Exploring the surveying discipline in Malaysia
By: Aisyah Suwardi
A surveyor is an integral profession within the real estate industry. It is divided into four branches under the Royal Institution of Surveyor Malaysia (RISM) which are - geomatic and land surveying, property surveying, building surveying and quantity surveying. Those eligible are given the title Sr (surveyor) title if they are registered with the institute.
“In the property surveying division, what we do includes the valuation of real estate, property estate agency and property management. Recently, we have also added the intangible assets valuation into our portfolio,” said RISM president Datuk Sr Lau Wai Seang.
A relatively new field, intangible assets valuers are now part of the property surveying - a discipline which was only effective November of last year.
“After RISM amended the constitution last year, the intangible assets valuer is added as part of property management division. Previously the valuers in RISM refers to the real estate valuer.
“Intangible assets valuation used to be done mainly by an accountant. The division was promoted by the Intellectual Property Corporation of Malaysia (MyIPO) whereby they trained 60 people, and afterwards, we have to sit for an exam, organised by MyIPO and World Trade Institute (WTI) Switzerland,” Lau elaborated.
As one of the 23 who passed the exam, Lau mentions that the participants are all from a mixed background.
“There is an IP lawyer, IP valuation, IP filing agent, an accountant, and myself from the property surveying. I saw that there isn’t an organisation that can represent the intangible assets valuer, so I took up the challenge of putting them under RISM as a professional development body,” she added.
Graduated from University Technology Malaysia (UTM) with a Bachelor of Surveyor (Property Management), Lau commented that she began gaining interest after taking the course.
“During my secondary school, I took commerce stream, majoring in accounting. And back then, we don’t have any counsellors or teachers guiding us to make choices in University, so we do it between ourselves.
“Since every course has a certain qualification that has to be comply, I follow the guidelines and eventually, the program (Property Management) is what aligned the most with the subjects that I took,” she explained.
Expecting a course that involves accounting and mathematics, Lau discovers that the program was not what she expected.
“During the five years of my undergraduate study in UTM, I learnt the subject such as laws regarding the property in Malaysia, we also have accounting subjects,” shared Lau.
Working with Jabatan Penilaian dan Perkhidmatan Harta (JPPH) after she graduated up until she retires, Lau shared with StarProperty.my her career journey.
“When I first started, I was tasked to do the valuation job which includes visiting the site, going to the land office to check for land titles and we also went to the planning department to check on the planning status.
“In JPPH, we were called valuation officer (pegawai penilaian) with different job scope assigned under the title. There is an officer who handles the research department or doing training or doing valuation. Government body uses grade to promote an employee, but the title remains the same,” she explained.
Pointing out how the job has evolved over the years, Lau said the introduction of technology has benefited the job greatly.
“Software such as Google maps helps valuers to check out the area around the property that they are valuing before they go and visit the place. Some property is not as easily accessible, for example previously when I was in Sarawak, I had to go to Lambir to value an estate.
“The road going there is tough, and the driver keeps having to change from left to right as there are other incoming lorries from every side,” Lau shared during the interview.
“Property is like an individual. Every property is unique in its way. So to evaluate them properly, a valuer must visit the property and see it for themselves.
“Different property will acquire a different sort of valuation. Like I mentioned when I went to Lambir to value an estate, I stayed there for two days because I need to know the operation, and the activity done by the estate.
“If you evaluate a warehouse, you will need to know what is the volume that they can occupy, etc.,” ended Lau.