Time for KL MPs to speak up on over-development, says local govt expert

Residents of Jalan Abdullah are especially concerned over development projects which they fear could destroy the environment and affect their quality of life.

KUALA LUMPUR: A planning and local government expert has urged Kuala Lumpur MPs to speak up on development-related issues affecting residents in their constituencies.

Derek Fernandez said the lawmakers lacked the political will to stop projects which could result in the over-development of certain areas, particularly Jalan Abdullah, a housing area which borders the National Institutes of Health (NIH) complex on Jalan Rumah Sakit Bangsar, which in turn borders Federal Hill or Bukit Persekutuan.

During a recent meeting with residents, Fernandez told them they needed to get their MPs to speak up for them.

“You need your MP to speak up. All they have to do is get together and stop it. But some of them are keeping quiet.

“The MPs can stop it tomorrow, they just need to come up with a statement and say I don’t agree with this project, it’s rubbish, stop it. Because, looking at the Kuala Lumpur City Plan 2020, the whole of Kuala Lumpur is gone,” said Fernandez.

He added that the policy known as Policy CF3 of the Kuala Lumpur Structure Plan 2020 prohibits the use of institutional land for any purpose other than government or public use.

“Therefore, it is abundantly clear that a development order cannot be given for this land, other than for use as a public facility or for government purposes.

“The proposal to turn the land into mixed commercial in the current KL City Plan was never displayed to the public as required by the Federal Territories Planning and Development Act 1982.

“The draft plan with all of the public engagement had the site marked as institutional land. But suddenly in this City Plan 2020, the zoning has changed,” he said, referring to the NIH complex on Jalan Rumah Sakit Bangsar.

Planning and local government expert Derek Fernandez.

Fernandez added that work could not begin in or near the Jalan Abdullah area if there was no development order given for the site in question.

Residents of Jalan Abdullah had earlier raised concerns that the sewerage system serving the condominium block currently under construction by SP Setia Bhd would tap into the existing Jalan Abdullah sewerage network.

According to the residents, in 2013, Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) had promised to keep a dead-end road there untouched.

However, they said they had been informed by the developer that work was to begin there on the construction of an electricity substation.

They are also worried that should a mega development take off in their “backyard”, it would impact water supply and destroy the environment and residents’ quality of life.

In response to the residents’ queries, DBKL executive director (planning) Mahadi Che Ngah said the developer could not begin work without a development order issued by DBKL.

“I know I promised the residents to look into the matter. I must apologise that I was caught up with other matters and have not been able to meet with the respective stakeholders to clarify what is happening on site.

“I’m not sure whether they (the developer) have gotten approval to build a TNB substation and a new sewer line along Jalan Abdullah, but I will check and find out,” said Mahadi, adding that he had been transferred to handle another project and had only recently returned to his current portfolio.

In 2013, Mahadi said Jalan Abdullah would remain a dead-end lane regardless of any development carried out by SP Setia.

“I will definitely see the area officers to get an update on the current status. If there is no approval, they cannot have any development at all on the site.”

Saying it is likely that these are only proposals and suggestions, Mahadi added that proper evaluation must be done before any development is approved.

“The water supply is actually one of the main criteria we need to check. If Syabas cannot supply (water), I can guarantee that there will not be any development approved.

“But sometimes, they can have their water but they have to upgrade the water reticulation system. If that is the situation, then there will be some requisitions on the developer to make sure they can provide enough supply without affecting the people on Jalan Abdullah,” he said.

He also said he would be able to give feedback to residents regarding their concerns within two to three days.

A subsidiary of SP Setia is building luxury residential and office units on 51.57 acres of land occupied by the NIH, in a privatisation agreement with the federal government to undertake the development and construction of a new integrated health and research complex in Shah Alam.

It was reported that SP Setia had completed two parts of the project, that is the staff quarters located on part of the 51.57 acres of land and the new NIH complex in Setia Alam.

Residents in the vicinity of Bukit Persekutuan, Bukit Bandaraya and Bangsar Utama have since raised concerns over possible landslides due to over-development in the area.