Good fences make good neighbours? Residents of Bangsar’s Taman Weng Lock want Tenaga to stop realignment of boundary

·5-min read
The residents on Jalan Senangin are concerned about the realigning of a property boundary by TNB. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
The residents on Jalan Senangin are concerned about the realigning of a property boundary by TNB. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 14 — Residents on Jalan Senangin in Taman Weng Lock, Bangsar are once again faced with a new “problem” after fighting off a similar one almost 10 years ago.

Just when they thought there would be no more “threats” from any construction alignment by Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB), 13 homeowners had earlier this month received a notice to vacate the open space next to their homes.

This is to allow for the building of a fence that will separate the utility company’s property from that of the residents. TNB’s headquarters is in Bangsar and their property is adjacent to Taman Weng Lock.

According to those affected, their greatest fear is the general safety of residents should there be an emergency such as a fire.

“There is simply no manoeuvring space for a fire truck. If they move the fence down, and if a fire breaks out, I think we will be doomed,” longtime resident Melissa Yew said when met on site recently.

In February 2012, TNB had promised the Jalan Senangin residents that it would be realigning the construction of a barricade to the existing chain link fence above the slope.

Back then, a TNB spokesman said the construction of a 0.6 metre-high concrete wall and 2.1 metre-high chain link fence on the slope had been initiated for security reasons since the land belonged to TNB.

It was reported by Star Metro on February 20, 2012 that Jalan Senangin residents were living in fear that the construction of a barricade on the slope might cause soil erosion and result in a landslide.

Residents were quoted as saying they were concerned that any disturbance would cause instability to the already-precarious slope.

Today, Jalan Senangin remains a cul-de-sac and right at the end of the road is a fire hydrant located outside Geoff Millichamp’s home.

Geoff Millichamp, who has lived on Jalan Senangin for 20 years, would lose his lawn to the construction of a fence by TNB. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
Geoff Millichamp, who has lived on Jalan Senangin for 20 years, would lose his lawn to the construction of a fence by TNB. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

Millichamp, who moved in more than 20 years ago, said if the chain link fence is shifted down, he will lose the entire lawn currently attached to his house.

It will also cut across the neighbour’s backyard, leaving no room for an emergency escape.

“I know my lawn is ‘their lawn’ but when we moved in, the house was built in a way that included the lawn space. Only 10 years ago we found out that our lawn was not ours.

“But we never expected TNB to reclaim this space as it serves no purpose for them since it has been part of our homes for decades,” he said when met.

He added that most of the residents who live on Jalan Senangin are retirees and the empty space was a decent plot of land for them to do their gardening.

“At the same, there are children who play and come out to cycle on this road. Where will they go if even this small piece of land is taken away from them?” he said.

Unpleasant surprise

According to Yew, TNB officers had tried to serve residents with letters ordering them to vacate the land in question.

Melissa Yew worries the realignment of the fence would compromise the safety of the residents. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
Melissa Yew worries the realignment of the fence would compromise the safety of the residents. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

However, Yew said she refused to acknowledge the letter as there was no proper engagement with the residents.

“But because they could not serve us with the notice, they decided to just drop it off in our postbox.

“We were required to sign-off upon receiving the notice, but I refused to and we demand an explanation of their reason for relocating their fence right behind our homes,” she said.

The notice, sighted by Malay Mail, was dated October 25, and ordered affected residents to vacate the land within 14 days from the date of the notice.

The green patch in question... residents have been told to 'vacate' so TNB can re-align its fence. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
The green patch in question... residents have been told to 'vacate' so TNB can re-align its fence. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

The notice cited reasons like the residents occupying the land illegally and there is a threat of legal action should the residents fail to vacate the land within the stipulated time frame.

“The contents of the notice sounded very unkind to the residents. What do they mean by the residents occupying the land illegally? There are only plants that are planted on the plot.

Bangsar resident Kevin Mark Low said the notice from TNB was quite harsh as the residents had not done anything wrong. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
Bangsar resident Kevin Mark Low said the notice from TNB was quite harsh as the residents had not done anything wrong. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

“Can’t they even exercise some understanding instead of accusing the residents in that tone (in the notice)? The residents did not do anything against the law,” said a concerned Bangsar resident, Kevin Mark Low.

Since then, the residents have submitted a petition to TNB to retain the existing fence boundary at its current location — upslope.

In the petition, residents said as in previous decades, TNB maintenance crew have always had unobstructed access to service the green corridor if and when work, cabling or anything else was required, as no neighbour along that stretch has unlawfully fenced up or claimed any part of that slope for their own personal use, aside from planting trees and shrubs.

“We have yet to hear back from TNB and we are also requesting to meet with them and try to resolve this matter,” said another resident Victor Low.

Flash flood first

Victor Low, a resident on Jalan Senangin, pointing out the red pegs installed few months back by TNB to mark where the fence would be moved. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
Victor Low, a resident on Jalan Senangin, pointing out the red pegs installed few months back by TNB to mark where the fence would be moved. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

Low also mentioned that since the construction of the new TNB headquarters commenced, a flash flood happened about six months ago.

“Water washed down from the slope from the construction site into several residents’ houses and this has never happened before,” he said.

Another longtime resident, Daniel Yap, said the water was ankle-deep in his house and that was the first time since moving in during the late 80s that a flood occurred in the neighbourhood.

Resident Daniel Yap speaks about the TNB issue in Bangsar November 5, 2021. ― Picture by Miera Zulyana
Resident Daniel Yap speaks about the TNB issue in Bangsar November 5, 2021. ― Picture by Miera Zulyana

“I inherited this house from my father who used to work with TNB. We don’t feel good, of course, with what they are trying to do now and we hope they change their mind,” said Yap.

Malay Mail reached out to TNB’s property services department for comment but has yet to receive a response.

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