Malaysiakini Letter

What, KL a world-class city in 2020 - what say you...

Saleh Mohammed  |  Published:  |  Modified:

The Draft Kuala Lumpur City Plan (KLCP) 2020 may not be gazetted, close to a decade after it was launched. The minister responsible stated that he will NOT sign and approve the plan because it would allow a clause for the ministry or City Hall to make amendments through appeals and that creates opportunity for abuse, The Malay Mail reported.

Excellent. Nowadays, we need more ministers who are diligent and have eyes to detect and curb abuse of power, corruption and ‘moonlighting’.

He is supported by an MP who stressed that amendments should be made if it is unfit for our city. “We need to bring all people together to make KL a better city... the people need assurance from the leaders they’ve trusted”, he said.

A day later, the minister said he will not approve the KLCP 2020 in its present state and will not ‘bulldoze’ the plan entirely. There were important elements that were unanswered and it required more feedback from stakeholders.

“We are still studying how we can implement the plan appropriately, such as the study for plot ratio and density within a specific area which we have yet to get proper public feedback. Many major stakeholders such as private landowners, house owners, tenants and local residents had yet to come forward and engage with City Hall or the ministry,” he added.

What is KLCP 2020?

If one looks at Pemandu’s Economic Transformation Programme (ETP), it all started from Kuala Lumpur Structure Plan 2020 (KLSP 2020) which was gazetted in November 2004. It emphasises the vision by outlining goals, development strategies and policies of the development of Kuala Lumpur. A vision shared among all stakeholders towards making Kuala Lumpur a ‘world-class city’ by 2020.

KLCP 2020 was prepared for the purpose of translating KLSP 2020 into specific strategic directions including the determination of land use and development for each property lot in Kuala Lumpur. With this plan, the development control process can be implemented with more transparency and could expedite decision making process.

Public participation programme was held on Sept 8, 2005 to inform the public and the draft was exhibited for public objection beginning May 15, 2008 to Aug 30, 2008. There were 138 public hearing sessions (Sept 4, 2008 to May 28, 2009), 5,052 representations and 62,224 views were received.

Together with feedbacks from relevant government agencies related to current government policies, the draft was amended. Open Day and seminars were arranged to inform the public and stakeholders on the amendments.

Initially, the draft KLCP 2020 was to be gazetted in 2011 and later moved to 1st July 2012. Sadly, it did not happen too. It was then planned to be in September 2013 but again delayed pending a review with Federal Territories lawmakers. An MP said separately after the meeting “We want it to be gazetted as a green lung permanently.”

The initial draft in 2008 drew criticisms.

It was not consistent with the National Physical Plan (NPP) and had elements which contradicted existing development conditions. The NPP provides a long-term strategic framework for national spatial planning and includes measures required to shape the direction and pattern of land use, biodiversity conservation and development in peninsular Malaysia. It is a product of many negotiations and consultations with federal agencies and all state governments.

I think the rakyat would give a stamp of approval if the minister wants to overhaul the whole draft to ensure it is in line with other policy documents and also in line with the UN Declaration on the Right to Development.

However, why has it taken so long to detect shortcomings and weaknesses (eg defective clause, plot ratio and density) in the draft that was supposed to be gazetted many years ago?

Is it true there were no proper public feedback and is it true many major stakeholders such as private landowners, house owners, tenants and local residents had yet to come forward and engage with City Hall? Is it true the 138 public hearing sessions in 2008 and 2009, the 5,052 representations and 62,224 views did not include them?

Were the feedbacks from relevant government agencies irrelevant? Was the Open Day and the seminars to inform the public and stakeholders on the amendments, useless?

Why would residents of Taman Tiara Titiwangsa need to continuously engage with the ministry. Why the need for comprehension of the situation from the people for a plan that was supposed to be gazetted five years ago?

Mr Minister, the rakyat know that they cannot continue to exist as they did. Yes, things change, people need change. But what else are you fighting for? If the team responsible for drafting has failed, do take the necessary action.

If there is a clause that creates opportunity for abuse is the issue, please make the amendment and let us get on with it. Whilst you are making changes, you may want to delete DBKL Rule 5 (public hearings) as it does nothing for residents who attend DBKL hearings (and putting forward their views) to almost all DBKL-approved developments.

Also, please review the Federal Territory Planning Act 1982 (Act 267), Section 46 (Notice requiring purchase of land in certain cases) and its related sections.

Meantime, plot ratios have gone up uncontrollably in many places.

The latest is a development of eight (8) block of highrise (up to 52 storeys) service apartments (1,766 units) at Taman Rimba Kiara, despite strong objections and protests from surrounding residents. The plot ratio has been increased from 1:60 to a mind boggling 1:979. This area is supposed to be a green lung in the KLCP 2020.

It seems the Development Order (DO) has been issued but we trust you could halt this project given your concerns about density and plot ratio.

A plan meant for a 10-year period has been delayed for so long and the period it was supposed to cover has a balance of three years only. In the preface of the KLSP 2020, the then-mayor said, “A good plan will be less meaningful unless it is successfully implemented.”

Mr Minister, I know it is not an easy task to draft and implement a good plan but you have been entrusted as a minister responsible for the Federal Territories. As the MP who supported you said... “the people need assurance from the leaders they’ve trusted.”

The delays do not give a good reflection on the ministry and KLites are still waiting.

Vision 2020 was successfully launched but at the current rate, we may not achieve the nine central strategic challenges. We are sure you want the KLCP 2020 to be quickly gazetted and fulfil its stated plans.

In the process, you would help keep the promise of the former minister and turn KL into a world-class city in 2020.

Surely you do not want people to ask, “What class”...

Today, even the trees (Angsana, Flame of Fire, etc) planted about thirty (30) years ago are ‘complaining and shouting’ for space to survive in rather unhealthy environment due to over-development.

What say you...

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