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House buyers yet to get compensation

21/01/2008 The Star Story and photos by Geetha Krishnan

MORE than a decade has passed but a group of house buyers in Taman Bukit Mewah Phase 1 Kajang are still fighting for compensation in cash and kind for their damaged homes.

The matter has even been brought to the attention of the Prime Minister’s Department in Putrajaya but the developer in question is still dodging responsibility.

Abandoned: Two of the seven houses that were vacated after the Selangor government ordered them to shift out.

The homeowners’ predicament began soon after they moved in, back in 1991. Cracks slowly began to appear in various parts of some 35 houses and they widened through the months.

When the situation got out of control, residents of seven badly damaged houses were ordered to move out by the state government because their houses were deemed unfit for occupation upon checks by Ikram’s (Public Works Institute of Malaysia) consultants.

Listening intently: (From left) Yap, Samsuri, Kajang Municipal Council engineer Fadilah Razali and Abdullah at the press conference.

“Upon receiving the preliminary complaints, the developer repaired the cracks and damaged ceilings because these were covered under the defect liability period. After the period expired and more damage occurred, they refused to assume responsibility,” said Taman Bukit Mewah Phase 1 action committee chairman K. Shanmuganathan, who was among those forced to move out.

The action committee held a press conference recently to find out the outcome of the directive issued in July 2007 by the Kajang Municipal Council to the developer to repair all the damaged houses and award compensation to the residents.

Deputy council president Abdullah Marjunid, who was present, said there were technical glitches that needed sorting out and that the council was waiting for a decision on the matter from the state exco.

When pressed further by Bangi assemblyman Datuk Dr Amran Kasimin and Serdang MP Datuk Yap Pian Hon who also attended the press conference, Abdullah finally revealed that the developer was reluctant to pay.

This led the affected residents to question why the local, state and federal governments were reluctant to act against errant developers who were only concerned with profit margins and refused to accept any form of social responsibility when they were clearly in the wrong.

Action committee vice-chairman Samsuri Abdullah said the various methods used by the developer, like the intermittent repairs and grouting, did not solve the problem. Following complaints from residents, Ikram also carried out soil tests and various reports were submitted.

“Following the authorities’ intervention, the developer agreed to pay compensation in the form of monthly loan repayments to the bank but this stopped after a few months and those of us who moved out and bought another house have been forced to service two loans,” he said.

Resident See Han Jye who moved into his house in 1991, stayed there barely two years. He now lives elsewhere because his house was declared unfit for occupation.

Another resident wryly commented that when the cracks appeared, lizards could go through the gaps. Now, the cracks are wide enough to accommodate monitor lizards.


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