| Faza Suraj |
RESIDENTS of the government-allocated houses in Lorong 3, Seria, expressed concerns over the safety of their children as the rundown vacant houses posed danger to the surroundings.
The Bulletin spoke with some of the residents who live nearby and they expressed that they saw children entering and leaving the neglected houses.
According to them, the houses have been abandoned at least for one year and some for as long as 20 years without maintenance or refurbishment done them which caused them to be an eyesore to the public and an inconvenience for the tenants who live next door.
Lauyah Hj Mat Ali, 52, who has been living in one of the houses since 2004, worried that the abandoned places can be a threat to the children. She said she had witnessed a scene where some of them were playing with fire.
She said, “I don’t know where the mattress came from but I saw them set it on fire and luckily there were people around to put it out, otherwise, we would not know what would be the extent of the damage if it happened without anyone around.”
She added that she also feared the abandoned places becoming a spot for unwanted activities.
Muhd Norulehsan bin Asmat, 32, expressed that one possible reason for the trespassing was that the abandoned houses are easily accessible as he had not seen the doors closed or locked.
“If you see it for yourself, the houses are heavily damaged and with the doors remaining open, it welcomes children in and they will see it as a place to play around,” he added.
Dilang anak Tingang, a 60-year-old pensioner who used to work as a labourer for the Municipal department living with his wife for more than 20 years, told the media that there were two abandoned spaces under his house which have been abandoned for six to seven years. “I started to keep dogs to make sure that there are no trespassers because I feel that abandoned places are not a good place for anyone and also it is within the vicinity of my home, I have to protect it from troublemakers,” said Dilang. He further said, “Over time, I notice that, without maintenance, the frame of the folding windows fell off and the glass broke as it landed on the floor. This was not safe.”
Meanwhile, relevant authorities commented that this issue is currently under investigation by the Belait District Office.