Malaysia s e lelong concerns
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e-Lelong system at the Kuantan Court | Image Source: The Star

You must’ve heard about the newly launched e-Lelong. The system is said to improve the transparency and effectiveness of the existing bidding process. Chief Justice, Tan Sri Md Raus Sharif said as reported by The Star, “It can save time and travel costs as the bidder does not have to be at court to join an auction. No matter where they are, bidders can use a smartphone to utilise e-Lelong. It is all at the tip of our fingers.”

The first in Malaysia, that surely sounds convenient and could potentially change the bidding game. While many may seem happy with the changes, some have expressed their concerns. Chairman of Penang’s Auctioneer Association, Stephen Soon, has a few matters that need clarification. Below are what he expressed in regards to the Chief Justice’s statements (in sub-headers), in his own words.

1. "e-Lelong will attract more bidders to bid"

Will e-Lelong attract more bidders to bid? Where online bidders are concerned, it is everything about exposure. The BEST website design is NOT effective if no one knows about it. With the right marketing and promotions, it should reach more buyers. My question is, do the High Court maintain a database of potential buyers? If yes, may I know which department is keeping and growing this database? If not, how can e-Lelong says that it will attract more bidders? Are there already processes in place to achieve this? Let us be fair to all potential buyers by telling everyone about it. - Soon

2. "The online system will have positive impact to the courts, the public who are bidders, the financial institutions and property owners (distressed owners)"

I hope that e-Lelong can provide more substantial evidence for this statement. Bidders want to bid in a non-manipulative environment, which means financial institutions and property owners (distressed owners) would definitely prefer to have a higher number of bidders. There is one advantage of e-Lelong - The courts are becoming better administratively since operating online allows everything to be completed without lots of manual paperwork.
The question is whether it is fair to all the stakeholders concerned? Does it help to recover more debts for the financial institutions when there are lesser bidder participation? Does it help the bidders who are non-internet users to own a house? Does it help the distressed owners to reduce more financial burden if his/her property is not selling at the highest possible price? - Soon

3. "e-Lelong will improve the efficiency of the entire bidding system."

Frankly speaking, I have been dealing with the court auction administrative matters for years, it is nothing new that “system down” was a frequent occurrence even with the e-filing or e-documents systems. Sometimes, instructions were wrongly sent and mixing up of e-filing document delivery is imminent.
All these are always causing huge inconveniences to the stakeholders and the general public who wants to become bidders. Auction should be open to as many bidders as possible. If we limit it to only those with online access, this is no longer a “public auction.” I believe it could be called restriction with no liberty to bid. - Soon

4. "e-Lelong will increase the chance for the public to own a property without pricing manipulation"

According to the National Land Code 1965, court auction is managed, administered and controlled fully by the courts. And public auction is an open and transparent process that involves competitive bidding to be sold only to the highest bidder. As such, how could pricing manipulation possibly arise under the court system? What would be the purpose for such manipulation since the court is only conducting the auctions as a neutral party to all stakeholders? - Soon

5. "e-Lelong, the bidder’s identity is not disclosed to enable bidders to bid without interference"

Under the current court auction system, bidder registration process is the sole responsibility of the court officers and auctioneers will only be revealed on the bidder’s identity upon commencement of auction. Therefore, even without e-Lelong, there is no question on bidding interference.
However, technical interference may possibly happen to the e-Lelong platform with bugs, system malfunction, connection issues, slow network communications and intermittent disconnections. - Soon

6. "The manual process involves many parties – court officers, bidders, licensed auctioneers and financial institutions"

It is a complicated and time-consuming process - be it online or manual process, the stakeholders are still the same stakeholders. Involvement of all the stakeholders are the requirement under law. Can the court do away with it for its own convenience? The courts are merely executing the order for sale that was filed by the financial institutions (the plaintiffs and the key stakeholder). Thus, their rights (all parties) must be protected under the law. Claiming manual auction is complicated and time-consuming process is not a valid argument.
Since we are talking about actual real estate properties, shouldn’t bidding or purchasing of real estate properties require more due diligence than bidding for a consumer item? Property buying needs more time for proper consideration. Does the court ever consider the public perception towards e-Lelong when even the normal buying of a property takes time too? Any implementation of public policy should first consider its public accessibility, in this case, it is the stakeholders’ accessibility.
Bidders must be prepared, understand the whole auction process well, feel positive and comfortable to bid. The property to be auctioned deserves to be given reasonable time to be marketed to reflect its real demand during an auction. It should not only to enable the court’s process to be faster. With e-Lelong and without auctioneers, it will be like buying a property without any inspection, searches, consultation, guidance and advice.
The court officers are well versed with the court procedures but certainly not the right people to guide buyers through a pleasant auction process. This is unlike manual bidding where everyone could see for themselves what was really happening right before their eyes. e-Lelong is however operated from behind any scrutiny and the court will certainly not be responsible for any disruption, delay, failure, mistake or loss of information that is submitted via the electronic platform. Therefore, e-Lelong will certainly bring more benefits to court but not necessarily to the bidder. - Soon

To Conclude

He also suggested to implement the dual-bidding mode to cater different demographic rather than making it available online only. Soon shared: “Until today, two of the world’s most famous auction houses, Christies’ and Sotheby’s are still conducting auctions manually and this has continued to help them set record-breaking auctions. These two auction giants conduct their auctions using BOTH the manual and online methods. Even as the bidders are bidding at live events which is the main platform, those from faraway places would have access to an online bidding platform.”

So, that’s what the Chairman of Penang had to say. What do you think? Will e-Lelong be a great bidding platform? Share your thoughts with us! Or check out other discussions here!

Are you interested to auction for properties? MNP Auctioneers provides complete and responsive property auction services, you might just want to check them out.


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Is this e-lelong only available in Penang?

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@domng no la, don't think that it is only in Penang, see here, can choose many states. Its probably countrywide. 

This article I guess only highlighting what the Penang Auctioneers Association thinks.

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I see... currently only have auction listing from Pahang... 

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@admin_ps good sharing