Zero mercy for landlords

Nga: Put an end to inhumane grave-like room rentals

THERE is going to be enforcement action taken to tackle the issue of “birdcage” and “grave-like” rented rooms, says Nga Kor Ming.

The Local Government Development Minister said enforcement is needed as some people are renovating their properties just to rake in profits.

He said a recent raid at a shoplot in Taman Maluri, Cheras in Kuala Lumpur, found the premises to have 78 “grave-like” rooms.

“This is inhumane and unreasonable. The rooms are the size of graves, with room just enough for a coffin.

“You have to crawl to get in and out of each room,” he told Fong Kui Lun (PH-Bukit Bintang).

Nga said the building had since been cleaned up and the “rooms” demolished.

“I will issue a media statement on the matter next week,” he added.

On Oct 15, Nga said the ministry would take stern action against owners of premises who rent out such rooms.

No way to live: An enforcement officer inspecting the shoplot found to contain shoebox rooms available for rent in Taman Maluri, Cheras, during a raid.No way to live: An enforcement officer inspecting the shoplot found to contain shoebox rooms available for rent in Taman Maluri, Cheras, during a raid.

During the enforcement at the multilevel shoplot in Cheras, the space inside was partitioned to create 78 “rooms” that were rented out.

Tenants reportedly paid about RM300 monthly for a shoebox room, but there were bigger rooms on the second and third floors with better furnishing, likely fetching higher rent.

It was believed that 40 to 50 tenants occupied the 38 rooms on the first floor of the building.

Earlier, Nga told the House that there are sufficient laws to deal with such illegal renovations by building owners.

“However, there is a need for enforcement.”

He said those flouting fire safety regulations could face a RM50,000 fine or a maximum of three years’ jail if the illegal renovations posed a fire risk.

On a separate matter, Nga said that none of the 12 state governments in Peninsular Malaysia had gazetted amendments to the regulations to standardise and improve local authority management by local councils.

He said changes to the Uniform Development By-Laws was done in 2021 following a three-year review that began in 2018.

He added that the Cabinet approved the changes and the Federal Government gazetted the amendments in December 2021 and February last year.

Nga said Kedah, Perak, Pahang, Terengganu, Penang, Selangor, Johor and Kuala Lumpur had yet to gazette the amendments, which are still being considered at the state level.

Melaka, Kelantan, Negri Sembilan and Perlis are in the process of gazetting the amendments, he added.

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