(File pix) Highland Tower has been earmarked for potential redevelopment.

REHABILITATION is a key initiative to overcome a prevailing problem of abandoning housing projects during construction.

There are currently over 150 abandoned property projects in Peninsular Malaysia, and the highest is in Selangor.

They are abandoned either because of inexperienced developers, financial problem, poor marketing and sales strategies, disputes between shareholders or mismanagement of the company and business affairs.

Other reasons include poor soil condition whereby the developer has been slapped with stop work order, as well as lack of enforcement and monitoring by the authorities.

Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin said policies pertaining to abandoned projects were being studied.

She said there was a need to review procedures involved in speeding up and simplifying the process of acquiring these projects in order for redevelopment to be carried out.

Rehabilitation is the process taken by several parties to resume construction work and complete an abandoned project or site.

One which will see light at the end of the tunnel is the Highland Towers site in Ampang that had been abandoned since the 1993 landslide tragedy.

Highland Towers is located on a premium land in a high-income location in Taman Hillview, Ulu Klang. On December 11 1993, the earth gave way and a landslide occured at the area after 10 days of rainfall. Due to that one of the three apartment blocks collapsed and claimed 48 lives. The residents of the other two blocks have since been evacuated.

There were plans to repair the two blocks in 1995, but checks revealed that both structures were unstable.

These two blocks are scheduled for demolition soon and the work will be managed by the Ampang Jaya City Council.

Redevelopment of the Highland Towers site could only be finalised after some problems are resolved following the formation of the Highland Towers Redevelopment Committee comprising 10 government agencies.

They are the Selangor government, Land and Mines Department, Mineral and Geoscience Department, Drainage and Irrigation Department, Public Works Department, Ampang Jaya Municipal Council, and Finance, the Economic Affairs, Works, and Environment, and Natural Resources ministries.

The committee obtained a solution after discussions were held with developers and the Insolvency Department.

“We have identified all owners. We hope that by December there could be plans for a redevelopment project for Highland Towers,” said Zuraida.

The redevelopment plan included a housing project for the B40 group (the bottom 40 percent of households with a monthly income of RM3,900 and below), recreational park, tourists and a sports centre.

In August, however, Zuraida had proposed to turn the site into a recreation park as the soil structure in the area was not suitable for residential projects.

The committee for the redevelopment of Highland Towers, chaired by the ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Mohammad Mantek, will decide on a project that is most suitable for the land.

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