The Ampang Jaya City Council has gone viral yesterday (31st May 2022), after they had shared a series of images showing how officers were called in to demolish what appears to be an illegal extension constructed on the ground floor unit of a flat building. The extension, which only appears midway done with unfinished brick walls adding to the flat unit’s structure, was torn down by the use of a bulldozer.
MPAJ demolishes illegal flat extension
According to the City Council, the extension had been constructed on an area designated as common property and was in violation of sections 133 and 757 of the Strata Titles Act 1985.
“As a consequence, the Ampang Jaya City Council has been left with no choice but to carry out it’s responsibility as a local authority (PBT) to demolish the illegally constructed structure.” they wrote.
The incident was said to have taken place on 25th May 2022 at Blok 4 of Flat UTM in Jalan AU3/1, and had involved personnel from the Department Buildings & Architecture in addition to those from the city council itself. They have also reminded residents of flats, apartments and condominiums that the property owner’s space is only confined to their respective lots, while pointing out the dangers that such illegal structures can pose in the event of disasters.
“The safety of other residents must also be taken into account, because such extensions may hamper emergency responders from their rescue work during disasters,” it stated.
And while many have supported the decision for the City Council to take immediate action on the construction, others have called for them to practice impartiality and take similar action on other homeowners who have also built illegal home extensions.
“I support what the MPAJ is doing. But be fair. There are still plenty of flats around Pandan Jaya and Pandan Indah that have also made illegal extensions. Similar action should be taken on them too.”
“Good job, MPAJ! Please check around the AU1-AU5 area, and areas surrounding it too. Thanks!”
“Some of these structures have been built for a while, and yet no action has ever been taken. Or maybe it’s just in the fact that those homes know how to hide from the authorities? Only when things go viral are they willing to demolish all of it. If things don’t go viral, nobody cares.”
Uncle Kentang offers a different point of view
On the flipside, notable local social activist and philanthropist Mr Kuan Chee Heng, otherwise known as Uncle Kentang within the community, has offered up a different opinion over the matter. Pointing out that these low-cost flats are owned by Malaysians of all races who are all facing the same challenges brought on by poverty, Kuan says that public flats are simply not family-friendly.
“These flats usually have two rooms and only a single bathroom. If you need to use the toilet, you’ll need to take a number. I’m talking about older flats. When you sleep, you would probably even have to protect your own modesty.”
“Look at the Dato Harun village. It’s incredible saddening to see families with so many children. The homeless sleep better on the streets than those who live in flats.” he said.
Raising the issue of having older children share a space in such cramped confines and the lack of privacy that it affords all members of a family, he adds that most households who build these illegal extensions do so as they can’t afford a larger terraced home.
“The next time if the state government decides on building a flat, they should consider building ones with a minimum of three rooms and two bathrooms, complete with a toilet bowl, as some elderly folk may not be able to squat anymore.”
As for the illegal home extensions themselves, he said that if they pose no immediate danger to any other residents, then the authorities should simply consider fining the homeowners, as opposed to destroying the structure outright. He also encourages neighbours to be more tolerant of one another, and to avoid making reports to the local authorities out of envy if those living around them chose to build home extensions.
“Not everyone can lead an easy life. The money that they use for renovations, it could be money that they have accumulated over years by saving a little bit from here and there, where they can. Sometimes they will even resort to taking out loans from relatives or loan sharks.”
What are your thoughts on the matter?