NEW corporation is to oversee the maintenance of public flats and low-cost apartments, according to the report 'New body to oversee maintenance of low-cost homes' (The Star, Aug 22).
When you see these low-cost buildings, you tend to think that most of the occupants are foreigners, both legal and illegal.
In areas like Cheras Perdana, Puchong, Shah Alam, and Sunway, we see an international population that includes foreign students and refugees.
Malaysians moved out of these flats because the health standards are bad and there are no rules and regulations for the residents to follow. There are incidents of people taking their bikes via the lifts to the upper floors, graffiti painting and urinating in lifts, and beer bottles being thrown out from the top floors.
Many schoolchildren, through no fault of theirs, live in these dirty flats because their parents don't earn enough for the family to afford better accommodation.
I have seen one five-storey apartment in Bukit Tinggi, Klang where the rubbish was not removed for two weeks because maintenance fees had not been collected. The residents want everything to be perfect but they themselves do not follow the rules set by the management committee.
There are older flats in Sri Muda that charge a monthly rent of RM500 but the water doesn't drain out and sometimes floods the balcony.
These flats were built for Malaysian workers by the Selangor State Development Corporation (PKNS) and other private developers but all you see living there now are foreigners who get more priority because their bosses can pay higher rents and keep 15 occupants inside one rented unit.
In Singapore, the housing authority amended a law to make residents share the repair work on their units. Under the new rule, repair cost would be spread between occupants of the upstairs and downstairs units, and workmen would be allowed to enter an occupant's unit upon asking.
It's time that citizens in people's housing project (PPR) homes get better maintenance service. But private high-rise buildings must also be checked by the commissioner of buildings and the joint management boards must be accountable to all owners. Property managers must be honest and homeowners must be reasonable and fair. Services such as security and cleaning must benefit all.