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iSpeak: Neighbours – Either Love them or Leave them

Lim Garden Residents Association has a WhatsApp group for the residents to discuss issues in the housing estate. The frequent complaint is about neighbours throwing garbage along the roadside and in front of other people’s houses. These people are incorrigible and continue with their habit in spite of being advised not to do so.

In fact, MBI officers go around and impose fines of RM1000 for people caught throwing garbage along the roadside and residents who have not cut the grass in their compound. Two residents in Lim Garden have been fined for the two offences. Residents should assist MBI officers by being vigilant and report the offenders to MBI. These people may be your friends, but they are a public nuisance and should be punished. We always complain that the laws are there, but not enforced. Let us make sure that laws are implemented and neighbours who flout get punished.

While reporting about their neighbours, the complainants should make sure they are not violating any law or a counter report can be made. This is what happened to a friend of mine. He reported against his neighbour who made a counter report. Action was taken against both.

Noise pollution is another issue. Neighbours playing loud music or raucous mahjong playing can be reported if it happens during certain hours. Section 13(1) of the Minor Offences Act 1955 states that anyone who plays any instruments between midnight and 6am in such a manner that it causes annoyance to other people is committing an offence. Report noisy neighbours to the police.

Road accessibility, when blocked by tents set up for weddings or funerals, is another irritant. Especially when detours also lead to another blockage. Total closure of road is controversial. When neighbours are friendly and bear up with the inconvenience, all is amicable. However, it is useful for residents to be aware that approvals from MBI are required to put up tents across the road and certain conditions are stipulated for this.

Normally the person closing the road gets permission from the neighbours and if it is a wedding, the neighbours are invited for the function. However, an enforcement officer from MBI related a case whereby a person had closed the road for a few days and refused to remove the tents. A police report was made to remove the tent. For cases like this, neighbours should make a police report.

Another common problem faced by residents is animal lovers rearing many dogs and cats in their house. Sometimes there may be incessant barking and complaints to them are met with hostility. I know of cases where the neighbours had to report to MBI.

Then there are neighbours who walk their dogs without scooping up the poop. I tell these people off; most of these people are the so-called educated ones. Usually just staring at them keeps them away from your house; they know they are in the wrong.

And now we come to the pigeon feeders. Pigeon droppings are acidic and damage the paint of cars. They may be carrying diseases. Some people think it is a good blessing to feed pigeons. We have to explain and make the person understand that it is not a good practice. I wonder whether there is any law against this.

MBI has created an illegal dumpsite in front of my mother’s house along Jalan Kinta in Lim Garden. After cleaning drains, MBI staff dump the garbage next to the drain and others start throwing their rubbish there. That’s what happened in my mother’s house; others are throwing garbage and no one collects the garbage. I have to fine MBI RM1000 for creating this illegal dumpsite. Surely the Rule applies for all. I wonder who I can complain to?

However, before taking any action try talking to your neighbour first. It can be difficult to pluck up the courage to talk directly to a neighbour about a problem of their making. But sometimes people are unaware that they are causing a problem, especially when it comes to noise.

If you’re able to talk directly to your neighbour, you may find that the problem can be sorted out quite quickly. However uncomfortable you might feel about raising the issue, you’ll probably feel a lot worse if you have to continue living with the problem. If you’re genuinely frightened of talking to your neighbour, due to anti-social behaviour, for example, you should contact the Residents Association for assistance.

I get regular calls from people about problems with neighbours expecting me to sort things out for them. I inform them that all the media can do is highlight the problem. Nothing more.

Lastly getting along well with your neighbours makes your community a happier and safer place to live. The key to being a good neighbour is clear and consistent communication. Try to be courteous by keeping your noise levels low and your yard well-maintained.

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