Making safety a priority
Lashed by monsoon rains, sun-baked over years of neglect and ravaged
by time, some 38 abandoned projects in Kuala Lumpur alone, costing
RM2 billion, still stand a chance to be revived - if the situation
improves for their owners or if they are taken over by white
However, how safe for revival are these weathered buildings? Can
their foundations still hold after years of neglect? Will the piling
stand the added weight of bricks and mortar?
Purchasers of such projects should not have cause for concern as
there are adequate legislative powers to ensure the structural
integrity of abandoned buildings that are being revived.
These powers are contained under the Streets, Drainage and Buildings
Act as well as in the planning requirements of the local
A spokesperson from the Petaling Jaya Municipal Council (MPPJ) said
under the Act, a project that has been abandoned for more than three
months cannot be revived without prior approval from the local
The developer would have to submit detailed information on the
building’s new plan, its structural information and other reports
required by the local authority before permission to resume work can
Besides these regulations, there are other provisions made for the
safety of structures under planning rules and building by-laws.
For instance, when an abandoned project is revived, civil and
structural engineers need to carry out a series of tests to ensure
the safety of the site and the structures on it, said the president
of the Institution of Engineers, Malaysia, Prof Abang Abdullah Abang
In a project, there may be some structures that may no longer be
deemed safe, and these would need to be demolished, he said.
In some cases, Prof Abang Abdullah said, deterioration in structural
integrity could be the direct result of improper construction.
“There are no grey areas when it comes to the issue of abandoned
projects. The consulting engineers who carry out the testing at the
site will decide whether to repair, strengthen or to demolish the
structures,” he explained.
In the case of abandoned housing projects, timber structures,
including doorframes that have been exposed to the elements, will
have to be replaced.
Abandoned projects are blights on the landscape. If developers are
consistent in sending bi-annual reports on all projects they
undertake, as required under the Section 7F of the Housing
Development Act, the problem of abandoned projects can be
drastically reduced, said the National Housebuyers’ Association
Its secretary-general Chang Kim Loong said: “The Ministry of Housing
and Local Government would do well to ensure that developers comply
with this regulation.”
Added HBA’s executive committee member Datuk Goh Seng Toh:
“Abandoned housing projects are placing a heavy toll on the finances
of the people. The Government should immediately take over these
projects, using Syarikat Perumahan Negara Bhd, and revive them.
“The Government should also investigate whether there has been
misappropriation of funds in the form of progress payments made by
the house buyers. Should this occur, then appropriate action should
be taken against the developers concerned.”