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Evaluating Location: Unmasking the Negative Factors When Buying a Property in Malaysia

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Explore key factors to consider before buying property in Malaysia - proximity to cemeteries, oxidation ponds, landfill, abandoned projects, flood risks, and crime rates

What are the Negative Factors when Buying Property in Malaysia?

 

Acquiring a property is undoubtedly a monumental milestone in anyone's life, a decision encrusted with dreams, ambitions, and, often, significant financial investments. But beyond the enchantment of owning a home lies an array of practical considerations, pivotal amongst them being the location of the property. The position of your house influences not just its market value but also its livability and your overall lifestyle. In Malaysia, several locational aspects can potentially negatively impact these aspects. In this comprehensive guide, we aim to uncover these factors, thus enabling you to make an informed and wise decision when purchasing your dream home in this vibrant country.

Proximity to Cemeteries

The allure of serene landscapes, undisturbed tranquillity, and a sense of history might make living near a cemetery seem like an unconventional yet appealing choice for some. However, in many cultures, particularly in Malaysia, being in the vicinity of a graveyard is often associated with superstitions, spiritual beliefs, and an inevitable sense of discomfort.

Residents may experience a decrease in their property's aesthetic value, not to mention the potential difficulty in reselling or renting out the property due to these prevalent beliefs. The aura of gloom and solemnity associated with such spaces might dampen the everyday liveliness that many homeowners look forward to in their residential neighbourhood.

Moreover, cemeteries can inadvertently attract disruptive activities such as vandalism or unsolicited intrusions from ghost hunters or thrill-seekers, causing unnecessary disturbance. For instance, a house at Jalan Semerah Padi, adjacent to the Cheras Christian Cemetery, might face these challenges, making it a less desirable choice for potential buyers or tenants.

Presence of Oxidation Ponds

Despite their economic and operational advantages, oxidation ponds can pose serious environmental and health risks when located close to residential properties.

One of the primary downsides of oxidation ponds is the unpleasant odour they can emit, particularly when overloaded or inadequately maintained. The smell arises from the anaerobic decomposition of organic matter, leading to the release of gases like hydrogen sulphide and ammonia. Not only are these odours potentially unbearable, but they can also cause irritation to the eyes, nose, throat, and even the lungs, thereby posing significant health risks.

In addition, these ponds can attract insects, rodents, and other pests, which can be a source of nuisance, transmit diseases, and decrease the overall quality of life in the neighbouring residential areas. More concerning is the environmental hazard they present. Overflow or leakage from the oxidation ponds can contaminate nearby groundwater and surface water sources with harmful pathogens and nutrients.

An example of an oxidation pond in Malaysia is the Taman Timor Oxidation Pond in Johor, operated by Indah Water Konsortium (IWK). While the pond has been treated with a beneficial microorganism product (mPHO) to improve water quality and reduce odour, it still requires continuous monitoring and maintenance for efficient and safe operation. This underscores the importance of potential homeowners thoroughly evaluating their prospective property's proximity to such facilities.


Abandoned Projects Nearby

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One of the more daunting prospects for potential homeowners is discovering that their dream home is near an abandoned project. This term denotes a development project that has been discontinued or put on hold indefinitely due to varying reasons, such as financial difficulties, legal disputes, or poor planning. While an abandoned project might seem like a distant concern, its implications for the surrounding environment and inhabitants can be far-reaching.

These dormant structures often become hotbeds for criminal activities, causing safety concerns for nearby residents. They can also attract pests, significantly lowering the aesthetic appeal and the property values in the surrounding area. Perhaps the most profound effect is the degradation of the overall quality of life for local residents, who have to contend with issues such as noise, pollution, and traffic congestion, among others.

An infamous example in Malaysia is the Plaza Rakyat project in Kuala Lumpur. Initially planned as a mixed-use development consisting of a hotel, office towers, a shopping mall, and residential units, the project was abandoned in 1997 due to the Asian financial crisis. For the past two decades, the project was to be an eyesore and a source of various issues for nearby residents.

As of January 31, 2023, 115 abandoned housing projects in Peninsular Malaysia had negatively affected 14,206 buyers. The number of such projects is expected to rise due to the effects of the Movement Control Order (MCO), which saw development projects halted to curb the spread of Covid-19. It's therefore crucial for potential buyers to research nearby development projects to avoid the risks associated with abandoned buildings.

Risk of Flooding

While Malaysia's tropical climate brings a certain allure, it also harbours the peril of flooding, especially during the monsoon season. Floods can lead to widespread damage to properties and infrastructure and create health and safety risks for inhabitants, turning a dream home into a potential nightmare.

Several factors, including poor drainage systems, rapid urbanisation, and land subsidence (the sinking of the ground surface), can heighten an area's vulnerability to floods. Areas such as the districts of Klang and Petaling in Selangor, and Shah Alam in Kuala Lumpur, are known to be highly susceptible to flash floods.

To prevent the costly mistake of purchasing a property in a flood-prone area, it is advisable to use tools like https://coastal.climatecentral.org/, which displays areas likely to be affected by a specific rise in sea level. This knowledge can help buyers make informed decisions regarding their property's location, reducing the risk of potential flood damage.

 

Proximity to Land Fields

Land fields, or landfill sites, are designated areas where waste materials are disposed of by burying them under layers of soil. While they play an essential role in waste management, their proximity to residential areas can pose significant health and environmental risks.

Air pollution is a primary concern with landfills, as they emit harmful gases like methane, carbon dioxide, and hydrogen sulphide. These gases contribute to unpleasant odours, air pollution, and can exacerbate respiratory conditions such as asthma and bronchitis.

Water contamination is another major risk associated with landfills. They can leach toxic substances like heavy metals, pesticides, and pathogens into groundwater and surface water sources, resulting in polluted drinking and irrigation water and leading to various diseases.

Soil degradation is another potential downside, as landfills can alter the soil's physical and chemical properties, affecting the growth of plants and crops and reducing soil biodiversity. Moreover, land fields are prone to fires, which can harm air quality, human health, and spread to nearby buildings and forests, causing property damage and ecological destruction.

For instance, the Orang Asli residents of Kampung Pasir Linggi claim that their lives are ‘miserable’ when they have to smell the stench of garbage from the disposal site located by the road leading to their residential area for the past 20 years.

Before purchasing a property, it is advisable to research nearby landfills. Tools like online maps, satellite images, and the Department of Environment's website can provide crucial information about the location and size of nearby land fields. Additionally, potential homeowners should consider visiting the area and speaking to locals to gain a first-hand understanding of the conditions and potential problems caused by the land fields.

Crime Rate in the Area

One crucial factor that should never be overlooked when buying a property is the crime rate in the area. Living in a high-crime area can significantly compromise your safety, security, peace of mind, and the overall quality of life. It can also impact property value and the ease with which you might sell your home in the future.

In Malaysia, like any other country, crime rates can vary dramatically from one area to another. High crime rates could be indicative of deeper systemic issues in the community, such as high unemployment, low education levels, and a lack of community cohesion. https://www.numbeo.com/crime/country_result.jsp?country=Malaysia shows the comparison of crime rates between two areas.

It is advisable to research crime rates in your potential neighborhood thoroughly. Various online platforms provide information about the criminal activities reported in different regions of Malaysia. One such platform is Numbeo shows the comparison of crime rates between two areas.

 

Furthermore, visiting the neighbourhood at different times of the day, particularly at night, can give you a sense of how safe you would feel living there. Speaking to residents can also provide invaluable insights into safety in the area.

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Conclusion

Choosing a home is more than just deciding on the house itself; it is about selecting a location that will enhance your lifestyle, provide a safe and healthy living environment, and prove to be a worthwhile investment. Factors such as proximity to cemeteries, oxidation ponds, abandoned projects, land fields, flood-prone areas, and crime rates are critical considerations that can significantly impact these aspects.

While the process may seem overwhelming, knowing what to look out for and doing your due diligence will ensure you make a well-informed decision. It is also crucial to consider professional guidance from real estate experts, as they can provide a more comprehensive understanding of the property market in Malaysia and help navigate potential pitfalls.

Buying a home is a journey that should be embarked on with not just dreams and aspirations but also armed with extensive knowledge and understanding. It's about creating a space that you and your family can live in comfortably and safely, a place that truly feels like home. The aim of this guide was to equip you with some of this knowledge to make your home-buying journey a smooth and rewarding experience.