A community unscathed by a senseless death (Poll Inside)

KUALA LUMPUR: Five years have passed since her teenage son died from being hit by a falling chair at the flat where they lived. Even more heartbreaking, the mother feels her son died in vain.

Chef S. Kasthuri Bai, 50, is still grieving over the loss of her son, S. Sathiswaran. He was just 15 at the time.

Every year on his birthday, she would place flowers on the spot where he died.

That very spot, to this day, is littered with garbage tossed there by residents from the higher floors at Block 102 of the Seri Pantai People’s Housing Project (PPR) here.

ALSO READ : Still plagued by lethal litter habit

Kasthuri said there is never a moment when the place is garbage-free.

“I lost my son. It was practically a murder. Yet, people are still throwing their things everywhere,’’ she added.

“If it were up to me, I would have left this place a long time ago. But my youngest son wants to remain here, and that is the only reason why I am still living here.”

Another resident, Abu Kassim Jan, who had witnessed the tragedy, said there has been little impact on the people’s attitude.

“Take a look at each unit’s awning. They are all covered in garbage that has been there for years,” said Abu Kassim, 59.

Block 102 chief Shamsuri Musa, 48, conceded that Sathiswaran’s death has had little effect on the behaviour of the residents.

He said the people are still throwing rubbish indiscriminately, though there is now less bulk waste being thrown from the upper floors.

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“But they are still flinging out water, old vegetables and food,’’ he said.

Shamsuri added that the netting that Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) put up at the spot where Sathiswaran died is confined to the area near the staircase.

“We need it everywhere,’’ he said, adding that there are many young children living in the area who are at risk.

They are not the only ones, however.

DBKL cleaning contractor Jone Henry, 48, said he and his colleagues are constantly at risk of being hit by falling litter.

“We have had rubbish thrown at us before. The culprits had supposedly done it as a joke,” he recalled.

When The Star visited the PPR yesterday, the cleaning crew was standing on the netting and sweeping off the trash.

Another team was standing on the rooftop ledge of the building, scraping off food waste with a broom.

Residents said most of the dumping is done at noon when lunch is being prepared and also at night after dinner.

“In the afternoon, you can see residents disposing of vegetable peels and stale rice by throwing them right out of their kitchen windows. They tend to land on the roof next to our kindergarten,” said kindergarten teacher Sitti Aisah, 30.

“The smell of the rotting vegetables disrupts our classes, especially when the cleaning crew is working.

“The children will then get very cranky.”

Housewife Anita Yan, 49, said she never allows her four-year-old son Mohamad Al Fatih to walk to the kindergarten alone.

“I am always with him. I have to shield him from sampah terbang (flying rubbish).

“People may have forgotten about the boy who died from the falling chair, but I have not,’’ said the mother of 13 children.

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