ISKANDAR PUTERI (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Residents in a gated residential estate in Johor are seeing red over a house that has been turned into a foreign worker hostel, with an industrial kitchen set up behind the the home.
The residents claimed that the house in the popular East Ledang estate of landed houses in Iskandar Puteri, formerly called Nusajaya, was rented out to the workers by its Singaporean owner. The township is part of the Iskandar Malaysia region in southern Johor.
Iskandar Puteri is located just minutes away from the Johor side of the Malaysian customs checkpoint at the Second Link.
A resident of East Ledang, art gallery director N. Parameswaran, 69, who has lived there for eight years, said the group of about 20 men who rented the house are believed to be China nationals.
"Apart from it being a workers' quarters, they have also set up an industrial kitchen at the open space behind the house and a chef comes in daily to cook for the workers," he said. "In addition to gas tanks, there are also huge industrial gas tanks in the compound for outdoor cooking, which is done about twice a day".
Datuk Parameswaran said the residents had forwarded many complaints to the estate's management since February but no action was taken.
Another resident, known only as Mr Lee, 50, blamed the inconsiderate house owner, whom the neighbours have never met.
"We have tried looking for the owner but he never comes around and only deals through an agent.
"All we know is that the owner is from Singapore and they can't be bothered as they don't live here, which is very selfish of them," he added.
He said officers from the health departmenf of the Johor Baru Central Municipal Council were fogged the house at least three times this year after dengue cases were reported there.
Businessman P. Jeyaratnam, 62, said the neighbourhood was marketed as an upmarket residential area with premium prices, and home buyers were promised a high-quality lifestyle.
"It is a great place to call home with friendly neighbours but we are uncomfortable with the presence of these men who we do not even know".
Mr Jeyaratnam believed that food cooked in the house was being distributed to two other houses at the second phase of East Ledang nearby.
When contacted, JB Central Municipal Council president Adib Azhari Daud said the council would look into the matter.