Tackling abuse of proxy votes at estate general meetings

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Tackling abuse of proxy votes at estate general meetings

Post by singaporeproperty » Mon Sep 16, 2013 11:29 pm


Tackling abuse of proxy votes at estate general meetings

Published on Sep 15, 2013

Last Sunday's article ("Condo sails into troubled waters") quoted a resident as saying that "three council members held more than 60 per cent of the proxy votes" at the last annual general meeting.

Property agents and serviced apartment operators should not be allowed to seize control of the management council of an estate via the use of proxy votes. Unfortunately, this appears to be a growing trend.

The authorities know about this problem and are reviewing the Building Maintenance and Strata Management Act. However, more than a year has passed without any new law being enacted.

Apart from the Act, other laws and practices need to be changed so that this problem can be eradicated. A holistic review should include:

Restricting the percentage of proxy votes that can be cast at an estate's general meeting, thus ensuring that the voices and will of subsidiary proprietors who personally attend the meeting can be heard and executed.

Mandating that proxy forms list down clearly all resolutions to be voted on at an estate's general meeting. Those who are voting by proxy should be made to indicate in writing if they would like to vote for or against a particular resolution. In other words, proxy holders will not be given a "blank cheque" to use indiscriminately.

Disallowing a proxy holder from casting votes and saving himself if a motion to remove him as a member of the management council is raised.

Educating subsidiary proprietors on the importance of attending general meetings personally.

Barring real estate agents and serviced apartment operators from becoming management council members, since the nature of their jobs could lead to conflicts of interest.

Making owners who rent their units to short-term (less than six months) serviced apartment operators liable for punishment.

Setting up specialised law enforcement units within the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and Building and Construction Authority (BCA), so that they are better equipped to apprehend and punish offenders.

Being more proactive in estate-related law enforcement, instead of just attending to complaints or relying on citizen policing.

Establishing stronger inter-agency collaboration between the URA, BCA and the Council for Estate Agencies.

Victor Ng Beng Li


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