Scandals, property, contracts and iPad 2
Writer: Lord Bobo
Published: Fri, 27 May 2011
Why is it that the “most-read” articles on Malaysian online news sites are always either about gossip, sex scandals, or other frivolous issues? @Regina S, via email
We assume that this is because the other news is just too boring, or hopeless. How many times can one be expected to read about promises made by politicians, or proclamations that the Malaysian economy is in amazing health, when we know as a fact that the price of our food, drink, rent, clothes, petrol, and very survival is as high as it has ever been?
So it should be no surprise that the most read “news” items are usually about tragedies, celebrity gossip, or sex (including sex crimes). Who knows why headlines like “woman tricked into gang rape” seem to be irresistible to the Malaysian reader? Perhaps they expect photos?
Dear Lord Bobo, I thought I read last year that most “experts” were saying that property prices had hit the ceiling, and would soon stop rising. What’s happening? @Homeless, via email
The seemingly unstoppable rise of property prices in the Klang Valley is a strange phenomenon. But it is not a unique one. His Supreme Eminenceness has experienced many property bubbles in his intergalactic travels. In the Malaysian context, it has gotten so crazy that even terrace houses which cost RM500,000 five years ago are now going for close to RM1,000,000. All this makes it very difficult for the aspiring homeowner.
However, look deeper into the reality of the situation, and one finds an even stranger fact: properties are still being transacted like hot cakes. Almost any half-decent property development launch is sold out within a week, if not immediately upon launching. People complain about the prices on the secondary market, but there are still willing buyers, and of course very willing sellers.
The government has tried to rein in the market in recent months, introducing a limit on the margin of financing banks can make available to buyers who are buying properties for investment (as opposed to as their residence). It is a ridiculously unhealthy situation when buyers are allowed to finance up to 95% of the purchase price for more than 30 years.
As to the prices themselves, well, it’s a free market isn’t it? If someone owns a property, and wants to sell it, and people are willing to pay a high amount for it, which seller in his or her right mind would not want transact on the highest purchase price possible?
Lord Bobo, I’m thinking of setting up my own business, but need a business partner to provide the capital. What are the key points to look out for in our partnership agreement? @See Mah Nee, via email
First of all, See Mah Nee, the fact that you’re writing to ask a monkey in a wig about an agreement that is going to define the success or failure of your partnership is alarming. Despite appearances, His Supreme Eminenceness is not a lawyer – Lord Bobo did not manage to obtain any form of official education or professional qualifications due to the tragic but ultimately happy nature of his childhood.
Upon consultation with our earthly lawyer minions, we can however tell you that the most important things in a partnership agreement – as with a partnership of any nature really – is how much each party puts in (effort, money, time, liability), and how a party can either get out, or kick the other one out. Unfortunately, that is as much information as the lawyer minions were willing to give. After all, they want to See Mah Nee too!
Did you queue up to get an iPad 2? @Steve Jobs, via email
Steve! Good to hear from you! (We obviously know it’s not really you, since the email was sent using a Yahoo! email account). No, Lord Bobo does not queue, ever. Especially for the purchase of earthly products.
His Supreme Eminenceness believes that any manufacturer or retailer which makes customers queue for hours to purchase a product obviously doesn’t understand a basic rule of retail: always have more products made than you expect to sell. These Apple folk obviously don’t know how to make money – which is why we prefer bananas.
Lord Bobo is only joking, obviously. We know that the shortage is intentional, and helps create a hype and exclusivity around products, which add to their desirability. This is exactly what happened with the limited edition ONLY tee. Despite protests, pleas, petitions and lots of wailing and gnashing of teeth, no more ONLY tees will be produced.
Instead, LoyarBurok is coming up with several brand-spanking-new designs. If you’re interested in snapping up what’s left of the ONLY tee (selected sizes only), or to be kept up-to-date with the new tees, do drop an email to email@example.com. We promise you won’t have to queue.