By A. Jeyaraj
MBI has launched a new programme whereby owners are encouraged to maintain their empty premises. MBI has prepared a list of contractors who can carry out cleaning of empty houses and vacant land at a reasonable cost.
There are 41,199 abandoned houses and vacant lots in 630 housing estates and 144 kampongs and MBI has records on only 7646 premises based on complaints received. Notices are sent to owners who do not maintain empty premises and are fined from RM250 to RM1000. Owners are required to clean their empty premises at least once a month.
There are also vacant State lands. The stretch of land next to rivers and their tributaries are not regularly maintained and this area is ideal for mosquito breeding. Who is responsible for maintaining these lands? Who is responsible to inspect and enforce maintenance of these lands?
The programme is good, but needs fine tuning. I am not sure whether the list of contractors is inclusive; the contractors must be from all zones. Are grass cutters included in the list? How are the contractors going to charge? A guideline must be prepared by MBI on the costing.
The contractors have been instructed not to burn or use weed killers. They must also be instructed not to cut mature trees; they must get approval from Landscape Department before doing so. We have no right to kill the reptiles like snakes, iguana living in the area; they must be relocated otherwise they would start moving into the houses. There are people who catch snakes and release them in the jungle along the highway; their services can be utilised. The cutting must be such that the land can regenerate.
During 2013 services of three contactors have been terminated for poor performance. For this year two contractors have been given warning letters.
The councillors visit their zones frequently and would know about vacant premises in their zones. Let the councillors compile data on vacant premises in their respective zones. They are not expected to do it overnight; let them do it within a year.
This is a very important programme and as such the flyer must have a wide reach. It must not be only in Malay, but must be printed in English, Chinese and Tamil as well for wider circulation. All religions teach that it is the duty of mankind to protect all living beings, fauna and flora. The contractors must keep this in mind while cleaning the premises.
A list of contractors is displayed on the council’s website at www.mbi.gov.my or residents can call 05 208 3291.