ABANDONED vehicles are not only an eyesore but also cause much inconvenience to the public.
Vehicles in bad condition, left by the roadside in commercial areas as well as residential areas, are potential breeding grounds for mosquitoes. They also take up space especially in areas with smaller roads and limited parking spaces.
In Petaling Jaya, there have been numerous complaints by residents about abandoned vehicles as to why the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) is not taking action against the offenders.
An MBPJ officer said the council was doing its best to deal with the problem of abandoned vehicles but lacked manpower.
“In fact, it is in our schedule to remove abandoned vehicles twice a week via the crane method.
“We are on the ground everyday towing both abandoned vehicles and other vehicles such as those that are double-parked,” said the officer from MBPJ’s Enforcement department.
The crane method is used for abandoned vehicles which are missing car parts, such as tyres, making it impossible to tow away.
To date, MBPJ has cleared 699 vehicles, almost double the figure in 2015 (370) and 2014 (324).
StarMetro followed MBPJ on one of their Abandoned Vehicles Operations at Jalan PJS 5/2 and witnessed first hand how difficult it was to remove an abandoned vehicle from the road.
To remove three abandoned cars, more than 10 officers have to be deployed to the scene, where a few would issue summonses while others assisted in the car’s removal.
First, a strap strong enough to bear the weight of the vehicle which will be strapped to the car before it can be lifted by the crane and into MBPJ’s truck.
The tricky part comes next, where officers will have to ensure the abandoned car does not hit other parked vehicles nearby when it is lifted.
As the cars were being lifted, rats were seen jumping off the vehicles before scurrying away.
“Usually we see quite a number of rats falling from the vehicles as we lift it, I think they actually live and breed in the vehicles,” he said.
All the cars removed during this operation were missing parts such as tyres, doors, internal fittings and even the engine.
According to the officer, the owners of all vehicles removed were warned at least three times, in accordance with MBPJ's standard operating procedures before the enforcement exercise.
A two-week time period will be given after every warning is issued, giving vehicle owners a total of six weeks before the council takes action.
After the six weeks, MBPJ will remove the cars and charge the owners RM600 if they return looking for the their cars.
“Actually, owners will only be fined RM100 for causing obstruction on the road but once we remove the vehicles, they will be charged RM600,” he added.
Currently, MBPJ's operations are focused at the following hotspots – PJS1-10, SS2, SS3, SS24, Bandar Utama 11 and 6, PJU1A, PJU7, Sri Damansara 1,5,9,12 and Kota Damansara.
He said that it was a long process before abandoned cars could be removed because MBPJ has to search for the owner through the Road Transport Department (JPJ) records and try contacting them.
All cars that are removed will be brought to the 1.1ha MBPJ depot at Persiaran Kuala Selangor, Section 26 in Shah Alam.
“We had to rent that place because there is no available space big enough in Petaling Jaya to store all the abandoned vehicles,” said Petaling Jaya mayor Mohd Azizi Mohd Zain.
To date, there are over 750 vehicles at the depot, all waiting either to be disposed of or be collected by the owner or police within one month.
Notices will be sent out to both the vehicle owners and the police as some vehicles could have been stolen or involved in a crime.
When StarMetro visited the depot, vehicles were seen stacked up due to space constraint.
Some vehicles appeared to be in good condition but most were rotting and missing vital parts.
“We will soon be appointing third party contractors to help us remove abandoned cars.
“We are also in the process of revoking the licences of workshops that are found guilty of abandoning vehicles near their premises,” he said.
Currently, MBPJ officers are carrying out investigations on a few workshops to determine if their business licence should be revoked.
Five reasons why vehicles are abandoned
Based on MBPJ’s research, there are five reasons why vehicles are abandoned.
1) Vehicle owners cannot bear the cost of the repairs.
2) It might be a stolen vehicle,
3) Vehicle owners unable to pay their hire-purchase instalment.
4) Vehicles involved in accident and owners have problems claiming insurance.
5) Owners who leave their vehicles at the workshop after finding out the spare parts are hard to find.