Not totally above board

Eyesore:Multiple promotional banners put up by developers to get residents to sell their units mar the Sri Lempah flats area.

PROPERTY developers have learnt that the 40-year-old Sri Lempah flats located off Jalan Kelang Lama in Kuala Lumpur is ready for a rejuvenation.

Those wanting to redevelop the five-storey walk-up flats have put up dozens of promotional banners around the area.

Marketing banners, posters, an advertisement board and a development signboard have been erected in the vicinity of the four-block, 540-unit flats on 4.04ha of land.

These developers are promoting perks offered to residents for the redevelopment.

This poster war, however, has most residents feeling uneasy.

“A marketing war is going on here, with each one trying to outdo the other, but the banners are illegal and are an eyesore,” said Sri Lempah Management Corporation (MC) I chairman Chong Kam Cheng.

“Each day, more and more banners pop up and it’s like there is no respect for the law.

“The posters are marring the beauty of the area,” he added.

CK Lee, who lives in Block A, said one banner promoted a key-to-key offer.

“This means residents can get a brand new flat measuring 1,215sq ft with multiple facilities, including two parking bays, while another one shows they will get units measuring 900sq ft.

“According to one banner, owners will only need to move out of their units after the new project is completed.

“It is just too good to be true, so I am very sceptical,” Lee added.

Jacob Velecherry, however, said the banners were distasteful.

“There is no need to put up so many banners here – one is good enough,” he added.

For another resident, identified only as Wong, this was a once-in-a-lifetime offer that could not be missed.

“If I can get a brand new unit for free, which is bigger and better, then why not?

“Who does not want a new apartment worth almost RM1mil for free?” he asked.

Redevelopment explained

In May this year, Kuala Lumpur mayor Datuk Seri Mahadi Che Ngah told StarMetro that the flats was ripe for redevelopment, especially the ones with small and dilapidated units.

He had encouraged the redevelopment, especially for older strata properties, adding that the Federal Territories Ministry was introducing incentives for residents.

Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) is working on this with the Federal Territories Ministry under its Kuala Lumpur Urban Renewal plan.It is a general rule that in order to redevelop the flats, stratified owners have to collectively agree to sell their units to one buyer, who will then redevelop the property en bloc.

Unlike in Singapore, a building that is less than 10 years old requires 80% of residents to agree, while the threshold in Hong Kong is 90%.

According to House Buyers Association Malaysia, the law on en bloc sale is still uncertain and it is impossible to get everyone to agree to sell.

However, the government through the Department of Director General of Land and Mines suggested that a simple majority of 51% of owners’ consent was needed for redevelopment.

And after hearing the redevelopment plan submitted by the party that managed to get the 51% consent, they would have to proceed to a second voting session to get between 70% and 80% to agree.

Legality aspects

As Sri Lempah flats is located on prime land, developers are competing against each other to get the project to redevelop the building.

It is learnt that at least four developers have submitted redevelopment proposals to DBKL.

Talk is if the redevelopment is approved, the flats would be demolished and rebuilt on the same land.

Sri Lempah Flats, built on leasehold land, has four blocks – A, B, C, and D.

Blocks A and B share one master title and C and D share another.

The flats, which has another 59 years left on its 99-year lease, is ageing and in need of an upgrade.

Chong said for several years, developers had been eyeing the area for redevelopment as the flats was sitting on prime land bordering Taman Desa.

“We are currently talking to some developers, so we can get the best deal for everyone, but we do not appreciate any party bypassing the MC and going straight to the residents.

“Residents are calling us for information, which we are unable to provide due to the underhanded way some parties are doing things,” he said, referring to the banners and signboards which he claimed were misleading the residents.

Chong said some parties had misled residents into thinking that a developer had been found and through a circular delivered to post boxes, asked residents to surrender their original strata title to the management and pay RM1,000 transfer fee.

The circular also stated that residents had to move out before January 2022.

“This is completely untrue and we have since lodged a police report about the circular.

“We advise residents not to believe everything they hear or see without coming to us for clarification first.

“This is about your home and only you, the residents, will know what is best for you and not a third party with vested interests,” he added.

Last month, banners carrying the logo of the Federal Territories Ministry and DBKL announcing a census to be carried out for a proposed redevelopment of the flats caused uneasiness among the residents, who were mostly senior citizens.

Following that, agents working for a developer had gone door to door to convince them to take part in the census.

Both DBKL and the ministry later confirmed that they were not involved in the census.

The banners were deemed illegal, but not removed.

When StarMetro contacted DBKL executive director (planning) Datuk Sulaiman Mohamed to verify the information on the signboard at the site, he said no approval had been given for any redevelopment at the site.

“There is no DO (development order), no approval at all; we will take action,’’ Sulaiman said.

StarMetro later learnt that DBKL officers from Seputeh branch, who checked the site on Dec 1, found that the banners were illegal and planned to remove them soon.

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