BY STORIES BY BAVANI M
PHOTOS BY ART CHEN
Rundown: The former Brickfields police headquarters. DBKL and the Federal Territory Fire and Rescue Department will be identifying derelict buildings that are potential fire hazards.
KUALA Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) will go ahead and demolish abandoned and rundown buildings in the city that pose a danger to the public and are potential fire hazards.
Kuala Lumpur mayor Datuk Seri Ahmad Phesal Talib said DBKL would work with the Federal Territory Fire and Rescue Department to identify such structures.
“We are concerned about the situation as many of the building owners have taken too long to demolish these buildings.
“Also, the abandoned buildings have become sites for rubbish-dumping and unsavoury activities, as well as a den for drug addicts,’’ Ahmad Phesal said.
“I have asked DBKL deputy director-general (Socioeconomic Development) Datuk Amin Nordin Abd Aziz to form a task force to tackle this problem,” he said.
The mayor added that once the buildings were identified, the owners would be informed and asked to demolish them.
“If they fail to do so within the stipulated period, DBKL will proceed to demolish the structures and bill them for it,’’ he said.
The mayor was responding to a recent StarMetro report that highlighted the problem of faulty fire hydrants and fire hazards.
It had stated that many tourist hotspots and shopping centres were potential fire traps due to poor planning and congestion.
Amin said the task force would also identify buildings that were fire hazards, where every inch of available space in the premises including staircases were filled with merchandise, leaving very little room for anything else.
He said areas such as Petaling Street, Jalan Masjid India and Little India had many such buildings and that a survey would be conducted to determine the numbers and solutions would be found to make them a safer place.
“We will also identify firehydrants that have been blocked or concealed due to roadworks or by ignorant traders,’’ he said, adding that making the city safe was everyone’s responsibility.
Federal Territory Fire and Rescue Department director Khirudin Drahman praised the mayor over the move to demolish derelict buildings.
“It is about time. We get many calls from the public tipping us off about fires in abandoned buildings, occupied by drug addicts and vagrants who have made the sites their home. The premises are usually filled with rubbish and materials that catch fire easily.
Eyesore: An abandoned building in Jalan Imbi, Kuala Lumpur.
“Putting out fires in abandoned buildings is more dangerous to our firemen. We are at risk because the structure is dilapidated and can collapse any time,” he said.
When contacted, waste management company Alam Flora Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Mohd Zain Hassan said the company was willing to work with DBKL and the Fire and Rescue Department to clear abandoned buildings of waste that could lead to fires.
Mohd Zain said abandoned buildings such as Pekeliling Flats, the former Brickfields police station, and many other buildings had become a dumping ground for rubbish and other combustible materials.