Monday, 28 July 2014


Residents of Lorong 14/15A (Lane 14/15A), Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia are up in arms over serious cracks which have appeared in the floor and walls of their houses, their driveways, front yards and garden walls of their houses due to construction work of the massive, deep, concrete-line pits which are mid-points in the Petaling Jaya (PJ) North Sewer project. Following are shocking scenes of the damage to their homes since construction began.
The project's website describes the PJ North Sewer accordingly:-
(To view, click on the image below and those following to enlarge)

Section 14, Petaling Jaya covers an area of rather undulating terrain and Lorong 14/15A is located at one of the lowest points. It's a cul-de-sac (dead end) which joins the main road, Jalan 14/15 a.k.a. Jalan Dato' Jamil Rais at one end, whilst the other end is on the edge of the Sungai Penchala (Penchala River) river reserve. At this point, Sungai Penchala can hardly qualify as a river, not even a stream but is more aptly a glorified storm drain but that's another story. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, below is a satellite view of Lorong 14/15A as seen in Google Maps.
This part of Section 14 is also former mining land, where the soil stability is in doubt and residents fear that such massive digging and boring work will cause soil instability. There are also fears that since the water table is pretty close the surface in this area, the laying of massive pipes underground could divert sub-soil water flow, resulting in underground erosion and sink holes, like what happened recently at the intersection of Jalan Pudu and Jalan Imbi in Kuala Lumpur.
I visited the area in question on the 5th of July, 2014 at 10.00am and the affected houses and the damage was shocking. Construction of a mid-point of this sewer partially blocks Jalan 14/15 and the entrance to Lorong 14/15A. Below is the construction site at the junction of these two roads.
This is a project of the Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water and the contractor is Mankubumi Sdn. Bhd, The signboard below speaks of the "greening" of Petaling Jaya but one look at the picture above and you can see what nonsense it is. Our sewerage system in Petaling Jaya has worked fine for many years, so don't quite understand the need for this massive project.
Heck! It's not as if we've been using a bucket system all these years or pit latrines like the one below.
However, the PJ North Sewer employs a technology implemented in Taiwan which converts the methane from the sewage into either fertiliser or water.
Anyway, below is the circular, concrete lined shaft which is one of the mid-points of the system.
Workmen are doing some work at the bottom of this huge shaft, so you can appreciate the size of it.
The worst affected of the houses is No. 2, a corner house adjacent to this massive shaft. For starters, look at the cracks in the cement and drain on the outside of its garden wall, nearest to the construction site.
This is what it looks like on the other side of the garden wall. You can see the large cracks which have formed between the wall and the cement cracking up.
The next three pictures show you how deep you can insert a stick between a crack in the cement paving of the front yard.
The stick went in about six inches, which indicates the gap below the cement and the soil below it, which suggests a cavity is forming below the cement, which could soon crack and sink.
Look closely and you'll see a wider gap between the first row of tiles and the second, compared to the others, so the roof is sagging.
Below you can clearly see a crack which has formed between the cement and the front wall of the house.

As you enter the house, you can clearly see a crack in the floor.
If you look closely below, you'll notice a vertical crack in the wall running up to the ceiling. As this house is part of a row of four link houses, if the ground beam breaks, they most probably will be uninhabitable and will have to be demolished.
Below, you can see the mis-alignment between the two leaves of the front gate.
And the door in the front gate can't close properly due to the warping.
The cement driveway is also badly cracked and there are fears that the driveway could collapse when a car drives over it, since the drain runs below it.
There is a similar shaft at the dead end of Lorong 14/15A. This is a short lane with two rows of four link houses on either side.
Here is the shaft at the end with a huge circular concrete cover over it.
Beyond it is the river reserve and the top of the concrete lining of Sungai Penchala below.
House No. 11 at the end of the row opposite No. 2 has also suffered considerable damage to its driveway and front yard.
There are serious cracks in the cement around the corner of its garden wall.
In the front of the garden wall and outside drain.
On the inside of this front garden wall as well
And in the garden wall beside the river reserve and the cement of the front yard as well.
There's also a crack between the front wall of the house and the cement of its front yard.
Worse is a crack running up the front wall as well
Fortunately, No. 8, opposite No. 11 and at the other end of the row from No. 2 farther from this pit but being a corner lot, has a fairly large garden compared to the rest and its garden wall which is adjacent to this shaft has suffered serious cracks as well and part of it looks like it could collapse.
Here's another shot showing the cracked wall, the second shaft and the river reserve beyond.
Residents of Lorong 14/15A want the authorities to stop construction work immediately, and proper studies be conducted on soil stability, soil condition and a proper environmental impact assessment conducted to ensure it's safe before construction of the sewer is allowed to continue.
They also fear that any further damage or collapse of their homes would adversely affect the value of their properties.
These homes were built over 50 years ago and many of these these residents of mixed ethnicities have lived here a long time. Some are retirees and and many are elderly, so don't need such hassles in their golden years.
Journalists Siraj Zaini of Harian Metro and Prema of Streets of the New Straits Times graciously came to meet the residents and see for themselves that morning.
Below is Siraj's report in Harian Metro.

It's in Malay and the headline says "Cracks really bad".

No sign of Prema's report in Streets online just yet but look out for it over here.

Thank you Siraj and Prema.

I hear reporters from other papers are coming later this morning.

Here is Brenda Ch'ng's article in The Star. Thanks, Brenda.

Yours truly