14 June 2013

PUTRAJAYA: Former estate workers who were relocated to Dengkil 11 years ago to make way for the development of Putrajaya gathered outside the Prime Minister’s Department yesterday to press the federal government to solve their housing woes.

About 50 residents representing 400 families of the Taman Permata flats stood outside the Prime Minister’s Department bearing placards for about an hour.

The residents, all former workers of the Sedgeley, Medingly, Prang Besar and Galloway estates, had complained about the poor condition of their dwellings several times over the years, complaining that the flats had cracked walls, clogged drains and broken sewage pipes.

|They have been living in the flats, which have not been awarded a certificate of fitness because they are situated alongside a Petronas gas line, for over a decade.

Parti Sosialis Malaysia secretary general S Arutchelvan, who was present to deliver a memorandum to the prime minister, said residents are pushing for the federal government to build low-cost terrace houses on 18 acres (7.3ha)  that have been allocated by the Selangor government.

“The Selangor government had agreed to give the land but said the federal government has to build the houses because the estate workers were relocated for a federal government project,” he said.

The memorandum was accepted by the assistant special officer in the Prime Minister’s Department, Thanaselan Rajendran.

On Tuesday, the supporting beam of Block 5 of the Taman Permata flats developed a large crack, placing 80 families in danger.

They were evacuated by the Sepang Municipal Council (MPS) with the help of the Fire and Rescue Department.

About 60 residents have been relocated to a community hall in Dengkil and others are living in tents, erected by MPS, outside the block.

On Wednesday, the state and federal Public Works Department informed residents that the block of four-storey flats was safe for occupation.

However, fresh cracks appeared yesterday morning, causing apprehension among residents dwelling in their residences.

According to the memorandum, the Selangor government had employed engineering consultancy Ikram to conduct an in-depth study on the flats over the last two years. The study concluded that the flats were not safe for occupation.

Another report by the Selangor government engineering consultant concluded the flats were beyond repair.

Arutchelvan said the land below the five blocks of flats was badly eroded.

“MPS engineers would come periodically to fill the earth.”

“But even the sewage system of the flats does not work,” he added.

According to residents, sewage water seeps from the bathroom walls every time the toilet is used.

Arutchelvan said MIC president Datuk Seri G Palanivel had visited the residents in September last year and promised RM2.5 million towards the maintenance of the flats.

However, no action has been forthcoming so far.

The residents were initially promised homes in Air Hitam Puchong but were moved to Taman Permata Dengkil hurriedly.

In 2009, MIC Youth chief T Mohan visited the area and had promised to submit a report to the Works Ministry and the Prime Minister’s Department after a study on the residence was conducted.

However, no help was extended to the families despite a 24-hour protest in which 300 residents slept at the side of the main Dengkil road in August, 2010.

When contacted, Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is aware of the matter as it had been previously raised in the Cabinet by Palanivel and Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S Subramaniam.

“The prime minister told me to look into the matter, identify solutions and prepare a report on the current situation for the Cabinet next week.

“I have already instructed my officers to prepare the briefing report and also on ways we can work with the state government to solve the issue,” he added.

The Taman Permata flats were built by Putrajaya Corp and state government-linked company Permodalan Negeri Selangor Bhd.

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This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on June 14, 2013.


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