OWNERS of abandoned buildings and dwellings in Seremban town have been told to spruce up their properties, as it is only a matter of time before the state capital is officially declared a city.
State rural development committee chairman Ismail Ahmad said the state executive council had decided at a meeting chaired by Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Aminuddin Harun that building owners would be encouraged to do the needful before the state resorts to getting tough with errant owners.
Ismail told reporters after the meeting that a substantial number of buildings in the town centre had remained abandoned for some time.
“We want the owners to be responsible and repair their buildings as they have become an eyesore.
“The people will blame the state government of inaction if these owners fail to comply,” he said.
Although local authorities have the power to seize buildings from owners who fail to pay their assessment fees or breach other by-laws, Ismail said they would not resort to drastic action for now.
He added that some of the abandoned buildings could also be dangerous to the public because it could not be determined if they were structurally sound.
“In fact, we have had reports of abandoned buildings being destroyed in fires. How safe are these buildings is anyone’s guess.”
He urged local councils to work with the Fire and Rescue Services Department and Tenaga Nasional to trace the owners and to establish if the buildings are safe.
“The electrical wiring in these buildings may have not been changed for years and this too could pose a fire risk,” he added.
Ismail has directed district officers to do the same in their jurisdictions.
“Some of these districts may soon be upgraded to municipalities and the aspect of maintaining buildings is a justification for a status change.
“It would also be good for owners of buildings with heritage status to get them spruced up as they could become future attractions,” he said.