Illegal practice: Does any one care about the laws?


NEWSPAPERS and online portals last week were dominated with news of a 20-year-old girl who practised dentistry illegally. Apparently this may just be the tip of the iceberg, with many more people practising their craft without proper professional qualifications, having learnt only from You Tube.

The real estate profession also has been reeling from unscrupulous practices for years.

The Estate Agency profession in Malaysia is governed by the Valuers, Appraisers and Estate Agents Act (1981), which clearly states that only those who have been admitted into the registry of the Board of Valuers, Appraisers and Estate Agents can practise the profession of Estate Agency. The Act has been around more than 30 years. However, there seems to be no concern at all for the law from the point of view of the thousands of so-called “Real Estate Brokers” who practise Estate Agency.

A consumer association has allegedly come to the aid of the “dentist”, raising RM70,000.00 to pay her court fine. She was released within six days and continues to be defiant and in denial that she had broken the law. The country has laws and she had gone against them. So, she was wrong. It is as simple as that.

If we all looked at the law in this simple, cut and dried way, perhaps the incidences of lawlessness in Malaysia will reduce. The young girl’s situation has created a lot of publicity. There may be many others who are also practising dentistry on the sly, who will now think that they can continue practising with impunity and nary a concern for the laws of the country.

It is very sad as we drive forward to be a developed first world country, we are unable to properly police and enforce our own laws. Illegal practices of Estate Agency are not new. Many people have been doing this for years and will continue doing it.

What good then is the Act? What’s the point of having laws if they cannot be enforced? As long as these illegal brokers are not stopped and brought to justice, they will continue to ply their trade with impunity.

While registered Estate Agents and Negotiators work within the law, these brokers are free to do anything they want. Registered practitioners are made to follow a set of guidelines, rules and standards. There are things they are allowed to do and many things that they aren’t. Their practice is continuously governed and shaped by a set of professional ethics. The illegal brokers have no code of conduct to follow. They are able to do pretty much anything they want.

A word of caution to the general public: DO NOT DEAL WITH ANY ESTATE AGENT WHO IS NOT REGISTERED. The consequences, should something go wrong, are dire. And if the amount of money involved is big enough, you may find it difficult to financially recover from the ordeal.

All bona-fide Real Estate Agents and Negotiators are registered with the Board of Valuers, Appraisers & Estate Agents. Each of them is given a tag by the board which they are supposed to display prominently at every meeting, viewing or inspection. When dealing with estate agents, always ask to see their tag. If they don’t have a tag, don’t deal with them. NO TAG, NO TALK.

Till then, happy hunting and may the force be with you.