Solve issues in flats by giving residents a voice, says Penang agency

By Opalyn Mok

GEORGE TOWN, Jan 22 — Community involvement is the only way to resolve issues in high-rise residences, Penang Women’s Development Corporation (PWDC) said.

PWDC chief executive officer Ong Bee Leng said PWDC has successfully reached out to the communities in two People’s Housing Projects (PPR), which are public flats, in Penang under its Gender Responsive and Participatory Budgeting (GRPB) programme and it will now assist the housing department in an awareness programme.

“We have reached out to the communities, to get them involved directly with the GRPB programme by participating in it and having a say in it,” she said.

This way, she said, the residents feel a sense of ownership and are more responsible over the PPR flat as a whole.

PWDC had conducted the GRPB programme for Desa Wawasan PPR in Bukit Mertajam and the PPR in Jalan Sungai, where communities were engaged to give their input.

The GRPB programme gave residents opportunities to give opinions on how local councils spend their budget in improving facilities and infrastructures of the PPR project.

Similarly, creating awareness among residents to be more responsible by not dumping rubbish out of their windows should involve the community as a whole, Ong said.

“We will be working out the awareness programme with the state housing department so that we can start reaching out to those living in high rise buildings, especially the PPR first,” she said.

Housing development committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo has ordered the housing department to immediately implement awareness programmes in all PPR projects in the state.

“We understand the need to educate the people against throwing things out the windows in high rise buildings, obstructing the common corridors, conducting illegal renovations or building illegal structures or any activities that is a threat to the safety of others living there so we have to implement this immediately,” he said.

Housing development committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo has ordered the housing department to immediately implement awareness programmes in all PPR projects in the state.

Other than education, Jagdeep said they will now step up enforcement at all PPR in the state, where building supervisors will report residents who flout the Strata Management Act 2013.

“The local authority will issue notices to those who flouted the law, whether it is throwing rubbish out the windows or placing items on ledges of corridors that are a danger to other residents,” he said.

He added that this was no longer an issue on cleanliness, but also an issue of safety as things thrown out of windows could potentially hurt or kill someone walking past on the ground floor.

The housing department and PWDC will meet to discuss the implementation of the awareness programme soon.