In view of the happenings in Klang, I would like to share my experience in dealing with the local authority when it comes to the issue of renovations and submitting building plans to the Ampang Jaya Municipal Council (MPAJ). In 2002, I decided to do some minor renovations involving my double-storey house. I sought the help of MPAJ in getting through the process.
The clear message that was given to me was that I had two options. The first being to 'buy' some of their existing plans outlined in their booklet and the second was to engage my own architect. I went for the second option but sadly the plans submitted by the architect I employed kept being returned on various technical grounds. After eight months of discussion and modifications, my plans was no where near approval. One of the staff at MPAJ told me the problem arose because I did not choose to use the MPAJ panel of architects.
Having no option and being short of time, I was given a list of MPAJ-sanctioned architects to choose from. All of them I called quoted between RM7,000 to RM8,000 just for plans submission. I met up with one of the architects and explained the predicament that I was facing. He felt sorry for me and proposed a simple solution.
He spoke to my architect who then gave him a CD of the drawings and all he did was print them out and change the name of the architect and the firm's name. He then submitted the plans. This cost me and additional RM1,500 but my plans were approved within two weeks. There was no technical issues involved.
This is the problem the rakyat is facing. Local authorities are not acting transparently and the laws are not applied the same way to all the people. Take the issue of the Klang assemblyperson. The Klang Municipal Council president had the cheek to say that since it involved an Umno representative, he would let the menteri besar decide. The powers of the local authority are well-defined so why is there a need to involve the menteri besar?
In Ampang, private land is being acquired by the MPAJ and leased to a certain person who turns it into a food court. The papers should visit the Ukay Food Court and see how a piece of land belonging to a public-listed company and gazetted for a kindergarten was sold to the MPAJ and leased back by a politician and turned into a food court. The whole thing from planning to construction to issuance of the CF was done in a record time of six months.
What needs to be asked is why MPAJ's logo is prominently displayed at the food court and its marketing banners. Does the MPAJ have a share in the business?