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Take Action Over Derelict Homes, Councils Urged

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JOHOR BARU – Local councils have been accused of not doing enough when it comes to abandoned houses, especially those in older housing areas in the town area.

Stulang assemblyman Andrew Chen Kah Eng said complaints from neighbours suffering from mosquito and rodent problems at such houses were frequent.

“Some of these houses are also used by drug addicts or other groups at night as they provide cheap shelter for them as they go about with their illegal habits,” he said during a press conference at Kim Teng Park here yesterday.

Chen said there were laws under the Local Council Act 1976 which allowed the council to act against owners who do not maintain their property, but they were hardly enforced.

“Under Section 74 of the Act, the council has the right to take action against the tenant or owner of a property or land that is unkept and if found guilty, the parties involved can be fined up to RM1,000 or jailed for up to six months.

“The law also allows for local council officers to enter the property and instruct the owner or occupant to clean it up,” he said.

Chen said the Act also permitted council officers to clean up the premises and get the owner to foot the bill.

In extreme cases, they were also allowed to put the property up for auction, he said.

When contacted, Johor Baru City Council (MBJB) public relations officer Mohd Firdaus Abdul Hamid admitted that abandoned and unkept houses were a major issue, especially in old housing areas such as Kim Teng Park.

“We take action from time to time but are sometimes faced with problems, especially when the owner decides to take legal action against us for trespassing,” Mohd Firdaus said.

He urged residents to lodge complaints with local councils so that they could identify these homes and take action. – The Star Online

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