FOR residents of Public Housing (PA) complexes across Kuala Lumpur, the completion of their new homes under the Federal Territories Ministry’s recently launched KL Urban Renewal programme cannot come soon enough.
Amongst the strongest supporters welcoming the public housing redevelopment initiative, meant to replace the ageing structures they currently live in, are the residents of PA Sri Pahang.
Development has begun on the site next to it, with construction of the subsidised housing estimated to start after the completion of higher-end units.
PA Sri Pahang, officially opened in 1975 to house the city’s low-income earners in Jalan Bukit Bangsar, consists of 784 units across three 17-storey buildings, with one-room flats measuring 380sq ft and two-room flats measuring 550sq ft.
While the building itself is old, its residents take care to maintain the cleanliness of the area, evidenced by the lack of litter or rubbish and its resulting odours.
Speaking with StarMetro, a 52-year-old resident, who has lived at PA Sri Pahang for 46 years, shares his fervent hope that he and his wife will be able to relocate to their new homes as soon as possible, as it is only a matter of time before the dilapidated building succumbs to its age.
The resident, who lives in Block 1 on the 16th floor – the top floor of the building – points to the crack in the ceiling of his home, right above an electrical socket, where rain would leak through before he plastered it over himself.
It is not an isolated incident. The ceiling covering the walkway on the same floor also has a similar crack on it that has yet to be repaired, while another resident confirms a similar problem, noting that in their case, the crack on the ceiling has gotten worse over the past few months due to the tremors caused by the piling work undertaken at a nearby development.
Moreover, he shares that the disintegrating walls in the common area for the residential floors are a dangerous hazard.
“These walls have eroded so much that just lightly knocking into it causes plaster to fall off in chunks, which could endanger the people – especially children – who live here, ” he said.
Aside from that, another potential threat could come if a fire breaks out at Block 1 or 3 of the PA complex, as fire trucks would not be able to enter the site to put out the fire due to the narrow space that leads to those apartment blocks.
For residents over at PA Sri Negeri Sembilan, on the other hand, crime is a constant worry as with other flats, although the issue is not as severe as it was in the past.
Located in Sentul, the five-storey PA apartment buildings that span eight blocks with each unit covering 420sq ft to 540sq ft, were built and completed in 1981.
A resident, who has lived on the third floor of one of the buildings since 1983, said it is only to be expected that the buildings are in bad condition – be it leaky pipes or roofs, among other issues – but singled out theft as a cause for concern.
“Like other apartments, we worry about thieves breaking into our homes and taking our valuables, although theft isn’t as rampant as it was in the past. But it is what it is and we live with it.”
Insufficient parking is also something that the residents deal with on a daily basis, with residents and their children having trouble finding a parking spot and resorting to double parking instead.
Both of these public housing apartments are scheduled for redevelopment under the KL Urban Renewal programme, where the existing residents from PA Sri Pahang will be able to move into new apartments spanning 800 sq ft with three bedrooms and one parking lot near their existing location.
Sparking hope for improved living conditions and a better life for these residents, often low-income earners, the KL Urban Renewal programme demonstrates the Government’s initiative in ensuring the people’s welfare.
FT Ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Hajah Rosida Jaafar said, “Heeding the call to realise the aspirations and hope of KL residents, who seek more comfortable homes with modern facilities in a safe and conducive environment, the FT Ministry and Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) have made plans to encourage the construction of affordable homes (known as Residensi Wilayah and Residensi Prihatin) on the redevelopment sites that have been identified.”
Aligned with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and the Wilayah Prihatin concept, the programme seeks to transform KL into a city for all by focusing on six goals, namely innovative and productive, inclusive and equitable, healthy and vibrant, climate smart and low carbon, efficient and environmentally friendly mobility, as well as integrated and sustainable development.
The objectives, according to the KL Urban Renewal guidebook launched on Jan 29, are to encourage sustainable land usage, increase property value, raise the quality of urban design and image, create liveable elements and improve the quality of life for those living in the city.
The programme is split into the two categories of redevelopment and regeneration, in order to give a new lease of life to urban areas in KL by developing brownfield and greyfield areas, as well as residential areas that are less liveable and socially viable.
Brownfield areas include abandoned industrial, commercial or residential areas, while greyfield areas include underutilised buildings or developments that are not economically viable.
For residential areas, this refers to breathing new life by redeveloping dilapidated buildings that were constructed more than 40 years ago, especially PA complexes, People’s Housing Projects and low-cost private apartments.
Recently, PA Sri Labuan residents received keys to their new homes from Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin at the Residensi RazakMas2 apartment in Bandar Tun Razak.
A total of 395 units with a market value of RM300,000, each spanning 805sq ft with three bedrooms and two bathrooms, were given for free to residents.
In addition, 245 units were offered to those renting units and second generation owners of PA Sri Labuan at a subsidised price of RM198,000 and the remaining 188 units offered to members of the public deemed eligible under Residensi Wilayah.
To ease the burden of these residents and smoothen the move to their new homes, RM3,000 was gifted to each one-room PA Sri Labuan apartment unit owner, while RM7,000 was gifted to each two-room unit owner. In addition, DBKL also provided control and logistics assistance.
At the same time, one more redevelopment programme is in the pipeline to become a reality, namely PA Sri Perlis 1.
As for low-cost private housing, the redevelopment of the Kg Sg Baru residential area in Kampong Bharu is estimated to be implemented this year.
PA Labuan, PA Sri Pahang, PA Sri Perlis 1, PA Sri Negeri Sembilan and the Kg Sg Baru residential area are part of the 30 strata and non-strata areas identified by DBKL as having potential for redevelopment under the KL Draft Structure Plan 2040 and the KL Draft Local Plan 2040, which include 15 PA complexes and 15 low-cost private apartment buildings totalling 10,498 units and 75.55 acres that are scattered throughout the capital city.
“To continue such efforts, the FT Ministry will remain committed in ensuring that the implementation of these planned redevelopment projects can be executed with the cooperation and support of all parties for the people’s welfare, especially for KL residents, ” said Hajah Rosida.