SEREMBAN: State authorities are investigating how exclusive chalets near here have been allowed to operate for more than a decade without getting the necessary approvals.
The properties are located in an area covering more than 100 acres in the lush green Pantai Hills near here.
Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Aminuddin Harun said the high-end chalets numbering less than 100 and owned individually, were built along dangerous slopes in the hilly area and this posed a hazard to its occupants.
"Our probe also shows that the status of the land where the chalets are built remains as agriculture and this is wrong.
"We are worried as some of the structures are built along slopes and this may pose a hazard to the residents including foreign tourists who rent them," he told reporters on Wednesday (May 22).
Aminuddin said the state authorities decided to probe the matter following complaints from other residents in the area.
He said a preliminary probe also showed that the chalets, some of which were referred as jungle or spiritual retreats, were rented out to holiday makers from RM200 to RM2,000 a night depending on the season.
"I must say that some of the chalets I visited were really impressive.
"But what makes me wonder is how they have been able to operate all these years without getting the necessary approvals," he said.
Aminuddin said some operators even drew water from a nearby river to fill up their pools and for use at the chalets.
"Again, this is against the law. You cannot draw water from a river if you are using it for commercial purposes," he said.
Aminuddin said a committee headed by state Housing and Local Government, Urban Wellbeing and new villages chairman Teo Kok Seong has been tasked to probe the matter.
"For a start, we have sent notices to the owners telling them that the structures were built without proper approvals as required under Section 125 of the National Land Code.
"They have to first apply to convert the status of their plots and we will then look at the other aspects including the safety of the structures," he said, adding that many of the units were owned by outsiders.
Aminuddin said his administration decided to act to prevent any untoward incidents.
"The state has also been deprived of revenue as the owners pay a very low amount in quit rent due to the unchanged status of the land," he added.