Cleanliness an issue with Malaysia's public housing

Rubbish thrown from the upper floors litters the awning at PPR Sri Pantai.

KUALA LUMPUR - Checks around several People's Housing Projects (PPR) revealed that many of their facilities lacked proper maintenance.

Leaking pipes, dirty playground with broken swing chains, often faulty lifts and dirty corridors are a common sight at these low-cost flats.

PPR Kerinchi Residents' Association chairman Abdul Rahman Ahman, 53, spoke out against the row of stalls cluttered around the entrance of the flats.

"We have our own leaking pipes and rubbish to deal with but with these stalls congesting the area, traffic and parking is a nightmare.

"These stalls are not set up specifically for the Ramadan festive season but are here all year round."

Fellow resident Salehuddin Salleh, 60, complained about rainwater dripping from the ceiling each time it rains heavily.

"During a thunderstorm, the units right under the roof are the ones badly hit."

The Laksamana PPR at Jalan Peel, however, has solved most of its residential issues except for congested parking space.

"We don't have many problems here. If a lift is faulty, it is quickly repaired. I don't worry about my kids playing outside here as it's quite a safe place," said Nuraini Makmur, 35, a housewife who has been living here for nine years.

"We have a multiracial environment here and residents are satisfied with their management.

"Parking, however, is an issue. A few years ago, there were cases of bicycle and motorcycle thefts but none has happened lately," said Mohd Rizuan Marzuki, 19.

The Hiliran Ampang low-cost flats must be one of the most well-maintained PPRs.

Amat Ali, 60, a long-time resident there, says that the PPR has a regular cleaning schedule to keep the surroundings tidy.

"Every three months, we hold a gotong-royong involving all residents. They chip in and help out in any way they can. For every floor, we have appointed a 'head' who ensures that any rubbish along the corridor is removed."

Cleanliness is a priority for PPR Hiliran Ampang, says resident Reza Shah, 23.

"I've heard of irresponsible residents in other places throwing rubbish down from their units but here we only get the occasional drop of water and very rarely is food waste thrown out."

Over at Sri Pahang flats, the main concern is faulty railings and uneven stairs.

"No one has complained so far, so we have not called City Hall," said resident Wan Zahari Wan Isa, 47.

Bannuperiah Kalaippan, 18, another resident, however, disagreed.

"Residents have complained to City Hall but because many here do not settle their rent, City Hall is not bothered.

"The stairs are dangerous but luckily, there have been no untoward incidents or accidents."

Most of the residents of PPRs Streets interviewed were more concerned with their flats' cleanliness.

A resident of PPR Seri Pantai, Rafeah Abdul Razak, 16, who has been staying with her family for the past three years, said that many residents here do not care about the area's cleanliness.

"Not only do some of them throw rubbish from their units, especially from the upper floors, they also urinate wherever they like," she said.

"The stench is unbearable and imagine how bad it would stink what with the rubbish strewn everywhere here," said the mother of three, Moheden Wahab, 43.

Another resident who wanted to remain anonymous, said the problem is caused mainly by the residents themselves.

"Most of them do not pay their monthly rent. Therefore City Hall is not bothered to come over to clean up the place. I don't blame City Hall for that," she said.

In contrast, the nearby PPR Pantai Ria appeared clean when Streets visited the area.

Resident Azizan Mohd Nor, 21, however, claimed that some residents would recklessly throw their rubbish at night.

"We have contractors to clean up the place during the day but when night falls, rubbish would start piling up," he said.

Siti Fazilah Mohd Mydin, 38, was not happy with the faulty playground equipment and lack of parking space at Pantai Ria.

"My children can't play on the swings as they're broken. Parking is also a problem. Most of the time, people would just park their vehicles haphazardly," she said.

Another resident, Mohammad Yaacob, 48, who is satisfied with the cleanliness of the flats, however wants the flat management to solve the parking woes.

"Cleanliness is not an issue here. We have cleaning contractors coming over to do their job. What the flat management needs to do is add more parking space for the residents," he said.

PPR Kg Limau resident Raja Abdul Rahman Raja Abdul Aziz, 78, said most of the residents here have issues with the food stalls operating around their flats.

"There is this food stall operator who breeds chickens and even goats. He knows that this is not allowed by City Hall but he couldn't care less," said Raja Abdul Rahman.

Salbiah Mohd Nor, 65, added that some of the stall operators would dispose of the food waste into the drain.

"Not only does the drain get clogged, it also emits a strong stench," she said.

Food stall owner, Aminah Othman, 60, said she has been rearing chickens at the PPR for many years now.

"City Hall once took away my goats but allowed me to rear chickens," she said.

Aminah said the main reason she rears chickens is because the birds would help eat all the leftover food from her stall.

"I would rather feed the animals than throw the leftovers away," she said.

A City Hall spokesman, when contacted, said: "Residents are not permitted to breed or rear animals around the PPR. We will not hesitate to seize the animals and fine the owner."