May 28, 2008
OWNERS of dilapidated vacant houses in George Town should carry out repairs to the buildings to prevent any untoward incidents, said Penang municipal councillor Tham Weng Fatt.
Tham told a press conference that fire or accidents could occur at the houses, adding that they could also become dens for drug addicts.
“Look after your own property and don’t let it be an eyesore that mars the beauty of George Town,” he said at his service centre in Aboo Sittee Lane yesterday.
Tham said he had received numerous complaints from the public regarding such houses.
“I did a survey last month and counted more than 100 empty old houses badly in need of repairs,” he said.
He said that the houses were located in, among others, Jalan C.Y. Choy, Burmah Road, Malacca Road, Carnarvon Lane, Pahang Road and Macalister Road.
Tham said he met with the owners of about 20 dilapidated buildings, adding that some were now carrying out repairs.
He said the problem of old buildings being left vacant started after the repeal of the Rent Control Act in 2000, and that this problem had been highlighted time and again.
He said he would ask the council’s infrastructure committee at its meeting next week to come up with a set of guidelines or give instructions to these property owners to repair their houses.
Tham also suggested that those who did not need their houses anymore should apply to convert the land into parking lots.
“They might as well get revenue from the land rather than leave the houses vacant,” he said.