Saturday, November 16, 2013

Abandoned flats in Jalan Kuching now a haunt for drug addicts

A view of the abandoned units near the Jalan Kuching PKNS flats in Jalan Jambu Mawar. 
Many units were in a horrible state of decline with glass shards, bottles, wood and old furniture strewn all across the floor.
RESIDENTS and business operators living in the remaining 200 units in the PKNS flats along Jalan Jambu Mawar in Jalan Kuching, Kuala Lumpur are concerned about their safety and their property as almost 400 units in the area left abandoned have become a haunt for drug addicts and criminal activities. During a StarMetro visit to the area, many units were found to be in a deplorable condition, with waste such as bottles, broken furniture, used needles and other items strewn about. The metal piping and wiring in all the units have also been stripped bare by the vandals and addicts.
A motorcycle mechanic, who only wished to be known as Lim, said the units were abandoned about five years ago, and were now being used by drug addicts as their den, instilling fear among the remaining residents and business operators as there has been an increase in crime such as robbery, snatch theft and vandalism in the area.
“Even the telephone wiring to my shop has been stolen numerous times. Following complaints, Telekom Malaysia Bhd fixed new wiring but even this was ripped off.
“I was fed up and eventually disconnected the telephone service,” he said, adding that he had to also replace the water meter several times after it was stolen.
Rohit, 25, a sundry shop worker said this year alone, his shop had been robbed twice, once at knife point.
 “They took money, cigarettes and telephone prepaid cards. We are living in fear as they may strike again,” said the Bangladeshi worker.
Out of fear, most business operators in the area have resorted to closing shop by about 7pm.
The residents said they are also worried about their children’s safety. “After it gets dark, I keep them indoors, with the doors and windows closed.
“During the day, I warn my children not to play near the abandoned buildings,” said Sarimah Ibrahim, 44, a housewife.
When contacted, Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng said 15 blocks were built by the PKNS in the 1970’s, when the land was still part of Selangor. In 1975, 380 units were sold to the Defence Ministry and in 2008, the staff living in the flats moved to new quarters near Jalan Ipoh and the units have been left abandoned since then. Of the remaining five blocks, comprising 220 units, 216 were sold to the public, two units are still being rented out and two units serve as the PKNS site office.
He said the maintenance of the five blocks comprising Blocks E, F, G, H and J are still PKNS’ responsibility, while the 10 blocks comprising Blocks A, B, C, D, K, L, M, N, P and Q come under the Defence Ministry.
“I have written two letters to the then Defence Minister Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi in 2010 asking about future plans for the abandoned units but never got a reply,” he said.
Lim said he hoped Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor would take some form of action, such as getting Kuala Lumpur City Hall to acquire the land for re-development.

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