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Action on land owner if property not cleaned up
Published on: Thursday, November 30, 2023
By: Sidney Skinner
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Action on land owner if property not cleaned up
The tree, which fell from the vacant land in the Kepayan Ridge area, is presently leaning up against this apartment block.
CITY Hall is gearing up to initiate legal action against a Kepayan landowner, who has repeatedly disregarded its calls to have the overgrown greenery on his/ her undeveloped plot pruned. 

A tree growing on the hillside for the vacant land, off Jalan Bunga Raja Kayu, toppled into the compound of the neighbouring apartments earlier this month and is leaning on one of the blocks. Part of the roof for a carpark beside the building also caved in when the tree fell.

An apartment-owner wrote to Hotline about the potential injuries and loss of life, not to mention the added property damage, which could ensue if more trees on the slope toppled over.  A copy of this correspondence was forwarded to the agency.

A spokesman for City Hall’s Landscaping Department said notices had been issued to the landowner on and off over the past 10 years but he/ she had repeatedly allowed the property to become unkempt.

He said the greenery on the empty plot had not only become a nuisance but was now endangering the public.

“We are presently working with our Legal Department to begin court proceedings against the landowner,” he said.

He said a final warning, signed by the Mayor, would be given to him/ her as part of this process.

“The individual will be notified that his/ her ‘overgrown and unmaintained’ land was proving to be an inconvenience and hazard to those staying in the surrounding area.”

“A seven-day grace period will be given to him/ her to abate this nuisance.

“If the landowner fails to comply, then we will have no choice but to move forward with the court case under Section 49(c) of the Local Government Ordinance.” If found guilty, he/ she faced the possibility of having to settle a fine for as much as RM1,000, serve a jail term of up to six-months or both, according to him.

The spokesman urged rate-payers with vacant land to tend to their property regularly by trimming the long grass and pruning the trees growing on the grounds. 

“Such maintenance should be performed, at least, once a month so that these undeveloped plots do not become a public nuisance.”

WONG, a unit-owner at the apartments, said it had been raining heavily and there had been a strong wind blowing at the time that the tree fell.

“It is about five-storeys high and is roughly about half a metre wide,” he said.

“There are several other trees on the slope which have begun to lean over at a 45 degree angle. 

They could fall over at any time putting us and our loved ones at risk.” He said he had related these misgivings to the MC on several occasions.

“I was made to understand that the firm’s staff had lodged numerous reports with City Hall since 2011 and even personally met with some of its officers about the overgrown greenery on the hillside.

“They were informed, at one stage, that the agency was helpless to intervene as the land was not an open space.

The title for the property had apparently not been handed over to City Hall.”

Wong hoped the authority would find some way to set these technicalities aside and act to safeguard the wellbeing of the many occupants at the apartments.

“City Hall might consider dealing with the overgrown greenery on the hillside and later billing the landowner for the costs of this work. 

The expenditure incurred could be folded into the annual assessment imposed on the landowner.”

Meanwhile, Public Works Department staff have been asked to be more mindful of the condition of the greenery growing on the reserves for those roads under its maintenance in Membakut.

A spokesman said this would go some way to ensuring that motorists were not unduly inconvenienced by an irregularities involving the trees and grass on the verges along these stretches.

He was responding to feedback about a tree which fell across one part of Jalan Bandau-Kuala Penyu yesterday, holding up traffic from the direction of Kg Brunei and Kg Pimping for more than an hour yesterday.

The spokesman said the tree had toppled over during the inclement weather which the town had been experiencing at the time.

“The government concessionaire, tasked with looking after the road, was alerted to this occurrence and had the tree removed several hours after it fell,” he said.

A spokeswoman for the company said a 10-man team from its branch office in the town began dealing with the tree around 5pm.

“The tree which fell was about 10 and a half metres long,” she said.

“Our workers cleared the road and had traffic moving about 30 minutes later. 

“Using chainsaws they cut up the tree trunk into more manageable pieces before moving away the debris.” 

She said a backhoe was deployed to facilitate this effort, which was completed shortly after 8pm.

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