residents jittery after blaze
05/05/2009 The Star By CHRISTINA LOW
IT WAS a near miss that residents of the Amandari Condominium at Segambut
in Kuala Lumpur will not forget easily, and they are now living in fear of
a fire outbreak.
Lightning struck three units recently, causing a fire and the residents
now feel jittery each time there is a thunderstorm and flashes of
lightning in the sky.
But the real risk during the fire last week was when the firemen arrived
and had a hard time driving the fire engine through the condominium’s main
Precious time was wasted as the fire engine had to squeeze through the
The residents want the developer to ensure that the two condominium blocks
are safe, particularly with arrester rods in working condition and
ensuring the easy accessibility of rescue vehicles such as fire engines.
The residents raised the issue at a meeting with Azmal Shah, an official
of the developer Sheyher Develop-ment Sdn Bhd. The meeting was arranged by
Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng,
Scene of devastation: One of the three damaged units that were hit by the
On the fateful day when the fire broke out, neighbouring residents who
heard the loud bang rushed out of their homes but did not realise that a
fire had broken out.
According to resident K.P. Tiam, it was the foreign workers from the
construction site opposite the condominium who saw the fire and alerted
them by shouting.
Tiam said the residents then called the fire and rescue services
department which promptly sent a fire fighting team in a fire engine, but
they had a hard time struggling to get past the narrow main entrance.
“Much precious time was wasted as the fire engine had to squeeze its way
through the gate,” he said.
“The condominium developer should do something about the entrance and exit
points because during an emergency, getting to the problem area fast is
essential to protect life and property,” Tiam said.
In addition to the lightning and fire risk, residents of the four-year old
condominium also have a bagful of complaints to highlight.
“We have been suffering from water leakages and our walls are cracking.”
said Ng Yee Kim, 28.
Ng said she had been diligently paying her maintenance fees, but when she
lodged a complaint on her unit with the developer, the company just
“I keep reminding the company about the problem but no action has been
taken to rectify the situation,” said Ng, who then decided to stop paying
her maintenance fees from January this year.
According to Azmal, the residents of the two blocks owed the company more
than RM240,000 in maintenance fees.
“Sometimes, we manage to collect about 50% of the maintenance fees from
the 88 units, but there are times when we only have about 30% to 40%,”
He blamed the residents for not taking the initiative to attend meetings
organised by the developer, saying that usually only about 20% of them
Azmal said some units had gone through various renovations and
rectifications which might be the cause of the leaking problem and other
defects, but a thorough check had to be conducted.
Asked about the fire incident, Azmal said the company was still waiting
for the full report from the fire and rescue services department which
would take about two weeks.
He also said if the residents were not satisfied with the developer, they
should perhaps ask the housing tribunal to mediate on the matter.
Meanwhile, Lim said he had discussed the matter with the developer last
year when he visited the area but the situation had not changed much since
Lim said he understood that the developer needed to collect at least 70%
of maintenance fees monthly for works on the building, but he did not
blame the residents for not wanting to pay as their complaints were not
“I have discussed with the developer urging the company to rectify certain
parts of the condominium first to let the residents know that there is
value for their money,” he said.
“Once residents see that things are being done, I am sure they will pay
their fees,” Lim said.
Lim said he would wait for the report from the fire and rescue service
department to discover the cause of the incident, especially with regard
to the safety of the two blocks.