Help, our houses are sinking!
Residents fear being buried alive
16/02/2009 NST By Sheila Sri Priya
Heng Bung Teik and his wife one of the residents, Chay Chee Sung looking at
the cracks in one of the affected houses. — Picture by Nik Rosli Ishak
PETALING JAYA: For the past 15 years, residents in Jalan SM1, Taman Sri
Manja in Batu 61/2, Old Klang Road, have been living in fear that one day
they will be buried under their own houses.
Some of the ceilings have cracked so badly that residents have resorted to
using beams to support the them.
Hundreds of double-storey terrace houses which were built on a former mining
pool, are sinking and residents believe that this is because the soil was
not compacted properly when the houses were being constructed.
As a result, there is constant soil movement and this has caused cracks in
the houses. Residents also complained that there are water leakages, broken
pipes and damaged drains.
Several affected houses are being rebuilt by the developer but many of the
residents are in the dark as to whether their houses would also be rebuilt.
They claimed that they had been complaining to the developer, Susunan Baru
Sdn Bhd, since they moved into their houses 15 years ago but there has not
been any firm solution in sight.
The frustrated residents said all the developer did was to carry out minor
repairs and touch-ups.
"A neighbour who lived in the same row as us has vacated his house because
of these cracks. We can't go anywhere as we are still servicing our housing
loans and we also have other commitments," said Chay Chee Sung, a resident.
Chay said the floor of her house has cracked so badly that there were
patches of different coloured tiles on her porch.
"I have resorted to cementing just a portion of the porch as it is cheaper
considering that the cracks will appear again.
"The developer does send his contractors to do some repair work but this is
only on the surface. We are worried for our safety," said Chay.
She said her rooftop and that of her neighbour's were affected by constant
water leakages which stained the walls.
Senior citizen Goh Ah Hock is upset with the constant occurrence of floods
in the area. His family had to raise the porch to keep the flood waters at
"I want to continue living here and the developer must do something about
this problem," said Goh.
The residents have proposed several options to the developer. They want the
developer to buy back the affected houses based on current market price.
They also called on the developer to provide compensation for the
reconstruction of the houses or to rebuild them.
Another option is for the developer to allow the house owners to exchange
their damaged houses for shoplots at a two-storey commercial block built by
the developer a few metres away.
They also want the developer to provide a legal letter stating its
commitment to rebuild the houses if that is the chosen option.
The house owners claimed that the market price for their houses ranged
between RM300,000 and RM400,000.
They said that they had rejected the developer's offer to buy back the
houses for RM180,000 as it was unreasonable.
"We don't mind trading the houses for the developer's double-storey shoplots
and top up the additional cost but we want a fair deal," said another
resident, Heng Bung Teik.
Taman Medan assemblyman Haniza Talha urged the developer to come up with a
solution soon to avert a tragedy.
"The residents fear their houses may collapse one day. Lives can't be
replaced with any amount of cash," said Haniza.
When contacted, a spokesperson from Susunan Baru Sdn Bhd refused to comment,
adding that the company's boss was in China.