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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Remember this.. specially dedicated to all my children..

Dedicated to all my precious children.. as of now.. Adam.. Arif & Aleesya..
We just want you to know that when you are 3 years old or so.. we will hand you over to preschool teacher to care for you until noon.. we want you to meet friends of your age and learn about ABC and most importantly to have fun in a social network.. always remember SCHOOL IS FUN..
At age 7 we will send you to primary school to introduce you to formal education.. yes.. we have expectation.. we want you to excel and be the best but even if you don't.. we still love you.. We know it will be hard for you to walk in the school compound without our presence.. and its hard for you to buy things at the canteen without our guidance.. but hey.. you are our precious.. we know you can do it.. and we will always be here for you..
Later you'll grow up and may go through a confuse stage of being a teenager.. You probably hate our rules.. you'll probably think that we are old-fashioned.. we may have issues.. we may have communication problem.. You may also find it difficult to priorities things.. between socializing and  getting good education.. REMEMBER.. we will be there for you for guidance.. just don't close the door of communication and.. most importantly... always remember that we loves you.. 
We somehow believe that you will thrive and join the adulthood.. you will find your soul mate.. you have our blessing.. and we will love him/her as much as we love you..
You'll be in the workforce.. doctor.. lawyer.. engineer.. or build your own business - how little it may be. But if you  find professional line is not your bread and butter.. or your business faces challenges you cant cope.. dont give up.. continue to build a better life for yourself and perhaps your family.. continue to invest in educating yourself.. and always remember.. that to us.. YOU ARE ALREADY SOMEBODY..

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Pak Undang2 Chronicles - Salah UMNO

Time-time raya ni gua banyak habiskan masa kat rumah pak undang2 gua.. biasa la raya.. Sebagai menantu mithali gua layan jugak la sembang dgn pak undang2 gua. But lately.. gua tengok entah hantu mana yang dah merasuk diri pak undang2 gua pun gua tak tau.. sibuk bebenor dengan politik.. sikit-sikit politik.. sikit-sikit politik.. nak jadi calon ke pak undang2 weh!!!

Cam besa laa.. seperti gua agak.. pak undang2 gua ni lebih kepada pembangkang.. pantang silap sikit.. habis seranah disumpahnya UMNO.. "haa.. ini salah UMNO la ni.." favorite quote of the day. Hari ni pulak dalam berita tersiar berita kematian pemberita Noramfaizul Mohd Nor yang ditembak ketika mengikuti program bersama Putera UMNO... apalagi.. macam mesingun mulut pak undang2 gua membebel pasal kematian kononnya "sia-sia" pemberita tu..Gua bukan orang politik.. mengiya pun tidak.. membangkang pun tidak dan sememangnya gua malas nak citer pasal politik ni.

Marah betul nampaknya pak undang2 gua..habis diungkit kematian "syahid" pendemonstrasi BERSHIT hari tu.. tak cukup dengan tu.. ditambah pulak dengan kenaikan harga barang (dah jadi pakar ekonomi pulak pak undang2 gua ni).. harga petrol.. yuran sekolah naik.. tambang bas naik.. video seks.. konspirasi liwat semuanya salah UMNO... Panjang lebar hujah2 pak undang2 gua.. kalau Hitler tengok mau duduk tersipu-sipu dengan semangat pak undang2 gua..

Sedang asyik pak undang2 gua berpidato.. gua terhidu bau busuk sampah menusuk kalbu.. Gua tanya pak undang2.. dah berapa lama tak angkut.. Seminggu lebih dah.. ni semua salah UMNO la ni.. tak angkut.. belum sempat pak undang2 gua bebel lebih panjang gua sampuk.. err.. ni bukan kawasan PAS ke + MPAJ? MPAJ kan Selangor.. err.. salah UMNO gak ke??

Terkedu.. pak undang2 gua mintak diri nak ke surau katanya.. (semayang apa pukul 3 petang?)

(err.. gua salah cakap lagi ke?? btw gua bukan orang politik.. ada yg kerajaan buat gua sokong.. ada jugak yg gua tak berkenan.. tapi gua rasa budaya menyalahkan org ni patut dikikis - the other side need to prove that they are better than the current government - tok sah la sibuk nak mengapi2kan kemarahan orang.. takda paedah)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

TO Repossess or not

I read with great interest when I saw the headline in the Sun newspaper on Thursday 9th June news. It said that "the Selangor government is studying whether to repossess low-cost housing units that have been given to ineligible owners or occupied by errant tenant".

The study came in after the Penang government had repossessed 154 flat units in eight public housing projects since last year after the tenant breached terms and conditions mainly due to arrears. OK that's fair - my initial thought. Then I realised.. this is a "public housing" for God sake.. the intention is to provide roof to the "don't have" of the society.. a place where they can proudly say "it's my home".  Though I can understand the economic reasoning behind the move but I hope that the authority will also try to understand the cause for their "inability" to pay the rent first before taking such big step. This part of social welfare is inherited once you become a GOVERNMENT!

On average.. a "public house" rent is about RM50 - RM150 - extremely cheap for many of us. However, the people living there is non-other than the neglected.. the OKU.. senior citizens.. single parents etc. Some of them does not even have any income and lives under the social welfare purview such as zakat.. donation.. etc.. so RM50-150 means the world to them - it means whether there will be food on the table.. it means whether they can afford the medicine supply for the month. Thus, economic criteria should not be a reason for kicking a family out (in this case 154 families) unless the government have enough evidence that these 154 families are "undeserving" families to be provided with such subsidies and helps.

On the issues of "eligible owner".. I am still baffle on the "criteria" till this day. If the "policy" were taken on face value.. probably most of the low cost owner now is consider "ineligible" as majority of them through hard work and dedication manage to come out of the poverty cocoon. 

Nonetheless, I totally agree with the concept that the "public housing" cannot be sold to anyone with a household income of more than RM2500 above. It is also a good practice by the government to give priority on the low-cost flat / house to low income earner. It is a known fact that a low-cost unit is sold at RM35K or about RM70K for the low cost house at launching. The problem is that.. the policy is often rape and abuse by those in power by taking up these flats for own benefits! 

In addition.. as in any other property.. the price will increase as time goes by especially in the hot area. Is it fair for the family who purchase it initially not be able to sell it at market value and reap some benefit from their "investment"? If market forces were taken into account then how on earth will a family with a household income of RM2500 can afford to purchase this property over time (sub-sale)? These are 2 fundamentals issues need to be addressed and resolved by the government before it decide to repossess the property from the deemed ineligible owner. Base on current practice.. couple with the lack of enforcement.. the policy is only good on paper and any action taken by the government will no doubt cost much suffering to the people the government intent to assist in the first place. By the way.. the ineligible owner normally purchase the unit after submitting to certain government body (EXCO) for approval which include salary declaration - how then they become suddenly "ineligible" only GOD knows.

However, the above is not without any solution.. there are couple of policies that the government may introduce;

1. To subject the price of low cost house / flat on a cap value of its initial price i.e., RM35K. or RM70K whichever is relevant. This will discourage the greedy in power to acquire such properties especially through illegal means.
2. Following policy no 1, the initial owner who had progress in life and came out of poverty and wanted to sell the property can only sell the property back to the government. By doing this, the government can then select new "eligible" owner to purchase the house. This will save the government from the need to build new "public housing" project which could cost a bomb now days.
3. To cap the rental rate of these type of property in line with the "public housing" rate. This will discourage the "ineligible" owner to rent out the property and definitely will shy away all the potential investor who look for rental yield in such property (me include).
4. Laws need to be passed to ensure that only certain categories of people can purchase this property (I was informed that currently it is more a policy rather than embedded in legislation on the eligibility criteria - no wonder a lot of abuses). Nonetheless, the criteria should be reviewed every 2 years to ensure that the decisive factor is in line with the present economic situation.
5. Most importantly.. enforcement need to be in placed and this should include hefty fine if the "ineligible" owner acquire the property through illegal means.

Many will argue the rationale of the suggestions.. but hey.. its my personal opinion on the basis that the property was build to HELP certain category of society.. I believe it is a noble thing to do that once a person who gained benefit through this scheme and had progress in life.. he should then offer the same HELP by "returning" back the property without any economic gains so that the property can be used to HELP others as well. In addition.. this may be the best way to curb speculative buying on low cost house / flat and thus denying the needy the right to HOME in their own country...

Bad thing about the above suggestion is that it will definitely effect my own investment strategy.. kacau jiwa gua dowwllll

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Property Price Tag.. valuable lesson

I dont know how and from where but I always find myself in a situation where friends would seek my "help" to let-go their properties or buying for that matter... For the past 8 years or so, I think I have dealt with more than 50 houses either buying or selling.. for self or for others.. hmm.. I should have change my profession to be a Property Agent instead of being Kulikoperat for the rest of my life.. hahaha..

Recently I was asked by a friend to sell his double-storey link house. After few minutes of chatting to find out his reason for selling I ask him what's his desired price. Confidently he say RM600K or above!!

I was flabbergasted.. knowing the area.. at the most he can fetch for his double-storey intermediate link house is roughly around RM450K.. or RM500K if the buyer is crazy enough about the house.. but RM600K.. hmm.. I told him that the price is a bit ambitious but he insisted that his house should be of that value.. He told me that recently he had done up RM200K to refurbish and renovate the house and thus justified the price tag of RM600K above. I was amazed by the amount of money he actually spend to done up the house. Curiosity hit me.. it hit me hard.. so I went to visit him (err.. the house actually).. The house is too prominent not to be noticed.. However, it looks very odd when I compare to other houses in the same residential area.. it looks like a thin bungalow being sandwiched by 2 terrace houses.. He showed me around and proudly pointed out to the teak door.. expensive decor.. the Italian tiles.. marbles.. bla bla bla.. 

After taking some pictures.. I give him my thoughts and told him that this is not my forte.. he would be more successful if he engage a professional real estate agent.. I told him point blank that I normally sell properties which I personally will purchase if I had the money.. coz most of my "buyers" are my friends who think alike.. If I am not convinced.. chances I can never sell... 

I ask him why he wanted to sell the house after all the money spend? After long chat.. I finally realised his real reason when he told me that this year alone he had experienced 2 break-in and 1 attempted burglary.. He was lucky that when it happened the family was not at home.. He doesn't feel safe anymore.. and decide to sell off the house and stayed in a condominium... I looked again at the house.. and I dont feel surprised with my friend experiences.. The house is too outstanding compared to the other houses.. If I am the burglar.. I would not have to think hard to find a target.. the house would be an ideal target.. 

Even though I did not make anything from this venture.. but I learn a valuable lesson.. If you have extra $$ and wish to renovate your existing house.. do it moderately.. dont let your house "shouting" to the potential burglar out there that you've loads of $$. If you cant handle your desire to live in a mansion due to your excess cash.. you should consider buying a better property in a better neighborhood. Your house in the new neighborhood may not be the biggest or the most "prettiest" house.. but at least you will have a good night sleep as the probability of your house being targeted by the robbers is as good as other house in the neighborhood...

Ohh by the way.. 3 months had passed and my friend still cant sell the house

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Is life insurance a life assurance?

Metaphorically it may be a true statement as this financial tool is the cheapest and most efficient financial tool to protect your family income due to premature death, dismemberment or illnesses. It is not designed to protect you from death.. nor does it design to prevent accident or illnesses... so dont get confused :-).

It is life "assurance" for financial support (whatever little it may be) to the participant or his loves one in the event of misfortune. Interestingly.. the concept of insurance is consistent with the Islamic principle (please refer Surah Al-Baqarah verses 240) which seem to suggest that upon death of a person (normally refer to man - as man is almost all the time the breadwinner of the family), the deceased or natural family of the deceased (father, mother, brother, sister) must ensure that his wife and children will be taken care of (shelter + foods) for at least 1 year.. Conceptually.. guided by this principle.. a man must have a saving of at least 12 months and a house. Hey! I am not making this up - go and read it if you dont believe me :-). 

Economist refer insurance as a risk management mechanism primarily used to hedge against the risk of uncertain or contingent loss - an explanation that may take 5 pages of this blog with all the jumbo mambo financial jargon that will bored you to death and I wont bother to elaborate also.. :p

If you ask me what is life insurance to me.. my simple view is that I see an insurance as a gift of LOVE.. a person who loves their family enough to ensure that in the event of any misfortune to him/her.. the family will not suffer more than just an emotional grief.....

Saturday, February 19, 2011

RM200,000 Flats - Reality or Fantasy

By 2014 or 2015 or so a 2 bedroom flat in certain area of Kuala Lumpur will cost RM200,000. Hey.. its not me who's saying it.. its in the news -

I almost cant believe what I am reading.. and while reading it I cant help but to count my so called new "durian runtuh". Bonus comes early this year.. or this life time.. hahaha.. that was what in my mind while I was reading the news clipping..

However, once reality sets in.. I come to my senses.. will it ever come true? What is the basis of this "prediction". As I was looking for an answer.. my thoughts travel way back in the early 80's where "life" is though tough but more simpler in Malaysia. A two bed room flat then would cost only about RM15K... during the 90's it grew to RM25K and in year 2000.. the government set it at RM35K - these are for the new development. The subsale of these 2 bedroom flats currently are about RM50K to RM90K..  6 times more than the original value depending on the location. YES.. again LOCATION.. LOCATION.. LOCATION is still "the" influence factor... But hey.. that's a decent growth of 5% per year.. so if my math is correct.. by year 2015 or so.. the value would be somewhere around RM115-120K... where does the RM200K came from then... is it achievable?

I am here not to challenge the report nor am I trying to discredit the analyst.. though skeptical.. I think it can only be achieved if the followings were observed;

1. Property loan is given up to 3 generations... yes.. 3 generations like what is currently being practiced in Hong Kong.. but of course minus the "margin call";
2. Full refurbishment, enhancement and "re-branding" of the 2 rooms flats need to be done

We all know that valuation is a creation of opinion..until it is realised it will still remain as OPINION!

Monday, January 3, 2011

First School Experience... as a parent that is

My first son, Adam, is turning 7 this year.. and like any other children of his age.. this will be the beginning of his primary school years.. a journey to be remembered by both - the student and the parent.

We (as any other responsible parents) had prepared for this moment - mentally, financially and physically - many months ago.. (in fact the last 2 years when we first registered him for a place in the primary school system). All the fees were paid way back in the month of Oct/Nov 2010 (if my memory still valid). A visit to the the school bookstore was almost a ritual (weekly basis)  from thereon by my domestic engineer to check on availability of books - YES - 2 more books left to be bought. 

We had our final preparation today.. buying extra shoes.. white polish.. additional stationary (ultraman pencil box - as requested). The uniform.. bags.. and other essentials were prepared many moons ago as we were concern that there wont be any sizes left (Adam is an average size so it will be challenging to find the right size if done at the very last minute) and I dont want my son to go to school in an oversize shirt or pants and proclaim to be on hip-hop dress code on his first day of school :-)...We are ready.. we are SET!! (That's what we think anyway).
Even though we had prepared for all this.. surprises are inevitable!! During the orientation day on 31st December 2010.. we were told to dress him in his gym wear.. THAT's IT - NOTHING ELSE - no bag.. books or stationery to bring. Its just an orientation and some briefing - we were told. On that day.. we arrived 15 minutes earlier.. went straight to the registration booth. Our first surprised was that his name was not in the list. Fortunate enough I brought along copies of his registration - after much consultation with the "senior", the teacher agree to register him in class 1 Maju but warned us this might be temporary and should accept any changes. 
After registration, our son was required to join the others student and proceed to the classroom whereas the parents were invited to attend a briefing by the Head Master and Head of PIBG.. The briefing was about the school achievement.. the school policies.. the cooperation expected with parents for the betterment of the pupils.. bla bla bla... went on for 2 hours. Once done.. we were required to collect the textbooks and make payments to PIBG for RM107. Huh.. another payment? Why was this not informed? I am the type of person who only had RM50 at any given time in my wallet as I hate to carry much cash unless necessary. But that day.. before leaving the house.. some small voices told me to bring extra cash.. and thank GOD I did.. that save me from a potential embarrassing moment... hahahah

After much experiences with the surprises.. I cant help but to develop my "hate" (for lack of better word) list about primary school as follows;

1. Teachers do not advice parent of what to bring in 1st day of school - should I pack the whole load of textbooks + exercise books or come around in a free and easy mode?;
2. There's always "surprised" fees to be paid - make sure you bring extra cash to avoid embarrassing moment;
3. Standard 1 class is located on 3rd floor - can imagine that my son will build muscle around his thigh and hand after 1 year;
4. There's always "kiasu" parent who keep on bragging about their children ability and that the school syllabus seem to be lagging behind;
5. There's no such thing as "healthy" food at the canteen;
6. Why am I wrapping these textbooks? Did my parents did this for me? Hmm...
Our son will officially start his standard 1 tomorrow.. Our hope is that our son and all the other children will enjoy this experience.. will cherish this moment.. and may they all grown up to be a better and successful person in their own way..