THE TAMAN Putra Damai and Kota Damansara public housing project were built by the Federal government to uplift low-income families and help them obtain decent, secure and clean housing.
Both the high-rise low-cost projects were handed over to the Selangor government with the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) acting as the landlord to ensure high standards of maintenance. However, MBPJ has failed to put in place strategic measures to ensure good upkeep of the two projects.
Selangor MCA liasion committee vice-bureau chief for health affairs Datin Wong Fong Leng said the Federal government had built the public housing projects to provide houses with affordable rental for low-income families, senior citizens and the disabled.
“We are flabbergasted that MBPJ has failed to put into place mechanisms to ensure that the apartments are kept in a liveable condition. MBPJ claims the vacant units were vandalised, leaving it without water and electrical connections but this state of disrepair would not have happened if the council had stationed two enforcement officers to patrol each block in shifts,” she said.
Taman Putra Damai PPR, which comprises eight blocks of 12-storey buildings, has 428 vacant apartments while Kota Damansara has 158 vacant units that have been vandalised and are unfit to live in.
Yesterday, Wong who visited the apartments said MBPJ was wasting rate-payers’ money carrying out the repairs over and over while it ignored simple but vital precautions to prevent if from happening.
“I have been told the council wanted to cut down on overtime for enforcement officers. Overtime would not have come too much but the repairs are costing close to RM1mil annually. Now, the council has resorted to the unwise move of getting the new tenants to rehabilitate the apartments and move in,” she said.
“This goes against the Federal government’s idea of providing affordable housing.
“The Selangor government and MBPJ are unable to manage the public housing and have shifted the blame to the people. Now, the urban poor are burdened with repair bills that are no fault of theirs. The vandalism could have been done by outsiders,” she said.
Wong said MBPJ, as the landlord, must keep the structure, exterior and interior of the properties in good condition and whatever damage must be put right.
“Landlords must ensure that premises rented out are fit to be lived in. People are not demanding for a furnished apartment but it must be fit to live in. Basic amenities and even the front door must be intact. But here the front doors are missing. It is outrageous,” she said.
She said based on feedback, tenants are afraid to keep their motorbikes in the parking area and even resort to bringing the vehicles up to their units.
“If the Selangor government cares for the people then it must order MBPJ to provide enforcement officers to guard the flats and give peace of mind to the tenants. I have been told some miscreants take the opportunity to cannibalise the stolen bikes in the vacant units and this is a crime,” Wong said.
She added that MBPJ must repair all the lifts within two weeks and not cause further hardship to the people