‘Govt’s e-lelong meetings with stakeholders were one-way sessions’

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Auctioneers Council has dismissed the government’s claim of having consulted stakeholders over the implementation of the e-lelong system, saying that the four engagement sessions were just “one-way communication”.

Its president, Mustafa Osman, claimed that he was not allowed to ask questions at each of these sessions.

“I won’t count these as engagements because in all of them we were not allowed to say anything,” he said.

“The first meeting was a briefing to explain what e-lelong is all about and how they were going to implement the system.”

He alleged that when he stood up to ask about what would happen to auctioneers, Chief Registrar of the Federal Court Latifah Mohd Tahar told him to sit down and not say anything.

He said she behaved the same way towards other auctioneers who wanted to ask questions and three representatives from the Bar Council who tried to raise the industry’s concerns.

He told FMT this in response to Latifah’s statement yesterday that appropriate consultation had been made with relevant parties.

She was quoted by Bernama as saying that the four engagement sessions were held on Nov 28, 2015, March 1, 2016, June 23, 2016 and Feb 16, 2017.

She said the interested parties concerned that attended included the Attorney-General’s Chambers, the Bar, representatives of financial institutions and licensed auctioneers representatives, the Malaysian Auctioneers Council and state auctioneers associations.

On March 17, Mustafa had warned that over 1,800 auctioneers in Peninsula Malaysia risked losing their jobs if the online system to conduct property auctions for the country’s courts came into effect.

Meanwhile, council deputy president R Raj Yogan Pillai said the e-lelong system would have shortcomings, especially in cases where housing loan borrowers, whose properties were being auctioned, did not have access to the internet.

He said the e-lelong portal would also not be able to process late urgent updates such as when a borrower is able to make a settlement at the 11th hour.

“It isn’t fair to them and this is something that the e-lelong system cannot handle,” he said, adding that auctioneers were able to play a role as intermediaries in such a situation.

He said the government had overlooked the importance of “middle person negotiations” which the website would not be able to do.

Raj also said the e-lelong system would not allow auctioneers to go to ground to meet people to explore ways of helping them overcome their predicament.

Auctioneers’ body warns of massive job losses due to e-Lelong

E-lelong: 4 engagement sessions held with affected parties