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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Residents fear for safety after barrier removed

The Selangor Times – 24 Feb 2012
By Basil Foo
Residents protesting the removal of the road barrier
along Jalan SS20/17 on Jan 12.
PETALING JAYA: Residents were left fuming when officers from the Petaling Jaya Municipal Council (MBPJ) tore down a security barrier in their neighbourhood on Jan 12.
“Certain areas can (set up barriers), and certain areas can’t. People are putting it up everywhere, why pick on us?” asked SS20 resident Datuk Dr Vincent Ng.
The barrier, made of steel drums welded together, and chained and locked, was placed across Jalan SS20/17 by the SS20 Rukun Tetangga in 2009.
The 61-year-old retiree said he had every cause for concern as a few days after the barrier was removed, a theft occurred when thieves climbed over the gate to steal shoes.
“If the government wants to fight crime, we are helping. Don’t go and sabotage our efforts,” he added. Ng said before the barrier was put up, his house was broken into by thieves who stole goods worth about RM20,000.
Under gated community regulations, boom gates must be manned at all times and barriers can only be placed across roads from midnight to 6am.
“Transforming a neighbourhood from open to gated, semigated, manned, or semi-manned depends on the residents’ decision,” he insisted. He explained that the central zone in SS20 which he lives in has seven entrances and employing guards to man all the openings takes a financial toll on hem.
Ng said before the barrier was demolished last month, the system most of the residents agreed on was the blocking of two access roads into the neighbourhood.
The other entrances only had boom gates, left open at all times, which according to resident HuiSeng Kit, could deter casual thieves. “The barriers and boom gates are there to make it inconvenient for thieves. Even so, hardcore thieves could still come in,” he said. The 53-year-old consultant said in the two years before the barriers were put up, he was the victim of  two robberies.
Long-time resident Andrew Chong, who has stayed in SS20 for 35 years, recalled how his neighbour’s sister was slashed on the neck by two youths on a motorcycle. “They used a retractable blade knife in broad daylight. They wanted her handbag. We had to call the ambulance and the hospital fees came up to RM7,000,” he said.
The residents urged the authorities to allow the neighbourhood to block certain roads for the security of their area.
When contacted, MBPJ councilor Mak Khuin Weng said the council had been put in a no-win situation. “The legal way to resolve this is to tear down all barricades, but that will only incur the wrath of residents,” he acknowledged.

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