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Nurul Izzah@Bangsar Puteri

A  dialogue was held on 28th July 2008 between PKR Lembah Pantai and residents of Bukit Bandaraya. The purpose of the dialogue was to discuss issues with the KL Draft Plan and get feedback and ideas from residents. In attendance were:

  • Nurul Izzah (MP Lembah Pantai)
  • Ali Ghazali (Deputy Division Head – PKR Lembah Pantai)
  • Vinod Sharma (Legal Bureau Chief – PKR Lembah Pantai)
  • Residents of Bangsar (60+ persons)

The bulk of the dialogue was spent on local issues that the residents have been facing, which are:

  1. Crime
  2. Lack of cooperation by police
  3. Damage to roads and cars by lorries transporting construction materials
  4. Concern over the new condominium project along Jalan Medang Serai
  5. Overzealous tree pruning by DBKL
  6. Lack of pavements, proper road dividers

What follows is a comprehensive report of what was discussed in chronological order  – mostly on resident’s complaints on local issues they have been facing.

Summary of Nurul Izzah’s Speech

(Introduction of local PKR members and expression of gratitude for those present and to the host)

An independent, apolitical group called Coalition to Save KL has been formed with the stated goal of raising awareness of the Plan before 31st August 2008, because after that the Plan would have been gazetted. Once gazetted the Plan can no longer be changed, so the need to bring up all the problems in the Plan and get as many objections by residents is urgent.

The KL Draft Plan has been treated differently compared to the PJ Draft Plan. With PJ, residents had months to study it and raise over 12,000 objections. With the KL Draft Plan, the whole plan has yet to be released even with less than a month left before the deadline. Even housing development has been approved as though there is an assumption that the Plan is pre-approved. Regulations such as having 20 square metres of green lung per person are being ignored by DBKL.

We have passed out DBKL Protest forms among those present here tonight, but as the form is so simple we hope this dialogue will help establish what issues we have in common against the KL Draft Plan.
(floor opened to residents)

Resident #1

What are the avenues open to us, besides protest forms? I have been dealing with this sort of issue for 30 years, and I tell you this approach will not work.

Resident #2

Knowing that we can’t raise objections after the 31st, I think we need to go outside the system to continue the protest. It has been proven that the government only takes notice if we take to the street. Furthermore, once the nearby 28 storey condo goes up, what happens to the monkeys? They have a right to live too you know, I think we should send them to DBKL!

Resident #3

The continued commercialisation of Bangsar has lowered the quality of life here. Look at the construction of three-storey shop-houses going on, when the regulations state that the maximum number of storeys is two. How could these projects have been approved in the first place? This sounds like corruption to me.

Nurul Izzah’s Response

The whole of KL is governed by the Federal Territory Act, so DBKL has the right to draft the Physical Plan. However the Town and Country Planning Act states that the Physical Plan must match with the Draft Plan, which it does not. We will be sending a memorandum to the PM about this discrepancy between the Draft Plan and the Physical Plan, as all the Plans must follow the National Physical Plan.

The National Physical Plan lays out what the government wants for the whole country, e.g. ratios for green lung space, open space. This is to ensure that the quality of life of residents is not lowered by development. What you see going on around us is development that increases population, yet it does not increase basic needs like roads to accommodate the increased numbers.

We need to support and strengthen the Coalition so our voices can be heard. We shouldn’t feel disheartened and not even try to protest. Recently there was a protest by residents of Medan Damansara over a development there – while the project was not cancelled, the residents were compensated RM100,000, so the protest was not entirely for naught. The Coalition will gather objections and compile and hand them over to the MPs.

We have yet to receive all the volumes of the KL Draft Plan, so you can imagine how difficult it is to find issues that require protest. We will however gather all the objections and hand them over personally.

Resident #4

The steel plates (house drain covers?) were stolen along Lorong Maarof – they were replaced by DBKL with wooden planks instead. Once these planks were broken, DBKL did not replace them as no monitoring of the situation is going on.

Recently some motorcyclists tried to rob my wife and grandchildren at 11.30pm one night. Fortunately they managed to get away, and as I was just coming around the corner in my car I witnessed this and followed the motorcyclists. They circled around the Lorong Maarof housing area, before eventually getting to a block of apartments. They went inside so I went up to the security guard.

I asked him whether he could detain them and he said no. I asked him if he would call the police and he offered me his phone instead. I made the call and the police said they would not come. After the security guard came on the line to vouch for me, the police acquiesced and said they would come to my house to take a report later.

I went home and the police never came!

Resident #5

We had a dialogue with OCPD and were informed that residents don’t make reports when crime occurs.

(Vinod interjected at this point to say that a police report must be filed, and if the police give a bad attitude such as what happened in Resident #4’s case, then a report must be made to Bukit Aman on tatatertib)

Resident #6

I think it is obvious that security is lacking in our area. There has been talk of getting security companies to patrol our neighbourhoods but I think that is not right, the police should be doing their job!

I also think we need a permanent market like in TTDI. We should also try to reduce the number of crows, because all those droppings in front of TMC is polluting the air and exacerbating our health problems.

I am also concerned about all these lorries going about, as they are leaving chunks of dirt and stones on the road that damage our vehicles, which is not right.

(Vinod mentioned that for all these issues, complaints should be lodged with DBKL and copies given to the MP’s office so that they can help push these matters as well)

Resident #7

We should feel fortunate that our area is safer and cleaner than most of KL, though I do agree that we need to push for the police and DBKL to do their job. Even SYABAS doesn’t do their job properly, recently there was some pipe work done nearby where they had to dig up the road, but the road was not restored properly and the SYABAS representative blamed DBKL instead of fixing the problem.

Nurul Izzah’s Response

If any crime occurs, please make a police report. This is very important because it affects statistics. When we complain in Parliament about an increase in crime and they respond with statistics that show crime rate has fallen, that is a sign that only reported crime have fallen.

The police do need to make reporting easier, and they have said that they are willing to visit the complainant’s house. But once you make the report, you should follow up with the Investigating Officer, and don’t be afraid to lodge a report if they mistreat you. We will continue to push for the IPCMC in Parliament to help resolve problems such as has been mentioned by you.

When it comes to complaints to DBKL, try to get as many residents to support your complaint, because multiple complaints do help.

Resident #8

If I may quote from the Bible, you are like the David that beat Goliath, with UMNO being Goliath and for that I am thankful. Having said that I would like to mention the problem we have had recently with our shade trees being over-pruned. We have overzealous contractors who prune far too many branches and too many trees to the point that some of our trees look like stumps. We should follow Singapore’s guidelines on pruning trees.

(A resident interjected at this point to mention that contractors are paid per-tree)

Resident #9

We shouldn’t have obstructions at road junctions, yet you see them all over the place at intersections. How are we to see oncoming traffic clearly when there is a bush blocking our view? Also some of our roads lack clearly painted lines, making it difficult to distinguish lane boundaries. There is even a lack of pavement in some areas, and this is serious because nowadays people need to walk more what with the price of petrol going up!

Resident #10

There are actually two blocks of 28 storey condominiums being built, along with car parks and amenities.

Over 200 letters of complaint have been sent to the Mayor’s office about this development. We have also met the Mayor last year and were told that there would be a follow up response in two weeks. However nothing happened and we were only told that our complaints have been incorporated in the Draft Plan. There is no black and white on this and later on when we spoke to an officer there, she claimed to know nothing about what we were talking about.

Once this new condominium is completed, the population density here will jump from 30 persons per acre to 175 persons per acre. That is an increase of 500 percent. Under the Draft Plan this area should only have a density of 40-120, so I would like to know how this project could have been approved or whether our area has been designated as a high density area.

Resident #11

What mechanism is there for us to bring up issues and complaints with your office?

Resident #12

How many objection forms do we need before we can make a difference?

Resident #13

If there is a crime, please report it to the police, you can call the local station at 03-20319999. If there is major renovation going on such as an extension of a house right to the edge of the property, please complain to DBKL. If the DBKL officer comes and says it is ok, then call up the DBKL Complaints Bureau and they will make it right. From my experience the Complaints Bureau is very effective.

Resident #14

We had protested the development of the 28 storey condominiums but were told that it is private property and that we had no say on what goes on in that property. With all these construction workers around I think security is an issue to consider, as well as pollution from all the lorries and drilling etc. While I understand that the project cannot be stopped, at least something should be done about these detrimental side-effects.

Nurul Izzah’s Response

When you make a complaint to DBKL please cc me a copy. For the tree pruning issue that recently happened in front of TMC, I was informed that it was done at the request of the Lucky Garden Residents Association. I have sent a letter to DBKL to tell them to stop pruning work for the next two weeks, however I agree that the real problem is the approach to pruning.

There are rules and regulations for all developers regarding the use of private land, so the excuse given that residents ‘have no say’ is wrong.

For submitting complaints to us, we have only one service centre at the moment in Pantai Dalam.

For more information on the Plan the DBKL website has the details on where to obtain a copy.

Lastly I would like to congratulate The Malay Mail for covering the issue of the KL Draft Plan, they have been doing a remarkable job so far.

(some closing remarks and the dialogue was concluded with a musical performance by a local boy)

Written by ak57

July 30, 2008 at 2:19 am

Posted in AK57 Reports

Tagged with , ,

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