PENGERANG: Dozens of residents who were relocated due to the development of the Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development (Rapid) expressed disappointment over the poor workmanship of their new homes in Taman Bayu Damai.
They are upset that their houses, which are less than a year old, have already started cracking, with some wide enough for fingers to go through.
They blamed this on soil movement.
“The foundation for many of the houses have started to slip, causing huge holes to appear below our single-storey bungalow,” said retiree Lukiman Sastaro.
The 67-year-old, who moved from Sg Kapal, said his house was among the worst hit.
“I got over RM300,000 in compensation and used RM105,000 to buy this house. The rest went into renovations,” he said, adding that he was now having sleepless nights.
“Even my driveway sank by several centimetres,” said Lukiman.
Another resident, Sia Pek Im, 61, said she was worried about the safety of her two grandchildren after huge cracks appeared in her kitchen.
“But I have nowhere else to go,” she said.
Another, Hamidon Ahmad, said he, too, suspected that there was soil movement and that the developer had not carried out proper mitigation works before building the houses.
“I decided to carry out repair works on my own as I am worried for my family’s safety,” said the 56-year-old.
“Even my relatives’ home next door is affected. The relevant agencies should check if the houses have met the safety criteria before the Certificate of Fitness is issued,” he said, adding that the site used to be a swamp.
Kota Tinggi district officer Mohd Noorazam Osman confirmed that it was a geological problem due to earth movement.
“We are working with the state Economic Planning Unit (Upen), which is in charge of the project to remedy this,” he said.
“Residents’ safety is our main concern and houses that are badly damaged will be demolished,” he said, adding that it was up to Upen to decide what action should be taken against the developer or contractor.
State Upen director A. Rahim Nin said the Johor government had appointed a private contractor under the design-and-build concept for the 631 houses in the area.
“So far, 555 units have been given to residents who were relocated from Kg Sungai Kapal, Kampung Langkah Baik and Kampung Teluk Empang,” he said.
“We have directed the contractor to repair the defects – as based on our agreement with them. The defect liability period is two years,” he said, adding that 67% of the complaints had been addressed so far.
By Nelson Benjamin The Star/Asia News Network