RESIDENTS of Waller Court in Ipoh have lost hope of ever seeing the low-cost flats being redeveloped.
To many of the residents, it is another feeling of deja vu as they feel the redevelopment plans, which had been much talked about since the 1990s, look set to be shelved again.
Restaurant worker Jawaitar Mather, 36, said most of the residents at the flats were really hopeful about getting newer and bigger units when then Ipoh Mayor Datuk Roshidi Hashim made the announcement in 2012.
“It looks like that won’t materialise. It was just another ‘cakap saja’ (empty promise) project even though it has been brought up many times,” he said.
Jawaitar said his father was one of those who had stayed there since the flats were built in 1962.
“I am now staying here with my wife, son and my father-in-law.
“There is only one bedroom and it is such an inconvenience.
“I was really looking forward to getting a two-bedroom unit,” he said.
Talk on the redevelopment of the 17-block flats had started in the 1990s, and it has been brought up numerous times by previous mayors, the last being Roshidi.
In making the announcement, Roshidi said he would personally ensure the project would be carried out before his retirement at the end of 2013.
It was announced then that the redevelopment plan would be a 500-unit flats project, which included another building block for commercial purposes.
The state government had also assured the over 400 residents of the run-down flats that they would be relocated to the new units once the redevelopment project was completed.
A resident, who only wanted to be known as Chan who is in her 50s, said there had been so much fanfare about the redevelopment project but all they had now was disappointment.
“It has been said so many times for so long now. My 90-year-old mother was one of those who waited for a new unit but she passed away about a year ago.
“I, too, was hopeful at one time when there were people coming here to do some refurbishment work a few years ago.
“Since then, I have not seen anyone coming here to do anything anymore,” she said.
Chan, a noodle seller, also said the flats were no longer a safe place to stay as crime, such as theft and drug abuse, was rampant.
“I have been staying here since I was a child. My husband and I have to constantly deal with thieves stealing our belongings.
“This is our home. We have become so used to this place and don’t have plans to go anywhere else,” she added.
Housewife MH Loo, 58, said the flats were dilapidated and hoped that maintenance works would be carried out regularly.
“The lights along the corridors are often broken.
“Even if the Ipoh City Council (MBI) or the state government don’t plan to carry out the redevelopment plans, I hope they can fix the lights.
“Even the pipeworks are getting bad because there is no water pressure at times.
“I also hope that the council will come here to clean the garbage disposal room because it is very dirty,” said Loo.
Another housewife, who only wished to be known as Wong, 60, said she would not harbour high hopes for the redevelopment project.
“But if it does happen, I just hope to get a new unit as promised.
“Most of the residents who have been staying here for so many years will not want to move. It is so convenient here,” she said.
Civic Community Council member Daniel Teoh said the condition at the low-cost flats was worsening and that MBI was no longer carrying out any major maintenance on the building.
“I understand that the redevelopment project is still being studied by the state government.
“Personally, I hope a decision would be made soon for the benefit of the residents,” said Teoh, who is the former Waller Court Rukun Tetangga chairman.
When contacted, Ipoh City Council secretary Mohd Zakuan Zakaria declined to comment.