MBI’s Response to “Eyesores” In the City

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All “decrepit and dilapidated” buildings throughout the city have been identified, especially those along Jalan Sultan Idris Shah and Jalan Sultan Iskandar Shah.

Ipoh city council’s director of corporate affairs, Hj Musa bin Dun, said this in a statement responding to a column “Eyesores in the City” published in the Ipoh Echo on April 16.

The status of these buildings is being classified under three categories: Bangunan Hampir Roboh (Near-dilapidated Building), Bangunan Telah Roboh Sebahagian (Partially-dilapidated building) and Bangunan Kerosakan Minor (Slightly-damaged Building).

“The Council will notify the owners to repair their properties and to ensure that they do not pose a threat to the public and passers-by.

Actions to fence-up the buildings and to remove weeds and plants that have taken root on the buildings will be taken by the Council. “They are aimed at ensuring public safety,” he added.

In his regular column, Jerry Francis had written that there are many condemned and dilapidated business premises which have become “eyesores” in the city centre. The city council appears to be helpless, except for putting flimsy partitions around such buildings. Others, though occupied, are seen with their roof tiles and wooden window frames hanging loosely and precariously, just waiting to fall. Wild plants are growing on the walls and roofs giving the impression of a dilapidated “hanging garden.”

“I dread the day that debris or parts of the buildings will fall and cause casualties among motorists and pedestrians,” he said.

5 thoughts on “MBI’s Response to “Eyesores” In the City

  1. share cost renovate / new painting la. half owner support n half lg MBI support. so win win situation for owner n MBI

    pls dun say MBI can’t event keluar duit separuh ? mana pergi duit MBI ?

  2. As much as everyone say that, and want, the old buildings including, run-down and dilapidated ones, to be preserved, it must be recognized that the buildings concerned belonged to the owners, not DBI. Unless the buildings are placed into a gazetted heritage list, there is absolutely nothing that DBI can really do to prevent the buildings’ demolition.

    Many building owners will object to their buildings being classified as heritage because many restrictions will be placed on them but they get no help or any benefit out of it.

    Old buildings are difficult to upkeep and the owners are bearing all of the costs. Are the owners at fault to want to demolish buildings that costs them a lot of money to upkeep but don’t bring in any revenue?

    It should not be just DBI or the owners who come up with the money, NGO’s and the public must also contribute. If many people are saying preserving the old buildings is for the community, all the more so that they should bear part of the costs.

    Instead of just pointing fingers and expect the government to act, the public and NGO’s should come up with a plan that address the financial aspect of the issue. Perhaps set up a trust fund to buy the buildings from current owners.

    Heritage laws can be enacted to protect and preserve old building deemed to be of historical value. In Singapore, if an old building is damaged and torn down, the facade of the new building must be rebuilt as was the former building. This is to keep uniformity with other buildings in the same block.

    The interior of the building concerned can be changed. Because old buildings have high ceilings to keep cool, a two-story building can be changed into a three-story one. This is a compromise with building owners, so that they can earn more revenue from their buildings.

    I don’t own any old buildings and support their preservation but we must look at the issue realistically from all sides.

    One major problem contributing to this issue is the lack of a viable (re)development plan from DBI concerning older parts of Ipoh where most of the buildings are found.

    Many of the old buildings are empty because not many people want to rent and many owners are reluctant to rent out due to low rent charged. Even though rent is low, not many want to rent because the buildings are run-down. Electrical wires and water pipes are very old and in need of replacement, which owners are reluctant to because of the huge cost and low rent.

    Sometimes, it is not about a particular building but the neighborhood as well. Would professional or financial companies rent in an area that is mostly run-down buildings? No, because image is important to them. Banks are willing to pay high rent in vibrant business areas.

    DBI must come up with a plan to rejuvenate the older parts of Ipoh so that building owners have the incentive to upkeep their buildings well.

    Opening of new commercial areas affected these areas badly because many companies shifted away. For example, many tenants of Greentowb Business Centre are not new businesses but are really offices that moved in from other areas. Older parts of Ipoh are slowly being abandoned by businesses and owners are letting their buildings run-down.

    One radical thought is that we should not be looking at every old building but focus on specific areas, such as the Old Town or along main roads. In doing so, efforts and resources can be concentrated and more manageable.

  3. I’M RETURNING TO IPOH SHORTLY FOR A HOLIDAY ,AND THE DELAPIDATED BUILDINGS ARE A COMPLETE TURN OFF FOR ANY VISITOR. THEY SHOULD BE RESTORED AS ITS IPOHS HERITAGE, KEEP STREETS CLEAN AND LASTLY ITS HOSPITALITY CANNOT BE BEATEN !

  4. Regardless of the extent of dilapidation, historic buildings can be preserved. To do it responsibly, conservation expertise must be sought. It cannot be done by just anybody at any cost.

    Heritage values may be social/historical, aesthetic and architectural. It is critically important to establish the historical significance not only of the building in question, but its place on the street and the historic precinct.

    A heritage building does not and cannot exist in isolation; it contributes to the sense of place. And the sense of place is the primarily reason for its preservation through sensible and sensitive conservation efforts, be it pristine restoration or adaptive re-use.

    Public safety is an issue, but it seems not dilapidated buildings which are dangerous but irreponsible demolition which killed, viz. the demolition of pre-war shophouse row in Fair Park in 2009 which killed two. Valuable heritage buildings, such as shophouses and traditional trades, give that sense of place; without them, what is a city more than a hundred years old?

    The responsibility of the City Council, in terms of the physical environment, is primarily to protect the heritage of the city and to improve on the foundation of the city. Its role is not to remove and replace its history but to plan with foresight and intelligence to safeguard and pass on our inherited values and heritage, both tangible and intangible.

    All re-development (on the site of existing or demolished buildings and other landuses) and new development, now and in the future, must reflect our history and not destroy it through ignorance and political will.

  5. In respond to the Ipoh City Council’s Director of Corporate Affairs, as a concerned Ipohite, its in my opinion that finally the Ipoh City Council is out to save these neglected buildings. Since these buildings have been classified under 3 categories, the importance is all these 3 categories should be saved and NOT dismantled to the whim and fancies of anyone.

    May I suggest the following: 1. Ipoh City Council should draw up a Heritage At Risk programme and identify these buildings n get the property owners to contribute partly to save these buildings. 2. Introduce an Act to impose a heavy penalty if owners and stakeholders abandon their buildings. 3. The City Council should also set a “Preservation Trust” and “Heritage At Risk Fund” to channel funds to save these old historical buildings. 4. Organize heritage workshop on how to preserve and save these buildings for the public and the owners.

    Near future have better town plannings and NOT building a public toilet in the middle of the old town replace the Birch fountain. That’s nevertheless thumps DOWN.

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