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Six-year-old low-cost flats falling apart

23/07/09 The Star Story and photos by SALINA KHALID

HAVING a house to call one’s own is a dream come true for most people, what more if they are moving from a squatter home that has provided shelter for years to a new, legal house of their own.

This was the case for the 700 families from the Kampung Lindungan squatter colony in Sungai Way, Petaling Jaya, and they leapt at the chance to buy low-cost flats at Desa Mentari, which replaced the old colony.

Unsavoury: Residents said there were many unresolved issues relating to the building which seems to be deteriorating fast.

That was six years ago. However, now their houses are in a bad state, with cracks appearing in the walls and uneven walkways due to soil movements.

“We are worried for our safety and the situation is getting worse by the day. I cannot imagine what it will be like in five years’ time,” residents association committee member Zainal Kamaruzzaman said.

Zainal said the pathways on the ground floor started to become uneven several years ago. He said works to correct the problem were carried out but it had only returned, worse than before.

Disturbing sight: Residents checking up on one of the gaping holes (below) in the walkway, which reveal a hollow interior.

Acccording to him, in some spots, the concrete slabs have come off, exposing a void underneath.

“We discovered how bad the condition is while we were installing a metal railing to block motorcyclists from entering the lift area.

“Then we found out that there was nothing under the concrete – it was just a hole filled with water,” he said.

Zainal said the condition had also caused the water in the drains surrounding the flat to stay stagnant, which made them breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

He added that the residents had to constantly clear the drain every time it rained.

Zainal also said fine hairline cracks had appeared throughout the building, especially in Block 2 of Desa Mentari.

“The white marks that run down the wall show that there is water seeping out.

“Sometimes, when it rains, water comes into the houses through these cracks,” he claimed.

Meanwhile, resident Hazman Mat Ali alleged that the flats did not have a Certificate of Fitness (CF) for occupancy.

He said the developer Mentari Properties Sdn Bhd had obtained temporary CFs but had never replaced it with the proper CFs.

Hazman, who is also the MBPJ Zone 24 residents representative council committee member, said they had lodged numerous complaints with both the MBPJ and the developer.

He said they had come to visit several times but the problems were still not solved.

“We want someone to do a thorough study on this place and determine whether it is actually safe for us to live here.

“Don’t wait until something bad happens before carrying out a proper study and taking the appropriate action,” he said.

Hazman added that in 2004, the residents had a rude awakening when the roof of their building fell and hit a car during a thunderstorm.

He said earlier this month the Selangor Housing, Building and Squatter Management committee chairman Iskandar Abdul Samad and Seri Setia assemblyman Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad had visited the site and Iskandar had promised to look into the situation.

“We hope they will reveal the findings of any investigation to us,” Hazman said.

Kelana Jaya MP Low Gwo Burne, who visited the site on Tuesday, also promised to bring the matter up with the local authority.

“I will also ask the developer to find out what can be done to rectify the situation,” he said.

He added that although there was no immediate danger, there was no guarantee that it would be the same in a few years.


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