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Owners of cracked homes get RM985,500

13/05/2009 The Star

FIFTY-ONE houseowners in Taman Kota Permai in Bukit Mertajam received an ex-gratia payment of RM985,546 from the Sewerage Service Department as compensation for damage caused to their houses by a sewerage project in the area.

Taman Kota Permai special action committee chairman Bernard Cheen said the houseowners were “generally happy” with the payment.

He said the payment ranged between some RM2,000 and RM43,847 for each houseowner depending on the extent of damage to their homes.

The houseowners received their cheques from Seberang Prai Municipal Council president Farizan Darus who represented the department at the council’s headquarters in Bandar Perda, Bukit Mertajam yesterday.

Taman Kota Permai houseowners showing their cheques to Farizan (right).

Cheen said cracks began appearing in the houses when construction work on the RM73mil sewerage project began in March 2006.

He said the project contractor had dug two 10m-deep holes to lay an underground sewerage pipe that cut across the housing area to connect it to a nearby sewerage plant.

The pipe installation work began in September 2007.

“The contractors could have hit the underground water table that sent rippling effects to the houses located within a 100m-radius from the project site,” he said.

Cheen said the department later appointed Kumpulan Ikram Sdn Bhd to investigate the causes of the cracks within the housing area and to work out a compensation plan for the residents based on the severity of the damage to their houses.

An affected resident Ong Hock Poo, 52, who received an ex-gratia of RM43,847, said she did not expect to receive the money that early.

“In some cases, the payment can take up to 10 years. We are accepting the payment, although the amount is lesser than our estimated losses,” she said.

Another resident Syed Jahir Syed Ahamed, 47, said he would use his ex-gratia of RM38,365 to repair his house after the sewerage project was completed in October.

“The cracks on my house flooring have caused a section to stick out a little. I have used duct tape to cover the gap to prevent my little children from injuring themselves when walking or running in the house,” he said.

Syed Jahir’s neighbour Thin Chee Hoong, 48, said he could not close his backdoor after the doorframe collapsed by 2.5cm.

Farizan said the department was still nego-tiating the quantum of ex-gratia payment for another nine houseowners, who were unhappy with their earlier proposed amounts.


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