CITY HALL's move to remove abandoned vehicles from the compound of low-cost public housing areas last week must have come as a surprise to the owners. How many would have expected it to happen.
Those whose abandoned vehicles had been wheeled to City Hall's car pound can now pay the fine, tow fees and other charges to reclaim their vehicles or have them sold off as scrap.
One low-cost unit dweller who read the news in Streets last week told me he was happy with the move. Heaping praises on City Hall's enforcement team, he said the local authority should conduct the operations on alternate months and set up a hotline where people can report abandoned vehicles to the local authority.
"DBKL should have done it earlier," the chap said. "The owners of these abandoned vehicles are just selfish.
"They leave the old cars and trucks in low-cost public housing areas because the high pedestrian traffic in the densely populated area reduces the chances of the vehicle parts like the tyres or lamps being stripped by vandals.
"Some of the vehicle owners don't even stay in the flats," he added.
"They only use the parking lots as storage area until they figure out what to do with the vehicles."
I agree with him. Although I don't live in a low-cost flat, my medium-cost condominium has also been used to dump old vehicles. The building manager is facing problems with abandoned vehicles whose owners' whereabouts are not known.
There are now several vans of dubious origins taking up precious parking space. Last year, a truck was left in our compound for about six months until someone complained that it could be used by unscrupulous people to store contraband. It prompted the building manager to put a notice on it saying the the vehicle would be removed if the owner did not claim it. Soon after, the van was driven away.
I am wondering if City Hall would extend the service to all housing areas to get rid of such abandoned vehicles -- especially those that rob rate payers of parking space. Some of those who own old vehicles are conveniently exploiting the inaction of local authorities and using public space as their storage area for free.
One chap I know who operates a business area in Taman Danau Kota, off Genting Kelang, complained about old vehicles being left along the roads there, some illegally along yellow lines and many on legitimate parking lots.
According to him, the vehicles had been seen since a midnight bazaar started operating a few years ago. I also remember seeing the vehicles, most of which were vans and small trucks.
"The vehicles are owned by bazaar traders," he said. "These old vans and trucks are mobile stores, usually filled with merchandise. They are left at public parking lots or by the road side near the bazaar during the day.
"At night, their owners drive them to their respective trading spots at the bazaar. The vehicles are left in public parking lots where parking fee collection has yet to be implemented or parked along yellow lines.
"As a result, they take up valuable parking lots and deprive those who are running errands here of parking space. They are then forced to double park and cause congestion."