Cars abandoned at Panaga housing

National 2 minutes, 36 seconds

BELAIT

ABANDONED cars left outside home car workshops at Panaga's National Housing Scheme are frustrating residents, who believe the situation is drawing in illegal activities.

About 20 cars, some intact while others broken into and stripped of their wheels, are now beginning to fill the area that connects the final terrace houses of Jln Kalajiau's Simpang 24 and Jln Keruak's Simpang 23.

Residents complained that the problem surfaced two to three years ago, even though the housing scheme is only five years old.

Residents on the both ends of the simpang perform maintenance works for cars, but The Brunei Times was unable to ascertain who serviced the cars that were later abandoned, due to conflicting reports from neighbours from both sides.

Mukim Seria Consulative Council's (MPM) appointed focal point for Panaga, Hj Hassan Tuah, said the common denominator was that the dumping of cars “only happens” in Panaga where cars are being serviced.

“Both sides (workshop) can claim that it was the opposite side that caused the cars to be dumped. But regardless, each (workshop) has at least some cars that have been left unclaimed,” said Hj Hassan.

The workshop owner on Jln Kalajiau's side blamed the workshop along Jln Keruak for leaving the majority of cars behind in the area. The owner along Jln Keruak did not respond when asked to comment.

However, the Kalajiau workshop owner admitted that clearing the “minority” of unclaimed cars he agreed to service was “a headache” saying the rightful owners were either indisposed or dodging his calls.

“A few of the cars have been here for years. The owner doesn't answer the calls, but we can't just call a scrap metal company to come pick up the car because the decision has to come from the legal owner (with the blue card/vehicle registration),” said the home and workshop owner, who declined to be named.

“In other cases, the car owner delays saying they are busy, wanting to sort out personal matters first. One (vehicle owner) reasoned that he was in jail.”

A concern shared by many residents is that the littering of cars may turn into more than just an eyesore, potentially leading to illegal behaviour in the surrounding area.

“The (dumped) cars have been broken into; windows smashed, parts stolen. Who is to say this won't progress into doing the same to cars actually owned and used by residents nearby?

“And once people are openly vandalising without repercussion, they become more bold (to do more criminal activity),” said 31-year-old resident Khairul Hj Damit.

Hj Hassan said Panaga's neighbourhood watch had recorded suspicious activity in the area previously during night patrols, but added that no criminal activity had been reported at the site.

He warned that solutions needed to be tabled before the situation takes a turn for the worse.

“I have suggested to MPM Seria that we have a sit down with all the home business owners (including the home car workshops), together with the authorities to explore the alternatives in doing business, without bringing in unwanted side effects to the community and without compromising the health and safety of residents,” he added.

The Brunei Times