Hearing on poor maintenance of PPR Kota Damansara

Unsafe: The badly maintained PPR Kota Damansara was an issue discussed at length at the Selcat meeting. —filepic

Unsafe: The badly maintained PPR Kota Damansara was an issue discussed at length at the Selcat meeting. —filepic

THE question of who is responsible for the poor maintenance of PPR Kota Damansara was debated at the Select Committee on Competence, Accountability and Transparency (Selcat) meeting at State Assembly building in Shah Alam yesterday.

Members of Selcat were told that although the land belongs to the Selangor State Development Corporation (PKNS), the flats were built by the Federal Government.

In 2013, the maintenance of the flats was handed over to Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) which then entered into an agreement with Perumahan Dan Hartanah Selangor Sdn Bhd (PHSSB) to manage the flats on the council’s behalf. PHSSB is a subsidiary of Selangor Housing and Real Estate Board (LPHS).

All three bodies denied ownership and responsibility of the maintenance of the entire PPR Kota Damansara.

Selcat members visited PPR Kota Damansara last week to view the flats for themselves.

Selcat chairman Hannah Yeoh questioned if there was a potential conflict of interest since former Petaling Jaya mayor Datin Paduka Alinah Ahmad who signed the contract with PHSSB was also a board member of the latter.

However, LPHS executive director Norzaton Aini Mohd Kassim pointed out that Alinah was only one of the board members, and the decision to sign the agreement was unanimous.

The Selcat panel heard from PPR Kota Damansara Residents Association chairman Johari Nander as well as Friends of Kota Damansara chairman Jeffrey Phang.

Johari brought up several issues including the lack of maintenance after 2008 as well as the high rental which had increased from RM124 in 2009 to RM250, currently.

He said he was told that PHSSB relied solely on the rent collected to pay for the flats’ maintenance.

Selcat panel member Dr Xavier Jeyakumar, however, pointed out that not everyone had to pay the increased rate as their financial status was taken into consideration.

Johari then said the selection process had not taken into account other issues including the size of families as well as single mothers.

He said only those really in need should pay a lower rate while tenants who own properties elsewhere would have to give up their units for more needy candidates.

Phang said the flats had not been maintained well and repairs were not carried out promptly.

“It is not clear who is really responsible, whether MBPJ or PHSSB,” he said, adding that the lifts frequently broke down while some toilets for visitors had been closed for many years.

However, Petaling Jaya deputy mayor Puasa Md Taib as well as the LPHS and PHSSB representatives denied the problems were due to poor maintenance, adding that vandalism and scrap metal theft had contributed to the problem.

PHSSB general manager Nazmi Osman said they had agreed to complete all repair works at PPR Kota Damansara three months after taking over from MBPJ.

Puasa, however, said all repairs except for railings and wiring works had been completed in 2014.

The cost of repairing the railings was estimated to be RM1.5mil, said Yeoh.

MBPJ said the Federal Government’s Implementation and Coordination Unit (ICU) had offered to pay for the railing repairs in 2013 but the latter had delayed channelling funds.

Selangor state housing chairman Datuk Iskandar Abdul Samad believed the issue of ownership could be easily resolved as it involved state government agencies and government-linked companies.

He also said the state should not wait for the ICU funds to repair the railings because it was the state’s responsibility as well.

Meanwhile, Yeoh said Selcat’s findings would be tabled at the next state assembly seating in August.