However we cannot be using so may different bases. Whichever basis we choose will anger some residents.

    My vote is for the use of the stated land area in the Sale & Purchase Agreement.

    Let us know how you feel about this issue.

    • yfyin says:

      This is exactly what I meant, 3 different sizes and prices of houses here in sequence: 3000sqf semi-d. 5000 sqf bungalow and 10000sqf riverfront bungalow. Using the S&P lot size would be the most accurate.

    • darenong says:

      Can we have an understanding or not, the understanding is simple. You pay more you should get more, not because the house is bigger. Simple logic and its fair. You pay more to get a bigger house, you pair less for a smaller house, it’s fair.

      Why bungalow owners pay more for services that is being rendered equally to all ? Not logic it’s an insult unless you get more if you pay more. Access card extra because of the need of using it by number of occupancy not because the house is bigger.

      Kapish ?

      • yfyin says:

        If your house is not bigger, how can you park more than 4 cars. Johaan meant 1 bungalow with 10ksqf land is equal to the land of 3 semids. Some probably have 6 times the built-up of a standard semid.
        The guards are not hired at check point only, the more important job is go for petrolling. Burglars don’t rob the guard house.
        All mix development gated housing has this payment method like Siarramas where bungalows there cost more than 5 millions minimum.
        Do you think this owners are being insulted all these years and kept quiet about it?

      • darenong says:

        I believe it is only fair that the amount of money paid should be equal for all if the service rendered is equal for all. That will be my opinion and I oppose to the regulation and rules or opinion that bigger house need to pay higher, I’m entitle to voice this yeah?.

        Bungalows is paid at twice the amount of money compared to semi d, they HAVE THE RIGHT to park more cars because THEY PAID FOR MORE LAND (doh) so, if bungalow owners pay more for security or whatever fees, “it is only reasonable” to have special extra privilege like more guards rounding the bungalow area, more time allocation for the facilitiy. extra cctv or like so. THAT IS FAIR. Again, you pay more you get more. Repeat after me and understand … pay more, get more .. pay more for bungalow-get more parking space, pay more for services-get more services value.

        If you pay RM 200 others should pay RM 200 for the same services, thats all what I meant.

        Other owners all these years kept quiet after being insulted or not, not my problem, stop asking me these type of question which is very hard for me to answer for them. lol.
        Sierramas’ payment system is not my concern because I do not live there and whatever they wanna do with their life or however they wanna spend their money is not my concern. Stop comparing like this, it’s very

        You drive bigger car and it’s 2.0, I drive small car but also 2.0, so I pay less 2.0 for road tax ? That’s erm, silly to compare, no?. You paid more because it is a bigger car that is 2.0 and you pay 2.0 price of road tax, I pay lesser because smaller car of 2.0, but I pay same equal amount of 2.0 road tax – how is that for a comparison ? Rocket science made easy.

        I think and I must say again – You pay more, you should get more, no point arguing if this is right or wrong or compare to others.

        Man I can say this until my beard grow and have split ends.

      • yfyin says:

        Taiko, we are discussing about security matters here, not comparing who drives bigger cars.

      • darenong says:

        Tailo tai tai tai, you don’t say …. lol.
        But I thought you were talking abt Sierramas’ RM 5 million house, and owner’s insulted and kept quiet about it and and burglars don’t rob the guard house and and and I remember somewhere about beard with split ends. lol.

  4. Daren,

    The boat ramp is obviously left out of our dealings. I do not think GCD will charge you for using the boat ramp. The office staff might not know what to do as you are the only soul using the ramp. Maybe you should ask GCD to pay you instead, LOL.

  5. yfyin says:

    In my opinion, if GCD is facing collection problem of RM180.00 a month, GCROA is going to face more problems if the price goes up to RM 280.00 a month.
    If you look at the prices of houses in GC, basically. there are 3 prices as follow:-
    P1: 1. Semi-ds which cost : RM400k first hand
    2. Bungalows not facing the river front : RM800k
    3. Bungalows facing the river front : RM 1.5 million or more.
    P2: 1. semi-ds which cost : RM 500k first hand
    2. Bungalows not facing the river front :RM 1 million or more.
    3. Bungalows facing river front : 3 million or more.
    Base on the proportion of houses in GC, 70% are Semi-ds. Families who bought houses at RM 400 to 500k may not be millionaires, it might be tough for these families to pay RM 280.00 a month.
    I would advise a survey house to house to find out whether majority would be comfortable with this figure.
    Another suggestion I have is, the security charges should be proportionate with the prices of houses sold here, example like if semids are paying RM200 a month, bungalow owners should be paying RM 400 and RM600 respectively. Justifiable by the bigger land area and build-up area.
    This is my personal view, what do you think?…

    • darenong says:

      Not one bungalow owners will agree to that .. imo .. what if that semi – d has 7-8 occupancy and that bungalow house only 3-4 occupancy ? pay more because house is much bigger ? Didnt we all “have to use the same facilities” if so, why pay more ? well if bungalow owners have special privilege that is different story/drama and that make sense for bungalow owners to pay more .. what you recommended, aku tak kasi undi .. lol

      • yfyin says:

        Taiko, we rare talking about security fee only, this exclude maintenance and clubhouse charges.

      • yfyin says:

        Bungalow owners do have extra privilage like extra access cards, bigger in space in every way. More space need more guards to cover.

      • darenong says:

        More space need more guards to cover .. cover what ? cover the land ? Since there are more Semi D .. they should pay extra .. ala … need more guards to cover ma … apada … I need 2 security guards to follow me when I go back to my house and when I need to leave my house … like this need to pay how much ? lol

  6. tonywee says:

    Many thanks for the comments Johann. Please continue to keep residents updated, even the non members of GCROA.:-)

  7. boyscout2b says:

    Clarification please. When you say “As an indication, we hope the increase will not exceed RM100 per household per month”. You meant the total fees (security & maintenance) could be RM180 now + RM100 increase = RM280 per month. Right? I think this should be bearable and a small price to pay for peace of mind. Also I feel that GCD should reinstate and expand coverage of the various intrusion sensors (eg along river frontage) and CCTVs they had earlier as these should alleviate manpower needs.

    • Yes, that is correct. RM280 per month for a semi D for security protection and maintenance (including the clubhouse). There is another element – the sinking fund – for future costly refurbishments and could come in for RM150 per annum per unit, if the majority of residents agree.

      For the riverfront, we are likely to have two static posts along the riverfront and policed by a couple of guard dogs from 10 PM of so until morning. The button flippers at the P1 and P2 entrances shall be redeployed to these posts so there is no additional manning requirements.

      On Mon, May 20, 2013 at 12:06 PM, Glenmarie Cove Residents and Owners Associati

    • Forgot to mention in the update that GCROA has informed GCD it is not interested to take over the maintenance of the jetties until the unauthorized structure at the P2 jetty is resolved and Senangin Pier is repaired,. GCD deserves the honor for failing to act in the first place.

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