KUALA LUMPUR: Residents of Taman Hillview and Taman Sri Ukay are calling for the demolition of two abandoned Highland Towers buildings, which have become hideouts for criminals and drug addicts.
Taman Sri Ukay Hillview Residents Association president Datuk Siti Hendon Chik, who represents more than 1,000 residents of the two housing estates, said the residents were unanimous in seeking the demolition of the two standing 12-storey towers after one collapsed 23 years ago.
"So long as the empty buildings remain, they will be conducive hideouts for criminals and drug addicts," she said.
She warned that the residents might take legal action against the landowner for refusal to demolish the buildings.
Twenty-three years after one of the three blocks of the Highland Towers collapsed, the area has become a hideout for criminals and drug addicts.
On April 12, police shot dead three of six criminals believed to be robbery suspects in a raid on one of the condominium blocks.
This development has heightened the uneasiness of the residents.
What's more frightening is that the three other criminals managed to escape the raid.
Siti Hendon said the shooting incident had heightened the fear of residents.
She said she almost became a victim when robbers attempted to enter her house two years ago.
"Luckily, my security guard saw the two men lurking at the verandah. They fled," she said.
Meanwhile, Datuk Dr Mohinder Singh, 78, whose house is located close to the main entrance to the towers, said the two abandoned towers were a security risk for nearby residents and hoped that the owner would take immediate action to demolish them.
"That place is a nuisance, from drug addicts now to robbers. How are we going to be safe?
"It has been 23 years. They had wanted to demolish the remaining buildings but until today, the blocks are still there," he said.
Ampang Jaya Municipal Council (MPAJ) president Abd Hamid Hussain said the council would hold a meeting with the bank that owns the land to discuss the issue.
He said the meeting is expected to be held within this week and hoped that there would be a solution.
When asked if the council could force the landowner to demolish the buildings, Abd Hamid said it was not possible unless there was "solid evidence" that the buildings were unsafe and in danger of collapse.
He asked the residents to be patient until the landowner came up with a decision.
Attempts by Bernama to contact the bank since last Thursday have been futile.
A check at the scene found that anybody could easily trespass into the Highland Towers area. The front gate has been tampered with and makeshift entrance allows access to anyone.
The buildings also do not have perimeter fencing.
There are houses within 500m of the towers, making them an easy target for any criminals hiding there. - Bernama