The four-storey First Garden Flats in Ipoh have become a haven for drug addicts, who have trespassed into the abandoned units there and illegally turned these into their home.
According to the property’s Management Committee Chairman K. Juganther Nathan, the problem started in 2000. Now, there around 20 drug addicts, who have occupied some of the units.
“No one dares to speak against them, fearing that they could get hurt.” In fact, some residents have spotted a machete-wielding man walking along the corridor.
But despite the many police reports lodged and the numerous appeals to the state and local governments, no action has been done to address this problem.
“I’ve also lodged complaints with Tenaga Nasional and the Perak Water Board to cut off the utilities supply. But the drug addicts somehow reconnected the electricity and water supplies to their units,” he said.
A 66-year-old resident by the name of Cheng revealed that the flats used to be a good place to live in. “I have been living here for about 30 years. It was such a nice place back then.”
But many families moved out due to limited space as each flat only has two bedrooms. In addition, the security situation has deteriorated to the point that burglaries have become a common occurrence.
“Just recently, I heard some people walking outside my unit around 4 am. When I checked later, a metal rod that I used to hang my laundry had gone missing.”
“It’s really getting out of hand here, we keep our doors locked all the time,” she noted.
In fact, the car battery of former lorry driver Yap Leong, 83, has been stolen twice since he started stayed there around three months ago.
Moreover, the vicinity of First Garden Flats has become a filthy dumping ground and a health hazard, said 58-year-old housewife S. Vijia
“There is garbage everywhere. The drains here are also clogged up and it’s so smelly.”
“This place is a dengue hotspot. I have contracted dengue twice,” she said.
According to Juganther, the management committee is struggling to hire cleaners as some residents don’t pay the maintenance fee for their units.
“Without funds, I cannot get people to come in and clean the premises,” he said, adding that there are around 100 residents living in the 280-unit property.
“Some residents just throw their rubbish everywhere and one illegal garbage pile was recently set on fire.”
As such, he is requesting help from the Ipoh City Council and the Perak state government.
Juganther noted that under Section 25 (1)(b) of the Building and Common Property (Maintenance and Management) Act of 2007, the city council’s Commissioner of Building can appoint a management agent to oversee the property if the officials are unsatisfied with the existing management.
“If the city council can turn the flats into one of its local council flats, it would be better,” he added.
Previously, the management committee asked the authorities to take over the flats in 2014, but city officials said they cannot take control of it as it is privately owned.
Meanwhile, 1Malaysia Complaints and Service Centre Chairman P. Matthew, who heard the complaints, revealed that the residents need urgent assistance as their flats are in a critical state.
“The relevant agencies are ignoring the issues here, ranging from cleanliness to public safety. Someone needs to come save the residents and this place.”
In particular, the Commissioner of Building should establish a special committee to address the issue. “I also propose that the police have a mobile operation room here more often or at least until the issues are resolved,” he added.
Image sourced from The Star.
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