September 17, 2013

Lawyer Hartanah : 40 Lagi Soalan Yang Patut Anda Tanya Peguam Anda Sebelum Membeli Rumah di Malaysia




Buku eBook saya Lawyer Hartanah : 40 Lagi Soalan Yang Patut Anda Tanya Peguam Anda Sebelum Membeli Rumah di Malaysia mula dijual pada hari ini. Pemasaran affiliate boleh didapati di JomNiaga : http://www.jomniaga.com/affiliate/tools/17104/go. Pra-pelancaran untuk buku ini adalah dari 17hb September 2013 sehingga 29hb September 2013. Pelancaran penuh akan dilakukan pada 30hb September 2013.



eBook Bahasa Malaysia ini adalah terjemahan dari buku saya : 40 More Questions You Should Ask Your Lawyer Before Buying A Residential Property in Malaysia. Saya telah menterjemahkan buku ini sendiri untuk memastikan maksud yang saya cuba sampaikan tidak hilang. Dapatkannya sekarang di pasaran atau melalui web di www.bookplanet.com.my.


July 6, 2013

Nomad Offices : The office away from home office for lawyers

       
                                                Kompleks Mahkamah Kuala Lumpur

As a lawyer, when I was practicing as a litigation lawyer, speed is everything. You sometimes need to amend or use the facilities you have at your office as soon as possible but your office is just too far away. Even if your office is within Kalng Valley, when you have only a few hours to spend before you go back to court.

Of course you have the Bar Room which has nearly everything you need as a lawyer. However, wouldn't it be more convenient if you can drive just around the corner where you can have all the convenience of your own office at your fingertips?



       
                                         Kompleks Mahkamah Syariah Wilayah Persekutuan

       
                                                               MATRADE building

An office like Nomad Offices is the perfect alternative for an office away from home office for lawyers.

The new Nomad offices Is located at Soalris Mont Kiara within the area of MATRADE, Kompleks Mahkamah Kuala Lumpur and Mahkamah Syariah Wilayah Persekutuan.

With other Nomad offices in Pavilion KL, the Gardens and Menara Hap Seng, it is perfect for anyone to use it as a base. Nomad has hotel and residences. With branches in Manila, Jakarta, Bangkok, Ho Chin Minh, it is perfect as a satellite office.

Nomad offices has meeting rooms for 3 to 6 people, charging stations, waiting areas, hot desks, a big room for 5 people with a manager's room and even a Playstation to unwind.

Located at Level 7 of Block L, Solaris Mont Kiara, it is just perfect as an office away from your home office in Kuala Lumpur.


June 25, 2013

What is a housing loan and how many types of housing loans are there?




I am writing a new book. It is about Housing Loan and of course, in continuation of my Ask The Lawyer series, I have titled the book '40 Questions You Should Ask Your Lawyer Before Taking A Housing Loan in Malaysia'. I want to be as concise as possible so there will not be 40 More Questions You Should Ask Your Lawyer Before Taking A Housing Loan in Malaysia.

My two books tackled issues about buying residential property from housing developer and is skewed towards buying these residential property in cash. Why? Because I opined you need to understand the basic before involving purchasing property using a housing loan. A housing loan needs it's own book to be understood. Now that I have columns in New Straits Times' Real Estate and Decor and also in thestarproperty.my with occasional articles in various other publications, I will complement my published books and to-be published books with articles in them. 


As always, I use this blog to gauge responses from my readers or would-be readers. If you still have not got my book from bookstores like MPH, Times or Kinokuniya, you can order online through my publisher Book Planet. The link for my books is here : Ask the Lawyer series in Book Planet

While waiting for my book to finish, go through this first chapter. Consider it like reading an excerpt of the whole book as this first question is the whole template for the whole book. Comments and complains are welcome, as usual :

Question 1 

Housing loan is a financial instrument borne out of a need of the consumers, who are house buyers seeking to buy houses. In this day and age, everyone has some form of debts or another. Borrowing money has become a norm and it is recognised by financial institutions around the world as the best way to check the financial credibility of a potential customer. In short, the more debts you have with one financial institution, the potential for you to get any type of loan from another financial institution is higher. Of course, as a borrower, you must make sure you are capable to manage all the loans you have taken from all the financial institutions you have taken loans from before you are given another loan by another financial institution. One of the biggest amounts of money by borrowing one will take in his or her lifetime is the housing loan. House, even the smallest one, is expensive. The need for a house has never diminished as people need somewhere to live whether they can afford it or not. Hence, housing loan is needed to help people to buy a house according to their need and for those who buy house as investment, as one way to finance the investment.
   In the whole scheme of property purchase, there can only be two types of house buyers. There are those who buy a house to stay in it and those who buy a house as a form of investment. All the housing loans in Malaysia are tailored for those who buy houses in order to stay in it and not for those who buy a house for investment. With the current property climate in Malaysia where government has to intervene in order to fulfill the supply of affordable houses to the masses, I don’t think we will ever see financial institutions coming up with housing loans for the investors. That is why all borrowers of housing loans are asked to sign a letter of undertaking (which will be explained in this book) affirming that they will be living in the house they bought and taken a housing loan for. In order to answer the question “What is a housing loan?” the answer is - any type of loan taken from a licensed financial institution in Malaysia to finance the purchase of a residential property in Malaysia. In order to explain the concept of housing loan further is to dissect each type of the housing loan available and to see the mechanics of each type of housing loan. As questions relating to housing loan are answered one by one in this book, the enigma surrounding housing loan is unraveled one by one.
   There are so many types of housing loan available to finance the purchase of any type of property in Malaysia. These housing loans relate to all types of properties available for sale from either housing developers or individuals. There are so many ways to divide housing loans into basic categories. Types of properties are divided into property issued with title and property without title or property to be subdivided later. Housing loans available to finance the purchase these properties can be divided into the same category too. The documentations for housing loan given by financial institution for residential property with title is very much different from documentations for housing loan given by financial institution for residential property to be subdivided later. The difference between these documentations will determine the process and the cost to prepare the documentation for the housing loan. The documentation for the housing loan to finance purchase of property with title is more straightforward than the documentation for housing loan to finance property to be subdivided later. The nature of residential property to be subdivided later requires another round of documentations to be executed when the property is finally issued with a title.
   However, the more popular way to divide the types of housing loan on offer by financial institution is whether a housing loan is a conventional loan or an Islamic loan. As financial institutions streamlined the operation of their conventional banking and Islamic banking, when a bank officer attend to a customer’s enquiry about housing loans, the first question the loan officer will ask is whether the customer is applying for a conventional housing loan or an Islamic housing loan. Both housing loans are different from each other and the documentations for both types of housing loans are very much different. Both conventional housing loan and Islamic housing loan are different products. The terms used to explain how the conventional housing loan and Islamic housing loan is given and disbursed are different among financial institutions. Conventional banking term such as ‘interest’ is substituted with ‘profit’ when being referred in Islamic banking. This is just one of the terms which differ between a conventional housing loan and Islamic housing loan. An explanation on the difference in either the concept or the documentations of an Islamic housing loan can be found within this book.
   There is no right way to list the types of housing loans. Like all loan products offered by financial institutions, when you want to take a housing loan, the important question is to ask yourself why you are taking the loan. It is understandable if the housing loan is to finance the purchase of your dream home. If you have saved to pay the deposit on the house and able to pay the installments until the time the house is yours, there's an array of housing loans to choose from. However, there are many other types of housing loans which relates to houses but is not intended to be used for the purchase of a house. These types of loans include, as was mentioned above, taking housing loan for investment purpose, refinancing of existing house after a few years as value of the house rises and mortgaging a house free from any encumbrances to the bank for cash. Currently, housing loan for residential property is one of the cheapest loans around among a bank’s various products and is a favorite way to own a property under your own name.

May 22, 2013

Media appearances past few months

It has been a few weeks of non-stop media appearances for me. Some are in articles in news portals, two radio guest appearance and author appearances at one book fair.

For posterity sake, here are those media appearances :

My two articles in The Malaysian Insider :

One is on the issue of Gated and Guarded Community in Malaysia published on 2nd April 2013 :

Whither neighbourliness?

Another is about Affordable Housing in Malaysia published on 19th May 2013 :

Affordable housing : Political Rhetoric or Serious Solution?

Then I answered a question in News Straits Times pullout Real Estate and Decor about discharge of a strata property :

Q & A on 5th April 2013

And my article was published by News Straits Times : Real Estate and Decor about Gated and Guarded Properties in Malaysia on 3rd May 2013 :

One day inside a gated and guarded development

In April and May, I had two radio interviews by BFM Radio both in The Property Show. Here are the podcasts from the show. Here is my interviewer, Azura Rahman, from the show :


First interview was about my new book :

40 More Questions You Should Ask Your Lawyer Before Buying A Residential Property in Malaysia

My second interview was about Malay Reserved lands in Malaysia :


Understanding Malay reserve land

Finally during the recent Kuala Lumpur International Book Fair at PWTC which happened between 26th April and 4th of May 2013, my new book was launched and I made two author appearances at my publisher's booth :






That was it. I just realised I had a busy April and May 2013. It was good to be busy.

You can still get my book here, at True Wealth Sdn Bhd's Book Planet website :


April 17, 2013

Credit Reporting Agencies in Malaysia : What is CENTRAL CREDIT REFERENCE INFORMATION SYSTEM (CCRIS) and CREDIT TIP OFF SERVICE (CTOS)?


This is an excerpt from my next book. The book's working title is 40 Questions You Should Ask Your Lawyer Before Taking A Housing Loan in Malaysia, another book under Ask The Lawyer series. I am targeting for it to come out next year, 2014. Do get my new book 40 More Questions You Should Ask Your Lawyer Before Buying a Residential Property in Malaysia here. Any questions, comments and inquiries are welcomed.

CCRIS and CTOS are credit reporting agency, a newly-governed industry in Malaysia. People applying for housing loans in Malaysia will have their financial information checked by the financial institutions they are applying the housing loan to. Here is excerpts for one of the question in my book under the title above :

Central Credit Reference Information System (CCRIS) is an online credit checking system operated by Bank Negara Malaysia with all Malaysian’s resident’s credit information in the system. As long as that person has an identification card and credit history, he can check his credit history in CCRIS. CCRIS is managed by the Credit Bureau of the Bank Negara Malaysia since 1982 and formed under the Central Bank of Malaysia Act 1958. The Credit Bureau collects the credit information of any borrower from all financial institutions in Malaysia and then issue a credit report when it is requested by any of the financial institutions governed by Bank Negara Malaysia. Central Credit Reference Information System is a computerised database and there is nearly more than nine millions borrowers’ credit information currently being stored by Central Credit Reference Information System. All the information about the function of Credit Bureau and Central Credit Reference Information System, can be found in the Bank Negara website on Credit Bureau : http://creditbureau.bnm.gov.my.

The financial institutions are required to report the name, identification number, address and credit facility details such as type of credit facilities, credit limit, outstanding balance, conduct of account and any legal action status. A borrower can check your Central Credit Reference Information System report at Bank Negara or Bank Negara’s various branches in Malaysia. A borrower cannot ask a representative to check his own Central Credit Reference Information System report. Under the various banking laws including Banking and Financial Institutions Act 1989, Islamic Banking Act 1983 and Central Bank of Malaysia Act 1958, confidentiality is imperative in dealing with Central Credit Reference Information System report. It can only be released with a financial institution authorised by an applicant for a housing loan or any other loans to get the Central Credit Reference Information System report from the credit bureau. Upon getting the Central Credit Reference Information System report, the financial institution and its officer can only use it to process the loan and not use it for anything else such as marketing its products

Financial institutions giving housing loans or any other loans to borrowers in Malaysia need up-to-date information about the applicants of the loans. Central Credit Reference Information System is where these financial institutions go in order to get the credit history of the borrower. The Credit Bureau sourced the information from all licensed commercial banks, Islamic banks, investment banks and several other financial institutions. In order to ensure the borrower’s data is up-to-date, verifications are done against the data at the National Registration Department and Companies Commission of Malaysia. Here are the list of information listed in the Central Credit Reference Information System report :-
1.       Outstanding credit including housing loan, hire purchase, credit card, overdraft and personal loan;
2.       Special attention account under close supervision by any financial institution; and
3.       Application for credit
All these three types of information will be for anything under the applicant’s own name, joint name with another person, sole proprietorship, a partnership or a professional body.

Any account fully settled or application rejected, deleted or cancelled are not included in the report. Credit repayment behaviors are listed at the end of the report for outstanding credit report or special attention credit report with 1, 2 or 3 or more stated according to the month in a year for the last twelve months. These can affect certain loan application, including housing loan. Any financial institution processing an application from an applicant of a housing loan will give special attention to any account with late or missed monthly installment payments, high debt servicing ratio between the borrower’s take home income and the debt the borrower already have, high utilisation of approved credit such as credit card, too many loan applications and any loan under litigation or special attention account. Unless it can be disputed, it is good for a borrower to clear some of the debts before applying for a housing loan.

Any borrower can dispute your credit report in Central Credit Reference Information System by first going to the bank which has entered the wrong information and then at any of the Bank Negara branch. Any financial institution supplying the inaccurate report must rectify any inaccurate or incomplete information immediately by sending it to the Credit Bureau. The financial institution is obligated to reflect the latest credit position of the borrower. A data review by the Credit Bureau can be done if the borrower is not satisfied with financial institution. The borrower can get and filled the Request for Data Review form to do a data review. It can be downloaded from the Credit Bureau website and then submitted to any Bank Negara Malaysia’s branches.

Credit Tip Off Service (CTOS) is a different form of credit report used by some financial institutions in Malaysia. Credit Tip Off Service is not related to Bank Negara Malaysia or any government agency and it is not endorsed by any of them. Credit Tip Off Service is run by CTOS Data Systems Sdn Bhd, a private company, better known as CTOS Sdn Bhd. The website for CTOS Sdn Bhd is http://www.ctos.com.my/ with its office in Megan Avenue 1, Jalan Tun Razak, Kuala Lumpur. CTOS Sdn Bhd collects data made public in news, court filings of legal proceedings allowed to be made public by the court, Companies Commission of Malaysia, information provided by the borrower and any of the borrower’s creditors, people or companies the borrowers registered with such as clubs, memberships and even include utilities companies. CTOS Sdn Bhd also collects a person’s directorship in companies either listed or not and all his sole proprietorship or partnership holdings. CTOS Sdn Bhd is registered under Credit Reporting Agencies Act 2010 and governed by the Securities Commission of Malaysia. Any refusal by CTOS Sdn Bhd to update its record can now be reported.

A few people claimed Credit Tip Off Service is an illegal gathering of information by a private company and is a blacklist. There a few evidence of this as CTOS Sdn Bhd is a company gathering information made public relating to credits and liabilities. CTOS is a lead information system with clients that need to check a particular person or company’s background, especially financials, in their normal course of business such as bankers, legal firm, insurance company and credit card companies. CTOS Sdn Bhd does not update their database or delete a settlement on any of the borrower’s case automatically unless the borrower or the person being checked informs CTOS Sdn Bhd of such matter. CTOS Sdn Bhd also claims it is not a blacklist report. Having a credit report under CTOS Sdn Bhd does not mean an applicant of a housing loan will not get approved. Applicants may receive a rejection from the bank the borrower is applying for a housing loan with the word ‘CTOS issue’ and the best course it to get in touch with CTOS Sdn Bhd to know what is the issue if the bank is unwilling to divulge the information. Getting credit especially a housing loan from a financial institution is still about the borrower proving himself to be credit worthy. Any data from CTOS Sdn Bhd is a public record and a borrower can get this record at his disposal too. A settled court case or a bankruptcy already being settled will have proofs and the borrower can update the financial institution the borrower is applying the housing loan with the proof.

The difference between Central Credit Reference Information System report and Credit Tip Off Service report is the weight given to each report. Most financial institutions give more weight by rejecting a housing loan application when they found the applicant has a ‘CTOS issue’. Central Credit Reference Information System is run by Credit Bureau under Bank Negara Malaysia, with banking laws to back the collection of information. Credit Tip Off Service is not imposed on financial institution as it is not run by any government agency but is supervised by Securities Commision. Other than these two agencies, there are several other credit reporting agencies such as Financial Information Service Sdn Bhd (FIS) and SME Credit Bureau Sdn Bhd. The unscrupulous use of a borrower’s or an individual’s information, especially financial information by any agency under Credit Reporting Act 2010 shall be reported to Securities Commission. With the coming of the Personal Data Protection Act 2010, the usage of personal data on individuals by financial institutions are now under another layer of scrutiny including disallowing the financial institutions’ credit department to divulge an applicant’s or a borrower’s data to its marketing department unless expressly allowed by person.
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