Residents in a dilemma


Lai showing a slab of cement that fell off from the wall of his car porch due to the cracks at his unit along Jalan Austin Perdana 5/22 in Taman Austin Perdana, Johor Baru.

JOHOR BARU: Residents who forked out an extra few thousand ringgit to get a housing unit with a scenic lakeside view are now living in fear that their units might collapse due to severe soil erosion in and around the lake.

The lake, which is actually a retention pond facing Jalan Austin Perdana 5/22 in Taman Austin Perdana, began showing cracks at the end of October last year and initial soil erosion caused two of the main pipes to burst.

The retained water flowed out almost overnight and the worsening soil erosion at the pond resulted in some two-inch cracks at about 60 units along the stretch and Jalan Austin Perdana 5/21 due to the soil movement beneath the units.

Lake Palm and Lake Palazzo residents association chairman M. Ravindranathan said the situation was worse on rainy days where water would gush out from the hilly housing area into the pond before flowing into an industrial and commercial area beside it.

Norhapidah, showing the repaired part of her front porch which used to be level but had sunk by a few inches due to the soil erosion.
Norhapidah, showing the repaired part of her front porch which used to be level but had sunk by a few inches due to the soil erosion.

"We are all worried that our houses might collapse one day as the cracks are getting bigger now that it is the monsoon season," he said at a press conference here on Saturday, adding that the matter has been brought up to the developer but that no action was taken.

The developer told us nothing could be done on their part as the retention pond collected water from four other developers in the area, he added.

Housewife Norhapidah Zainal Abidin, 44, said the front portion of her car porch had cracked and sunk about three inches and there were cracks on her wall.

The soil erosion caused water to flow rapidly from the front of my house into the pond even when it was just a shower and the sound and sight of the gushing water worries me and my family, she said.

Poh Siew Eng, 62, a resident, said she had spent a few thousands to repair the cracks in the bathroom and car porch of her corner unit as it is bad feng shui to have cracks in a house.

Ravindranathan showing a photo of the scenic retention pond in its original state.
Ravindranathan showing a photo of the scenic retention pond in its original state.

Export executive Lai Wei Kiat, 42, complained that he paid an extra RM2,000 to get a unit facing the scenic lake view and was disappointed that in just seven years, the pond had dried up, causing soil erosion.

Also present was Johor Baru City Council (MBJB) Mount Austin zone councillor Dr Lim Yak Hong, who noted the severity of the matter and immediately visited the place a few times with the council’s engineering department officers.

“The department and contractor have given their word to start work by next week but it is not easy as cranes and excavators will have difficulties accessing the area. However, we will find a way,” he said.

Dr Lim also advised MBJB to gather all five developers in the area to discuss finding a solution soon to give residents peace of mind.

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