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Council says structure illegal, fines owner
Published on: Tuesday, January 09, 2024
By: Sidney Skinner
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Council says structure illegal, fines owner
Many of those living in this part of Jalan Nosoob Hungab are concerned about the presence of this ‘kongsi’ which has been coming up over the past few months.
THE owner of some vacant land, off Jalan Nosoob Hungab, has been compounded RM3,000 for defying the Penampang District Council’s instructions to stop putting up a “kongsi (workers’ quarters)” despite knowing full well that the structure is illegal.

A spokesman for the agency said it had yet to approve the building plan for the “kongsi” as the individual had, so far, failed to fulfil the “Council’s checklist” of requirements, including the specifications on the setback from the boundary fence for Hing’s Park Apartments nearby.

He said the plan had been submitted twice to the agency over the past few months.

The Council’s staff hands over the compound to the foreman at the construction site.

“The landowner was asked to cease all construction at the site until the green light was given for the plans,” he said.

“Nevertheless, it came to our attention late last month that work on the ‘kongsi’ had been proceeding on the sly. 

“We were made to understand that activity on the building was carried out on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays when our office was closed.”

He said the Council received video footage from certain parties to corroborate these goings-on. 

Owing to this, the spokesman said, the decision was made to compound the landowner under the Uniform Building Bylaws 2022. 

“He risks being compounded up to RM 5,000 if he remains stubborn and refuses to comply with the conditions stipulated therein. 

In the worst case scenario, he said, the agency could begin legal proceedings against the landowner.

“If the matter is taken to court and he is found guilty, a fine for as much as RM100,000 could be imposed on him.

“Alternatively, the individual may also have to serve a jail-term of up to one year.

“In the worst-case scenario, both penalties could be enacted against the operator by the magistrate.”

He said five of its Enforcement staff went to the empty land on Thursday to serve the compound and a new stop-work notice.

“A foreman at the site acknowledged receipt of these documents on the landowner’s behalf. 

Brick-laying work was observed taking place on the land beside the Apartment last week

“Our personnel observed, at the time, that brick-laying work was being carried out on the grounds.”

The spokesman said the landowner met with senior staff at the Council’s Engineering Section, on the following day, to talk about what had transpired.

“He was sternly informed to halt all building work on his property. Our officer also pointed out all the irregularities involving the construction and asked him to resubmit his building plan.

“The individual has been given a grace-period to do this.” 

He was responding to the outcry from certain members of the public in this part of Jalan Nosoob Hungab about the “kongsi” which was being built.

They took the Council to task for failing to do more to halt the progress of the structure which had gradually been coming up over the past few months.

Some questioned the lack of a buffer zone between the new building and the perimeter fence of the adjacent residential property, saying that – in the event of a fire breaking out at the “kongsi” – the latter would also be put at risk.

Others wanted to know if such a building was allowed under the guidelines as pertained to zoning and land-use in the district.  

The spokesman said a meeting was held at the Council’s premises yesterday to discuss these concerns.

He refuted the suggestion of the agency’s inaction, saying that this was the third time since October that the Council had officially asked him to settle the documentation required for the building work.

“A notice was initially given to him on October 27,” he said. “The landowner appealed to us, shortly thereafter, to stay our hand.

“We were made to understand that his/ her lot had been empty for a long time and repeatedly became unkempt. 

“So, rather than going through the hassle of dealing with the overgrown greenery over and over again, he/ she decided to build some accommodation for his employees.”

The Council’s staff briefed the landowner, at this stage, on what he needed to do to realise his intentions but, three weeks later he had yet to meet these requirements, according to him. 

“A stop-work notice was, subsequently, served to the landowner on November 20.”

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