Over the years working in the property development industry, I’ve often asked our land surveyors to do a title search. What’s a title search? Basically, if you are interested in a piece of land, doing a title search at the local land office will tell you who the owner is, and other stuff like his address and and land details. If you are the owner and want build a house or sell the land, a title search is the official confirmation from the Land Office that you are the owner of the land.
Law firms also commonly do title searches whenever there is a legal procedure tied to the land or property.
All this while, our consultant land surveyor handles title searches. Recently, we needed searches for 91 plots owned by my company. Apparently, one person can search up to only 15 titles in a day. So we needed at least 6 people to do the job. The one extra title can be done with some persuasion to the counter staff. So i was on the phone with the consultant (a young surveyor about 2 years out of college).
“So i meet you at land office tomorrow lah. What time ah?” I said.
“Seven, ah, Mr. Simon.” She chirped.
“Seven something? Why so early?”
“Mr. Simon, its seven o’clock, not seven something ah. Have to be early to get ticket.”
Er, okay. I’m fine with waking up at 6am, i do that 2-3 times a week these days anyway. i’m just worried about traffic on the Federal Highway.
Anywy, this morning, i reached Land Office (PTG) in the Selangor State Secretariat (SUK) at 6.50am. I was THE FIRST CAR in the parking lot. My other 2 colleagues reached almost the same time with me. No sign of the 3 guys from the consultant. When we walked into land Office, there was a line of bags and satchels arranged neatly in front of the ticketing counter, stretching about 10 meters. Now i understand why i have to be tere so bloody early.
The 3 consultants ambled in at 7.20am and they were a further 10 meters behind our bags. Meanwhile the waiting hall was slowly filled with runners, despatch riders, other consultants, rookie lawyers, all waiting for the counter to open. Maybe i should mention something cliched here about the obvious camaraderie and friendliness among the regulars here of different races showing the true spirit of Malaysia, but its true.
So anyway, from 6.50am to 8.30am, I went to the cafeteria for breakfast, read my Cormac McCarthy book (good thing i brought it). The ticketing counter opens at 8.30am sharp, so as the clock ticks nearer, everyone starts standing in the place of their bags / placeholder. Its a narrow space between the seats and the public phones, so its kind of a cram. When the counter opens, the line moves really fast, if you’re late to claim your place, its gone forever. In less than 2 minutes, more than 200 tickets are issued and the counter is closed. Wow.
After that burst of activity, it mellows down again as we wait for our number (mine was starting at 115). Each ticket can search a max of 5 titles, each person can take up to 3 tickets only, hence the 15 title limit. Took me another 2.5 hours of waiting, in which i had a power nap, had another trip to the cafeteria for a mid morning snack, read newspapers, etc.
Anyway, when your turn comes, its rather straightforward. Hand in your form (pre filled in, please), pay the fee (a whopping RM50 per search), collect the printout. Of course, holding three consecutive tickets makes it trickier.
Anyway, everything done, was back by in office by 12.30pm. They weren’t joking when they said it would take at least half a day.