I HAVE previously shown that the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) does not adhere to its own rules at times, when it comes to development. This of course upsets residents living around the project who say their rights have been infringed.
Even if these complainants don’t know what they are talking about and are just a bunch of noisy troublemakers, as they are often labelled, that doesn’t make the issues disappear.
After the project gets approved, developed and sold to eager buyers, not necessarily in that order, there are still consequences in store. Allow me to illustrate the problems with cases that I have raised before.
The case of Paramount View
I previously raised the issue surrounding Paramount View Condominium’s land titles in March 2011. To recap, there are serious discrepancies in MBPJ’s approval for the development. Approval for the project was granted in 2005 based on a Lot PT 9 land title registered in 1993. But, in 2003, two years before the project’s approval, a government gazette had revoked Lot PT 9 and set it aside for low-cost housing.
Then, there is a 2007 land title known as Lot 404 for the same area. But if it is this title that is now valid, instead of Lot PT 9, then the development is illegal, as approval was granted in 2005.
It gets more complicated. The neighbouring development, the Sri Aman Low Cost Apartments, was built by the same developer on two plots of land, Lots PT 9 and PT 10.
Under the National Land Code, any development over two or more pieces of land requires those lands to be amalgamated, meaning the land titles must be combined and made into a single land title. Technically, this could not have happened because PT 9 and PT 10 were qualified land titles, and the National Land Code explicitly states that a qualified land title cannot be amalgamated or subdivided.
Yet, the Sri Aman Apartments were built and sold to buyers in 2004.
Sri Aman Apartment buyers now have a vested interest in Lot PT 9, the same land used to develop Paramount View. Technically, the developer could not have developed Lot PT 9 without the consent of the Sri Aman Apartment owners.
Problem upon problems
So, who owns Paramount View? Are the buyers really the owners of their property since it is built on land that did not fully belong to the developer at the time of sale? And will they face future problems due to the absence of consent from their neighbours?
One could argue that buyers own Paramount View by virtue of the newer 2007 Lot 404 land title. This is a smaller land title when compared to Lot PT 9 and appears to fit the dimensions of the Paramount View building while leaving out the portion that the Sri Aman Low Cost Apartments took.
But then, this land title would make the development null and void, given the pre-dated approval. And it would also make the buyers of Paramount View non-owners as their sales and purchase agreements mention the purchase of Lot PT 9 and not Lot 404.
Consequences for all
This is just one example of the technicalities I have been able to dig up in the course of my research. However, the Council’s responses to my queries were either non-existent or a simple “there is nothing wrong going on here.”
Not being able to get to the bottom of this means that the person or persons who caused this mess would be free to repeat it in the future.
Obviously, the buyers of Paramount View will not see the immediate effects of these issues I have pointed out since the authorities aren’t acknowledging them for now. These things cannot be ignored indefinitely though, as there will be a time when the residents are asked to take over the management of the building as required by law and when strata titles are to be processed.
Pretending that such problems don’t exist won’t make them go away. Eventually, MBPJ and residents alike will have to pay the price. It is a question of when, not if.
Take the latest issue involving the proposed redevelopment of the Selangor State Development Corporation (PKNS) field in Kelana Jaya. Residents found two conflicting sets of the Petaling Jaya Local Plan 2 (RTPJ2) — one marking the field as commercial land, another as recreational. The Council has admitted their version was incorrect but this could render development projects approved using the Council’s local plan illegal.
Such messes could potentially lead to law suits and damages awarded against the Council. The public will eventually have to pay for this as the Council derives much of its income from assessment rates.
Former MBPJ councillor KW Mak isn’t happy to be vindicated when issues that were previously swept aside eventually emerge and cause problems for the Council and residents alike.