KUALA LUMPUR: The public are advised to approach legal or registered real estate agents (REA) or real estate negotiators (REN) if they wish to purchase any property, said the Board of Valuers, Appraisers and Estate Agents Malaysia (BOVAEA). BOVAEA Estate Agency Practice Committee chairman Eric Lim said that all registered REA or REN are given a tag with a unique number and it is an obligation for these individuals to wear the tag when they are in the course of doing any businesses. “These numbers will also appear in their name card and all promotion materials including newspaper advertisement, portal, banners or even signboard and anyone who provides real estate services for a fee and are not registered with BOVAEA as REA or REN are considered as illegal agents or brokers. “Additionally, those who sells or acts as marketing agents for developers in shopping complexes or exhibition halls and are not registered with BOVAEA as REA or REN are considered as illegal agents too and these people are punishable under Section 30 of the Valuers, Appraisers and Estate Agents Act 1981 (Act 242) & Rules,” Lim told reporters during a press conference at the MCA Public Services and Complaints Department today. He said the penalty under the section is a fine of up to RM300,000 or imprisonment for a term of up to three years or both. Department head Datuk Seri Michael Chong said that it is important for the public to remember the aforementioned guidelines as there are around 50,000 illegal agents at large. “We must always be careful when we are buying any property or otherwise we might end up losing all our savings to these individuals who operate illegally," he said.