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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 bay.

"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.


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