Penang to act on pigeon issue

Beak occupancy: Pigeons have formed colonies in empty units, creating biohazards at the Rifle Range Flats in Air Itam.

GEORGE TOWN: Legal action will be taken against flat owners who allow pigeons to occupy their vacant units.

State Housing and Local Government Committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo said the authorities would move in to identify the units at Rifle Range flats that were infested with pigeons and their nests.

“We are aware of the issue, which we view quite seriously. Two blocks of the units are under the state Housing Department while the rest are privately owned.

“We will get in touch with Penang Island City Council (MBPP) and take legal action against the owners if they are found to be negligent of their homes,” he said yesterday.

Pengkalan Kota assemblyman Daniel Gooi, who is a committee member in the state Housing Department, said the case had been referred to the relevant authorities for legal action.

“For action to be taken, there are legal implications, so we are going through the process now,” he said.

MBPP mayor Datuk Yew Tung Seang and Kebun Bunga assemblyman Jason Ong could not be reached for comment.

Yesterday, The Star carried a report on its front page about the presence of hundreds of pigeons in several abandoned units at the flats turning these into biohazards.

The birds have formed colonies after gaining access through broken windows and doors over the years.

There is now a thick carpet of droppings and carcasses on the floors of these units.

In one unit, the floor was found completely covered in aged pigeon dung, feathers and broken eggshells, almost 10cm thick in some places.

Scattered around were 26 pigeon carcasses, some with just skeletons and feathers remaining.

There were also seven eggs and one newly-hatched bird – still alive – lying on the carpet of dung.

Built in 1969, the 3,699 units of Rifle Range flats were the first high-rise low-cost flats in Penang meant for the urban poor.

Some of the units became private property through a hire purchase scheme given to the original dwellers while the state owns a portion of units which are leased to the poor.

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