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As “occupier” (See Town and Country Planning Act 176 or Act 172) in Section 3, and in response to requests by several Petaling Jaya residents I have, on behalf of Parti Rakyat Malaysia (PRM), submitted a four page memorandum to reject the “Draf Rancangan Tempatan Petaling Jaya 1 (DRTPJ1)”. The memorandum was sent on 18th April 2002 to the President of the Petaling Jaya Town Council (MPPJ), with copies to the Selangor State Planning Officer and the Selangor Menteri Besar.

The DRTPJ1 has been touted as a “redevelopment” plan for part of Petaling Jaya (cf para 2.1.1., p. 2-1), which involves many aspects, including urban structure, landscape, environment, social facilities, infrastructure, utilities and transport. But it focuses on four important areas, namely, housing, industries, commerce and roads and bridges, which will have far reaching consequences on the life of people.

We are not against development provided that they are clearly for the interests and welfare of the people at large and not for the profit of a handful few. We find that the DRTPJ1 not only contains elements of illegality, but is also anti-people. So, we recommend that it to be rejected. The reasons are as follows:

Firstly, any local plan must be consistent with a structure plan that has been approved. The DRTPJ1 is not in line with the “Rancangan Struktur Petaling Jaya dan Sebahagian Daerah Klang (RSP&SDK)”, which was gazetted on 15th February 1996 (Selangor Gazette, vol 49, no. 4). We have been advised that it contravenes both the Act 172 and the National Land Code, and so the Constitution too. We have asked our lawyers to study this matter and to take the necessary legal action.

Secondly, upon the declaration for development of areas specified under the DRTPJ1 for the housing, industries commerce and roads, then “it shall be the duty of the local planning authority to acquire by purchase or by compulsory acquisition” (Act 172, article 38, 2). Hundreds, maybe thousands, of people are now threatened by such acquisition. At the same time, the Petaling District Office appears to be attempting to acquire land by other means.  The people, particularly  in sections 1,2 and 3 and 4, were promised during the last elections that their land lease would be extended. But now some of them have been asked to hand over their lease, pay between RM100,000 to RM150,000, or the lease will lapse. We have also asked our lawyers to look into this matter and take appropriate actions.

Thirdly, with so many projects to build houses and commercial centres, roads and overhead bridges, and to plant trees, the DRTPJ1 will provide wide opportunities for a small number people, especially contractors in connivance with politicians and serving or retired senior MPPJ officials, to make money. This can breeds corruption. On the other hand, the interests, welfare and even security of the people are not given due consideration (like land acquisition). People must be before profit, not vice versa.

Finally, the redevelopment projects do not guarantee better quality of life. Social crimes like killing, robbery, rape and gambling are on the rise. As a result of poor planning, the problems of water supply, flash floods, drainage and sewerage, traffic jams and parking, garbage collection, pollution and environmental destruction have become worse. The DRTPJ1 does not address all these in satisfactory manner.  They will become worse with more high rise buildings, and expansion of commercial centres and industrial areas following DRTPJ1.

Dr Syed Husin Ali
President, PRM
21 April 2002