Damaged homes, broken promises

By May Robertson

KUALA LUMPUR, April 14 — Earlier this year, residents of Taman Bukit Teratai in Ampang were told the construction of the Sungai Besi-Ulu Kelang (SUKE) expressway just beside their homes would not disrupt their livelihood. 

Their nightmare, however, began on Tuesday when muddy water and soil gushed into their homes following a downpour.

Residents living in 14 houses in the neighbourhood were forced to bear the brunt of  poor planning as the murky water damaged their homes and belongings. 

One of the worst affected homes was located in Jalan Teratai 1/2, where Saidati Hassan, 56, lives with her husband, daughter, son-in-law and grandson. 

She said the ordeal left her traumatised as she watched the flood waters fill up her living room. 

“My neighbour panicked after water entered her house and I rushed to help her,” she said. 

“Little did I know muddy water was slowly entering my house as well.” 

Saidati said during the incident, her 28-year-old daughter who is eight months’ pregnant, yelled out for her, and when she rushed home, she was shocked to see water flowing from the hill next to their house.

“Water was flowing into the kitchen and living room and my daughter panicked. 

“Our belongings were drenched in water. It was so bad that we saw our carpet floating.”

Feeling helpless, Saidati, her daughter Ainina Noor Rashid and her three-year-old grandson fled their home. 

“Our clothing, cupboards, electrical appliances... they were all damaged.”

She said while expressway concessionaire Projek Lintasan Kota Holdings Sdn Bhd (Prolintas) paid for the family’s stay at a nearby hotel for the night and Ampang Jaya Municipal Council staff helped to clean their house, she is not at peace. 

“I am worried tragedy will strike again and I fear for my family’s safety,” she said. 

Another resident, Chin Loy Min, said he was worried for his family’s safety. 

“I have lived here for 25 years. Last month, the first flood took place but it was not as severe as the one earlier this week.”

The 69-year-old said after the incident he had requested for the developer to build a barrier in front of his home as he felt it was the only way to prevent any untoward incident in the future. 

“We never had this problem previously, it is not fair that we have to deal with this despite promises that floods would not occur,” said Chin. 

Housewife Lim Ley Yow, 49, said she did not expect that mud water from the hills would damage her home when she moved into the neighbourhood a year ago. 

“If I had known the hills here would be cleared to build a highway, I would not have moved in. 

“I lost my washing machine, computer and fridge. I wonder what else I will lose in the coming days.” 

According to residents, a similar incident occurred on March 19, but the damage was not as severe.

In Oct 2015, Malay Mail reported the 31.8km three-lane dual carriage expressway is to cut through more than 60 housing areas between Sri Petaling and Ulu Klang including Sungai Besi, Alam Damai, Cheras-Kajang, Taman Bukit Permai, Taman Putra, Taman Dagang Permai, Taman Kosas, Taman Hillview and Hulu Klang. 

Residents living in some of these housing areas had previously cried foul over the project as it was shrouded in secrecy.

They were left in the dark on whether their homes would be acquired for the project.