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The endless plight

31/12/2009 The Star
Reports by BAVANI M, LIM CHIA YING, JAYAGANDI JAYARAJ, PRIYA MENON and CHOONG MEK ZHIN

A new year symbolises a new beginning and new hopes. But when issues beset the city year after year, it is hard to welcome the new year with optimism.

FOR years, many dwellers at Peopleís Public Housing (PPR) units in Kuala Lumpur have been renting from the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) a space no more than 700 sq ft and they call this their home.

When the Federal Government announced on Oct 10 that some selected PPR flats are for sale, these dwellers were overjoyed and thought they could finally own a unit.

A total of 44,146 units were announced for sale and the launch was done by none other than the Prime Minister himself.

However, in reality, some of these residents, who were initially elated by the news, are doubtful if they could ever buy these units.

This is because the fees and conditions that come along with the offer letter and sales & purchase agreement are too troublesome and which they cannot afford to pay.

Not all dwellers are well and work ing. There are the special cases who are either old, retired, single without family members, and those who depend on welfare aid to survive.


In action: A file picture of a tout harrassing a female driver for money after she alights from her car
Several of these people, when interviewed, said the various fees like litigation, strata title payment and monthly maintenance charges are too costly for them to bear.

Many singles have complained over being singled out in the application aspect. Some of these long-staying single dwellers have also been renting like anyone else for the same period of time and their choice of staying single should not be the deciding factor when it comes to buying an unit.

Then there are residents who have even asked if the monthly rental that has been paid over the years can be used as downpayment for theunits.

Also, in many cases, these flats are old and shabby.

It is only reasonable that the residents ask that DBKL repairs basic problems like leaking pipes and tanks before these units are sold to them?

The DBKL refused, saying that some residents have not been paying their due maintenance charges and as such repair works could not be carried out.

The onus is on the DBKL to look into this and not let it drag on until the amount accumulates.

Other than the PPR sales woes, another issue plaguing the city is the presence of jaga kereta boys operating illegally at many parts of the city, especially busy areas.

The first busted operation was at 4 and 1/2 mile Jalan Cheras, where the Old Town White Coffee was enjoying brisk business until a group of these touts came to collect parking charges from customers who park at designated lots that are under the jurisdiction of DBKL.

Following the group being caught red-handed collecting money, others came back later to intimidate the outletís staff.

Then we received e-mails from readers who complained about popular Jalan Telawi in Bangsar where these illegal touts boldly harrass motorists who park for money.

Many readers were up in arms against the touts who they said have no business or right demanding money and that people are forced to pay out of fear of damage to their vehicles.

One reader even said DBKL officers are quick to issue summonses during the day if people do not pay parking fees but why isnít DBKL ensuring that these touts do not extort peopleís hard-earned money?

Some have suggested that people park elsewhere, further from where the touts are, or simply do not give in. But the crux of the issue is that these touts have no right to operate and why should people avoid parking at DBKL designated lots just because of these touts?

Enforcement is the only answer to this problem. Where is the DBKL, the people asked, when it comes to stern action, and what about police action since the touts are even threatening people?

In response to the overwhelming number of Ďvictimisedí people, the Brickfields police and DBKL said they would come down hard on these illegal jaga kereta boys. But they urge the public to tip them off about the toutsí whereabouts.

Letís see if this menace will be curbed soon.

 

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