I refer to the report “Putrajaya mulling urban renewal law, says FT minister”.
While it is clear that we have to accept urban redevelopment on the basis of improving quality of life for the people, it has to be done on a larger scale than individual plots of land.
For explanation purposes, let’s use Kuala Lumpur as a model.
The city is a honey pot that attracts people from all over the country to work and live. We have seen uncoordinated development in small plots of land that has taken its toll on the residents who suffer from daily traffic jams and have limited access to public facilities like schools, parks, and medical facilities.
This has led to higher morbidity and crime rates in the city areas.
At the same time, we can see many old areas such as Kampung Baru, Kampung Pandan and Keramat, which can absorb a higher density of population, now fast becoming slums. These areas deserve redevelopment through improvements to transportation, parks, medical facilities, waste management, and security.
Therefore, making amendments to strata laws to allow the majority to decide on redevelopment does not help but only worsens neighbourhoods in the city.
What is needed is an Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) that is backed by the Urban Redevelopment Act. The URA must be given adequate power to acquire large tracts of neighbourhoods and redevelop them on a master plan basis.
Politics and sentiments aside, we need to do this quickly, starting with Pudu, Kampung Baru, Pandan, Keramat, etc.
Residents should be offered cash or alternative homes in the same neighbourhood. They need to be shown the detailed development of the proposed area that focuses on improved quality of living and access to public facilities such as healthcare and transportation.
We must not allow development on small plots of land that gives nightmares to the entire neighbourhood.
Mohamed Rafick Khan Abdul Rahman is an FMT reader.
The views expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.