Lifts replacement plan on hold


Photos By GRACE CHEN

Cheah (left) and Ganesh taking a ride in the old and faulty lift which has the tendency to break down.

ATTEMPTS by the management committee (MC) of Venice Hill Resort Living in Cheras, Selangor, to replace faulty lifts are being hampered by some residents who are against the move.

Following a protest letter sent by a unit owner, Kajang Municipal Council (MPKj) ordered the MC to postpone the RM6mil lift replacement project until its investigations are done.

Proponents for the lifts’ replacement project fear a tragedy may happen if the matter dragged on.

Resident Sasikala Mathavan said some of the lifts, when in motion, would shake and the doors tend to open in between floors.

She said lift cabins were also known to suddenly plunge before slowing down at landings.

“Last November, a lift shot up and hit the roof. Luckily, no one was inside,” said Sasikala.

Resident Ganesh Saunda said they had been experiencing lift issues for the past 10 years but the problem worsened over the last year.

“Although a maintenance company looks after the lifts, the problem is with spare parts as the models are obsolete.

“We are experiencing frequent breakdowns, lasting up to four hours or longer, daily,” he said.

Following the volume of complaints, resident Bernard Beh said the MC called for a tender, from April 1 to 15, which attracted 13 companies.

“On April 21, an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) was held to approve the tender.

Sasikala (left) and Beh say the condominium’s lifts are in very poor condition.Sasikala (left) and Beh say the condominium’s lifts are in very poor condition.

“However, some residents felt the approval was done on short notice, and protested to MPKj and the Housing and Local Government Ministry on April 25,” he said.

The reason given for the protest was that the MC did not have funds for the project.

“This is not true. We collect RM430,000 in maintenance and sinking fund fees a month. We have RM3.3mil in our sinking fund,” said Beh.

“The MC found a company to change all 27 lifts in nine towers at a cost of RM6mil.

“The only parts which will remain are the counterweights, corner guides and landing doors.

“We are putting a downpayment of RM1.3mil, which will follow with the delivery of the first lift materials.

“The monthly instalments are RM86,000 for the next six years.

“The lifts come with a two-year warranty.

“As for claims regarding irregularities in the tender process, the tender committee comprised 23 residents,” said Beh, adding that notices on the process were also put up in all towers.

The protest letter also stated that unit owners with outstanding payments, some with less than RM100, were denied voting rights at the EGM.

In response, MC chairman Ravishanker V. Thambiah said it was a struggle to get defaulters to settle their bills.

He said the MC had improved living conditions over the years and installed radio frequency identification (RFID) access.

“Our first concern is safety. Although not all lifts are in critical condition, they are of the same age and will eventually break down, forcing the MC to fork out extra for maintenance costs.

“Hence the decision to change all of them,” he added.

To spruce up the 30-year-old condominium, the MC approved RM280,000 for broken fencing and RM280,000 to paint the buildings but these projects are now on hold until MPKj’s investigations are completed.

Resident Susan Cheah is hoping the council speeds up investigations because every time a lift breaks down, she has to take the stairs.

A resident, who did not want to be named, spoke of the plight faced by his neighbour who is in his 70s.

“He has no choice but to climb the stairs to his penthouse on the 17th floor,” said the resident.

When contacted, MPKj asked residents to be patient while investigations are being carried out based on the EGM minutes and MC’s financial accounts.

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