Strain of strata living

Sliding into sorry state: The playground equipment at Flat Saujana Mawar in Bandar Puncak Alam, Selangor, has not been maintained. — RAJA FAISAL HISHAN/The Star

Residents’ attitude can determine the quality of life in communal housing. While many schemes in Selangor have to deal with poor management, StarMetro finds that some high-rise dwellers are working together to turn things around and improve their surroundings, given a little push.

FOR YEARS, residents of Flat Saujana Mawar in Bandar Puncak Alam, Selangor have been living in deplorable conditions.

Every day, a horrible stench permeates the air as sewage leaks out onto the road.

At night, criminals have an easier time due to non-functioning streetlights because vandals have stolen the electrical components.

On the ground floor, some residents leave their dogs at the corridor and this disturbs others.

ALSO READ: Criminals thriving at poorly-lit flats

Residents also complain about the presence of monkeys at the parking lot.

Located in Jalan Taj 1, Taman Alam Jaya, the strata property comprises six five-storey blocks with a total of 380 units.

During a recent check, StarMetro found the buildings in a dilapidated state with many empty units.

Residents cannot turn to the joint management body (JMB) to improve things as it was dissolved last year.

Children at Pangsapuri Angsana are now able to spend quality time at the community library. — Photos: AZLINA ABDULLAH and RAJA FAISAL HISHAN/The StarChildren at Pangsapuri Angsana are now able to spend quality time at the community library. — Photos: AZLINA ABDULLAH and RAJA FAISAL HISHAN/The Star

Resident Mohd Arif Mat, 50, said many units were rented out to foreigners employed at an industrial area nearby.

But he said some of them were contributing to social problems and became aggressive when told off about their improper behaviour.

“Many of the foreigners have a drinking habit.

“They frequently fight among themselves and make a lot of noise, especially at night.

“Sometimes, they throw alcohol bottles from upper floors, endangering others below,” he claimed.

Mohd Arif added that rumours of drug activities in the area were also keeping prospective tenants away.

“With all the issues here, I don’t feel comfortable bringing guests home,” he said, adding that motorcycle theft was also common.

Another resident, Zakaria Ismail, 63, recently bought a unit there for RM60,000 as he runs a business nearby.

“This area lacks public amenities such as schools and clinics.

Mohd Arif (left) and another resident showing a cable that has been vandalised in Saujana Mawar.Mohd Arif (left) and another resident showing a cable that has been vandalised in Saujana Mawar.

“Many owners said they can’t sell their units because of the flats’ bad reputation.

“So many are forced to rent units out for whatever price they can get,” said Zakaria.

Former JMB treasurer Azis Mustaffa said less than half of the units were occupied.As such, not many owners pay the monthly maintenance fee of RM35.

“The JMB knew of the various infrastructure issues but didn’t have enough funds to carry out repairs,” he said.

Kuala Selangor Municipal Council (MPKS) president Rahilah Rahmat in a statement, said the JMB was dissolved on July 18, 2022 as it had failed to conduct its annual general meeting for four years.

She added that records showed a poor maintenance fee collection, averaging 10% a month.

Rahilah: There was a poor maintenance fee collection averaging 10% a month at Saujana Mawar.Rahilah: There was a poor maintenance fee collection averaging 10% a month at Saujana Mawar.

“MPKS, via its Commissioner of Buildings (COB), recommended that a new JMB be formed and serve houseowners with a notice to pay their maintenance fee arrears.

“For those who fail to pay, the JMB can take action under Section 35 of the Strata Management Act 2013 which provides for confiscation of moveable assets.

“They can also file a claim with the Strata Management Tribunal under the Local Government Development Ministry (KPKT),” she said.

Rahilah said the council was in the process of appointing an agent to help with the management of the flats.

“However, many companies are not willing to take on the responsibility due to the poor financial record of this strata property,” she added.

StarMetro has previously highlighted the woes of Flat Saujana Mawar residents twice in 2021, on March 17 and Oct 19.

Statewide issue

The problem faced by residents of Saujana Mawar is not unique.

At least half of some 3,700 strata residences in Selangor do not have an active JMB or Management Corporation (MC). (See chart)

Kajang and Selayang top the list of the highest number of inactive JMB and MC.

State housing, urban wellbeing and entrepreneur development committee chairman Rodziah Ismail in a statement said that several factors contributed to the high number of inactive management bodies.

“Many unit owners did not want to support the JMB due to their residential buildings’ unsatisfactory condition.

Rodziah: About half of strata property management bodies in Selangor are inactive.Rodziah: About half of strata property management bodies in Selangor are inactive.

“Some are also under the impression that the developer will relinquish their duty over maintenance once a JMB is formed,” she said.

Under the Strata Management Act 2013, a developer must form the JMB within 12 months of the handover of units or vacant possession.

Failure to do so is an offence which leaves the offender liable to a RM250,000 fine or three-year imprisonment.

As for the strata properties without MCs, Rodziah said many owners at such schemes failed to complete the “perfection of transfer”.

This is a process whereby the unit receives an individual strata title.

An MC, added Rodziah, could only be formed after 25% of owners have completed their perfection of transfer.

“However, many strata schemes in Selangor are unable to do so because of the high costs involved in getting an individual title,” she said.

This would require paying legal fees and also stamp duties.

StarMetro’s story on March 17, 2021.StarMetro’s story on March 17, 2021.

In the absence of a JMB or MC, Rodziah said local councils could appoint an agent to manage a high-rise.

“However, many companies are not keen to take over the management due to the poor condition of the buildings.

“Some strata properties do not have financial records and have accumulated high maintenance fee arrears,” she said.

Rodziah said Skim Lestari Harmoni was introduced to address the issue of agents being reluctant to take over failing strata residences.

“Under this scheme, the state government takes over the management and maintenance of these buildings via appointed agents.

“Together with the local authorities, it organises courses to guide residents who are capable of taking over.

“They will be required to report their financial performance via the eCOB system for monitoring to ensure a healthy fiscal balance,” she added.

Rodziah said Skim Ceria was introduced to raise awareness on the need for good maintenance at strata properties.

“Via this scheme, residents receive one-off cash aid to form a JMB so they can carry out repairs, among others,” she said.

Success in Subang Mewah

Transforming a rundown strata scheme with social problems may be an uphill task but it is not impossible.

In USJ1 Subang Jaya, residents of Pangsapuri Angsana in Persiaran Subang Mewah were faced with vandalism and theft.

Residents even reported incidences of women being sexually assaulted in lifts and children setting fires in the lobby area.

But the situation has improved since 2020, thanks to efforts by various parties including Subang Jaya City Council (MBSJ).

Subang Jaya assemblyman Michelle Ng said 200 residents volunteered to clean up the area during a gotong-royong.

“This event did a lot to instil community spirit among residents.

“MBSJ also held talks on the importance of having a JMB as the flats had not had one for two decades,” she said.


Pangsapuri Angsana comprises eight 20-storey blocks, with each floor having 12 units.

Ng offered RM10,000 to any block that managed to form and sustain their JMB for three months.

“In the beginning, the residents were not keen as this meant added responsibility.

“But we continued to organise more community programmes and finally, some residents agreed to accept the offer.

“They also came up with ideas for improvements,” she said, including setting up a community library and garden as well as sprucing up the children’s playground.

Some residents, with help from floor leaders, also took the initiative to paint the corridors.

During a recent visit, children were seen playing in the bright corridors while some were spotted doing their schoolwork at the community library.

Some areas are still in need of improvement and Ng said works were in progress.

Her office, she added, was also helping to apply for a RM500,000 grant from the ministry to upgrade the lifts.

“Strata communities like this need a little push to transform their surroundings.

“The city council and I are willing to help but residents must make an effort,” she said.

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