MND should have oversight over condo managements

I agree with Mr Chan Kai Yan that the Ministry of National Development (MND) should undertake the responsibility of ensuring adequate checks and balances on all condominium management councils (MCs) in Singapore ("Require condo management to submit accounts to MND"; Aug 10).

The Building Maintenance and Strata Management Act empowers MCs to handle condominium finances, plan and approve sizeable expenses, and make decisions that will ultimately impact the lives of hundreds of residents.

Members of MCs, therefore, wield tremendous influence.

Unfortunately, this concentration of power, and the electoral-based structure of condominium MCs, can create a highly charged and innately adversarial environment.

All too often, there exists the very real danger of residents getting caught up in, and being forced to pay the price for, power plays within the MC.

Here is where the Act falls short: It lacks specific provisions to ensure that MCs can be held to account for instances of gross misconduct.

It is puzzling that, under the status quo, disputes between the MC and residents are not mediated by the MND, but instead passed on to a third party, the Strata Titles Board.

Even then, it seems that the only recourse that residents can seek against powerful and errant MCs is to undertake expensive and time-consuming legal action.

It is, thus, necessary that the law is realigned to place the interests of residents first.

The MND should not only be empowered to exercise additional oversight over the accounts of MCs, but should also be given the ability to investigate and prosecute where MCs have failed in their fiduciary duty.

Paul Chan Poh Hoi