Cover of the PJ Local Plan 1 (All pics
courtesy of KW Mak) IN the previous instalment of Ampersand, I explained how the Selangor government came up with the Rancangan Struktur Daerah Petaling dan Sebahagian Daerah Klang as the area’s blueprint for development.
The said structure plan has since fallen into obscurity, and the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) rarely refers to it when making decisions about town planning. Instead, the document that is presently referred to is the Petaling Jaya Local Plan 1.
But as I pointed out in my previous column, the PJ Local Plan 1 actually contradicts the government-gazetted structure plan.
The PJ Local Plan 1 was prepared by the Petaling Jaya Municipal Council (MPPJ) as a specific development blueprint for parts of PJ . The plan’s implementation period is from 2003 to 2020.
The local plan states that it is an extension of the Rancangan Struktur Daerah Petaling dan Sebahagian Daerah Klang. Despite the statement, however, the PJ Local Plan 1 is inconsistent with and contradicts the gazetted structure plan and the laws governing land use.
Firstly, the PJ Local Plan 1 cites housing development, codenamed RU3, as justification for rezoning and redeveloping Petaling Jaya. The RU3 plan originates from the gazetted structure plan, which had a map demarcating where these development areas were supposed to be.
Map from the structure plan demarcating areas for housing development
Looking at the map from the structure plan, it is clear that the plan’s area for rezoning and redevelopment for RU3 is nowhere near the areas demarcated in the PJ Local Plan 1. Hence, RU3 cannot be used to justify redevelopment of PJ. This means that the local plan’s area is not consistent with the structure plan’s area of survey, making it inconsistent with what has been gazetted.
Areas marked for development in the PJ Local Plan 1
The PJ Local Plan 1 was also used to justify the existence of “limited commercial areas” within PJ. Several houses located along major arterial roads like Jalan Universiti, Jalan Gasing, and several parts of SS2 were promptly rezoned, even though the structure plan stipulates that PJ is zoned as a residential area.
But by rezoning these areas as “limited commercial areas”, this purportedly enables the houses to be used for limited commercial activity while leaving the property’s land title as “housing”.
To justify allowing limited commercial activity, the PJ Local Plan 1 states that there is “pressure from existing development”. But it cites no laws that allow acting in contradiction to a gazetted structure plan. In fact, the implementation of this limited commercial area development contravenes the National Land Code, specifically the section which touches on express conditions.
Breaking the law
Express conditions are found on a land title and provide a reference on what the land can be used for. Section 108 of the National Land Code states that if there is any conflict between any by-law or restriction imposed by any local authority or planning authority with the express condition, the express condition shall prevail.
All houses have land titles to them that should state “housing” under their express condition. Since the “express condition” differs from what the PJ Local Plan 1 allows, the National Land Code’s provision would override the local plan.
Finally, the local plan’s application has always been justified under Section 18(1) of the Town and Country Planning Act. This section states that “no person shall use, or permit to be used, any land or building otherwise than in conformity with the local plan”.
However, Section 18(1) should not be read independently. Section 18(3) states that 18(1) does not apply to areas that have already been developed. It also affirms that any land that has a proper land title shall have that land title take precedence over any plans that come after it. Petaling Jaya was developed well before the Petaling Jaya Local Plan 1 came into existence.
State government warned
The Selangor government was warned about these legal issues back in 2003, just a few months after the PJ Local Plan 1 was introduced. In a report titled Laporan Pemeriksaan Rancangan Struktur Negeri Selangor, prepared by the Selangor Town and Country Planning Department and the Federal Town and Country Planning Department, the report mentions:
that the state government may not have the power to do as it pleased with regards to development because of Section 18 of the Town and Country Planning Act;
that the Rancangan Struktur Daerah Petaling dan Sebahagian Daerah Klang be used as an instrument to control sustainable development; and
that fully built-up areas should no longer be developed, and that the state government must follow the National Physical Plan as prescribed under amendments to the Town and Country Planning Act.
With the applicability of the PJ Local Plan 1 on town planning in question, I believe the MBPJ should discontinue usage of this document. Decisions that were made using the document should also be reviewed. And residents who were affected by these decisions should write in and challenge them.
The officers that prepared the PJ Local Plan 1 should also explain why there are so many inconsistencies and contradictions with the law.
The conclusions I’ve arrived at do not represent the local council’s stand. But it is vital nonetheless to have public discourse over such an important matter.
 RTPJ1 covers the following PJ areas: Sections 1 to 12, Section 14, Sections 16 to 22, Sections 51, 51A and 52, SS1 and SS9A.
MBPJ councillor KW Mak prepared this report using publicly available documents, meaning none of them have the dreaded Official Secrets Act classification stamped all over it.
Read previous Ampersand columns