Man turns apartment into rubbish dump

MPSP Councilor Tan Cheong Heng (L) discussing with the officers from related agencies on the premise, which is full of rubbish, at Lebuh Keranji, Bukit Mertajam here on Oct 18, 2017 — Sunpix by Lee Hooi Boon
The stench from the apartment on the first floor has become unbearable for the neighbours in the vicinity. — Sunpix by Lee Hooi Boon
The interior of the apartment ... full of rubbish and dirty water. — Sunpix by Lee Hooi Boon

BUKIT MERTAJAM: A 38-year old unemployed man has caused a ruckus at the apartment blocks in Lebuh Keranji here when he literally turned his unit into a rubbish dump by collecting waste and stashing it inside for over 10 years.

The stench from the apartment on the first floor has become unbearable for the neighbours in the vicinity, especially since the units are located in close quarters.

And the foul smell is getting worse by the week, causing unease to tenants such as the operator of a pastry ingredients shop located on the ground floor.

Some of them have lodged complaints to the residents' association.

According to the man's mother, aged 73, who declined to be named, her son had apparently suffered from a form of mental illness after quitting his job in Singapore and returning home here.

He apparently began collecting rubbish and discarding inside his unit since 2001 with his elderly mother powerless to stop him from pursuing such eccentric behaviour.

"I failed to stop my son from taking rubbish back home when I was staying with him. He has caused the premise to be dirty and it stinks because the volume of the trash is getting more. I could not stand the dirt and stink so I had moved out from the premise and I allowed him to stay alone," she told journalists today.

The mother, who works in a wet market, said that she needed to work to help her son.

"He is the eldest in the family. I need to earn money to pay rent for the unit and to give him some allowance although I despise what he has done."

But now, some 16 years later, his habit of collecting rubbish has started to rattle the neighbours, and they are unhappy, the mother admitted.

She is now reaching out to the authorities and non-governmental organisations to help.

"I want to help him, but I do not know how to assist him back to the right path."

Her son was apparently a top student when in school and upon returning back from Singapore, he began to show symptoms of mental disorder.

Seberang Perai Municipal Council councillor Tan Cheong Heng said that he had received at least three complaints about the son's behaviour in the last 10 days.

Tan said he had called the related authorities, including police to visit the premise.

"They also need to refer the son to the Penang Psychiatric Unit in Jalan Perak for an evaluation."

Tan also instructed the council to issue a summon to the owner of the unit to clean up the apartment.