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Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Houses in Bangsar turned into hostels, hotels and kindergartens

After StarMetro’s expose on hostels in townhouses along Jalan Medang Serai appeared on June 24, the public alerted us to the presence of a hotel in the vicinity.

A search online with the key words “hotel” and “Jalan Medang Kapas” led us to the address.

The hotel was advertised in a popular accommodation portal, which described it as a holiday home in Malaysia with guest reviews dating from Aug 3, 2012. Guest profiles included people from the Netherlands, France, Japan and Singapore.

The hotel also has a comprehensive website, describing the place as offering a luxurious stay with supporting photographs and recommendations on its suitability as a venue when visiting relatives.

It also had information on how to get there, restaurants nearby and things to do in Bangsar as well as house rules on proper conduct and against the consumption of alcohol.

Although the room rate was not clear, the rate for the whole unit comprising three rooms is RM500 per day (except December) and RM6,000 a month.

Residents in the neighbouring units seemed unaware that a hotel was operating in their midst. The exterior also did not look very different from the other houses.

Kuala Lumpur mayor Datuk Seri Ahmad Phesal Talib said having a hotel in a residential neighbourhood was a definite no-no.

“A hotel cannot operate from a residential unit. We will take action,” he said, adding the abuse of residential properties especially in high-rise buildings managed by a Joint Management Body is common.

“Sometimes, our hands are tied. Many individuals are buying properties solely for commercial purposes and use loopholes in the law. “The Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Ministry are in the midst of reviewing the law.

“We are also investigating the claim that townhouses along Jalan Medang Serai are being used as hostels,” he added.

Bukit Bandaraya Residents Association chairman Datuk M. Ali said no action has been taken against the owners of various residential units believed to be conducting commercial activities despite complaints.

“We have had meetings with Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) since 2012 on the matter. Not only are houses being turned into hostels, but also kindergartens, nurseries, and offices,” he said.

Ali added if not checked, this growing trend would ruin the neighbourhood.

“The assessment tax has been increased but the quality of life of residents in Bukit Bandaraya is deteriorating.

“To make it worse, these illegal commercial businesses are enjoying residential tax and utilities rates.

“Last year, we reported 11 kindergartens and nurseries that were suspected to be operating illegally.

“I was informed that DBKL was conducting checks on Bangsar Baru first and then Bukit Bandaraya but it never happened,

“These establishments bring in a lot of traffic to the already congested Bangsar.

“The residents were also shocked with DBKL’s decision to allow the house on 150, Lorong Maarof to be converted into a kindergarten despite the mayor saying earlier that it would not happen due to residents’ objection.

“Hawker stalls are mushrooming along Jalan Sena, Lorong Maarof and Jalan Pudina, with some operators taking over sidewalks and parking bays to put chairs and tables.

“These hawkers should be relocated to a more suitable place like a food court.

“Residential roads have also turned into free parking spots for those working nearby.

“DBKL needs to respond to residents complaints and take action,” said Ali.

Tags / Keywords: Central Region , Family Community , abuse , hotel , bangsar


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