For years, rubbish has been raining down the ground floor of Teluk Indah Flats in Perai, Penang, which has been dubbed as the filthiest in the state. The 21-storey blocks of flats have only a 30 per cent occupancy rate of the total 1,008 units, and half of them are rented to foreigners.
People would dump plastic bags causing the smell of rotting waste to linger in the air. Sometimes glass bottles and wooden cupboards would fall as well at odd hours.
The lifts have not been working for years and if it were repaired, it would frequently break down. This prompt the residents to dump rubbish to the ground.
“It smells really bad, especially during the heat of the day,” said factory worker Ashikin, who walks down 12-floors to the ground since the lift’s not working.
Anparasan Selvadurai, the secretary of the Teluk Indah management body, said that large rubbish bins have been placed at the lift lobby for residents and gotong-royong sessions have been conducted, but the ground would revert to its dirty state in a few days.
“We have tried almost everything, but nothing is working,” he told FMT. Cleaners even run for cover in fear of being hit by falling plastic bags.
He said the committee has told state authorities about the problems they face, and estimated around RM1 million is needed to ensure cleaner living for residents.
Residents that are unwilling to pay the RM30 maintenance fee are a major problem that contributes to the flats’ conditions, and Anparasan said the committee only has RM271 in its accounts, which is reserved to pay the cleaners.
He said state governments do give out funds over the years, but they were only enough to do minor repairs. Longer-term solutions are needed, which has been proposed by him. The accumulated water bill for the flats is now RM1.5 million and the balance of electric bill has reached RM500,000.
Seberang Perai mayor Rozali Mohamud said the city council had repeatedly sent a cleaning crew armed with fire hoses to the flats since 2014, and the last time was on 22 January, but the mess just came back a few days later.
“We have been sending our crew to clean up every once in three months,” he said. “The state government even paid RM1 million for the electric bill dues some years ago.”
According to FMT, a state official said that the state government has been assisting the residents for many years, including handing out aids. Now, they’re trying to sort out the electric bills that’s overdue.