THE family of an elderly couple living in a cockroach-infested flat said they have tried repeatedly to solve the problem, but to no avail.
Drink-stall assistant Lim Chin Ting, 74, and his wife, Madam Soh Siew Zhen, 66, have lived in their three-room Housing Board unit in Eunos Crescent since 1977.
Over the years, Madam Soh's compulsive hoarding habit has led to a cluttered flat overrun by cockroaches and flies.
The pests have even spilt over to their next-door neighbour's flat.
"We've basically given up," said the couple's youngest child, who wanted to be known only as Mr Lim.
"We tried very hard to clear the stuff. But whenever there was empty space, things just stacked up," said the 31-year-old IT business owner, who moved out of the flat 15 years ago.
His two older siblings also live elsewhere.
The younger Mr Lim added: "She will listen if you speak calmly to her. But once we start moving her things, she will get very worked up.
"We cannot stop her."
The couple's daughter agreed.
Ms Lim, 44, said: "What we can do, we've already done.
"Let's see what the authorities can do."
Marine Parade Town Council and HDB said on Tuesday that they would work with the residents to "ensure that the flat is properly maintained".
The town council's chairman, Mr Lim Biow Chuan, said it was alerted to the matter last December.
"Our cleaners cleared the corridor and that was the end of the matter as there was no further feedback," said the Mountbatten MP, adding that the staff did not enter the flat.
Marine Parade GRC MP Fatimah Lateef said: "This family has never opened their door during our house visits over the years."
She said they have since spoken to the couple and offered to help clean up the flat.
"They want time to keep their things. We have set a deadline to come in and help with the cleanup," she added.
Madam Soh's children are worried about their mother's well-being.
The younger Mr Lim said: "I'm really afraid of the aftereffect on my mum. She will be really upset if they clear her things."