THERE is a proposal by the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) to redevelop the PJU1, PJU2, SS and PJS areas of Petaling Jaya (PJ). Details of these proposals are found in the Draft Special Area Plan and the council is invoking Section 16B of the Town and Country Planning Act (TCPA) 1976 for this exercise.
The public has until 29 Feb 2012 to file in their objections. It is very important that they do so because if the SAP is later gazetted, it can be used to justify any development in PJ without the need to consult the public any further. This is because MBPJ will be empowered to approve any development in these areas of PJ without consulting the public if the current plan is approved without public objection to change or abolish it.
If these plans are allowed to go through they will allow for more development and all the issues that come with development. They will help justify projects such as the two proposed elevated highways running through PJ. Thus, residents who are caught in the pathway of these highways have all the more reason to not want to see further development anywhere else within PJ.
Now that I have your attention, let’s examine the books in a little more detail for PJ residents who want to better argue out their objections.
Selangor Structure Plan
From a technical point of view, this Draft Plan is flawed since it does not reference the Selangor Structure Plan (SSP) at all. Under Section 16B(3) of the TCPA, the preparation of a special area plan shall be done in the same manner as the preparation of a local plan.
Section 12(8) of the TCPA, which governs the preparation of a local plan, states:
In formulating its proposals in a draft local plan, the local planning authority shall secure that the proposals conform generally to the structure plan for the State as it stands for the time being, whether or not it has come into effect, and shall have regard to any information and other considerations that appear to it to be relevant, or that may be prescribed, or that the Committee may in any particular case direct it to take into account. (Emphasis mine)
The SSP was gazetted in 2007 and contains numerous policies to ensure that any development within the state would be sustainable. One such policy is the need to identify the carrying capacity of an area to ensure that an area is not overdeveloped and subject to all sorts of traffic and social problems.
There is no mention of what the carrying capacity is for all the areas that the MBPJ has zoned for development. Yet the council has also gone ahead and slapped arbitrary plot ratio numbers of up to 4.0 on numerous empty plots of land. A plot ratio is a calculation that affects the density of a piece of property development. Property developers could thus demand to build their projects according to this unjustified plot ratio if the special area plans are approved and gazetted without objection.
There is a lot of “hidden” information within these books, as not all aspects of the proposal are detailed. Indeed, the worst offender is the Peta Gunatanah & Intensiti Pembangunan with maps devoid of landmarks requiring the reader to cross-reference with another map book to have an idea where the areas are.
These maps have the land use and plot ratio numbers slapped on top. So do not be surprised if one day you discover a huge building going up in that empty plot of land in your neighbourhood if you don’t do anything about it now.
On a final note, it is possible to challenge a gazetted plan. However, that would require a lawsuit (and a judgement in your favour), which is not the preferred method since that would be costly and even more time consuming.
Copies of the Draft Special Area Plan are available for purchase at the MBPJ headquarters on Jalan Yong Shook Lin. Call 03-7956 3544 ext 353, 411, 377 or 357 for details.
MBPJ councillor KW Mak has helped several resident groups object to development projects even for areas that have these development plans gazetted, but he is not paid for such work. He would rather not make a career out of this since it involves making enemies out of property developers. He has made quite a few property developers very angry during the three-and-a-half years he has served as councillor.