Singapore property agents have been advised to avoid doing business in Johor because they may be unfamiliar with Malaysian regulations and laws.

Similarly, Malaysian real estate agents have been discouraged from looking for properties in neighbouring countries, particularly in Singapore.

Loo Kung Hoe, Chairman of Malaysian Institute of Estate Agents Johor Baru, noted that the institute had received several complaints from Malaysian agents that their Singaporean counterparts were operating in Iskandar Malaysia to search for and sell properties to their clients in Singapore.

“When Singaporeans purchase properties via their Singaporean agents, they do not need to pay income tax or commission to local agents and that would affect government revenue,” he said.

Loo argued that Singaporean agents were committing an offence under Section 22D(5) of The Valuers, Appraisers and Estate Agents Act.

He revealed that there are currently 98 registered property companies with 1,000 agents attached to them, while 20,000 freelance or unregistered agents are operating in Johor.

“Instead of taking legal action against them, we want to educate them and urge them to work hand-in-hand with our local counterparts.”

“Singaporean real estate agents can pass the documents and desired property to the local agents so we can help them look for it,” Loo added.

He said that the body wants to encourage unregistered Malaysian brokers and agents to take courses and register as certified property agents to prevent real estate deals from going awry.

“We want to prevent the unregistered agents from misleading or duping investors or property buyers, especially foreigners, which would create a negative image for Iskandar Malaysia.”

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