Malaysiakini Letter

Urban Redevelopment Authority needed for inner city

Mohamed Rafick Khan Abdul Rahman  |  Published:

LETTER | With reference to the Malaysiakini article Gov't to propose a law to redevelop buildings without all owners' consent, I hope that the government will consider these views.

While it is clear that we have to accept urban redevelopment on the basis of improving the people's quality of life, it has to be done on a large scale basis rather than just for individual plots of land. 

For explanation purposes, we would use Kuala Lumpur as a model. The capital city is a honey pot that attracts people from all over the country to work and live in. 

We have seen uncoordinated development on small plots of land that has taken its toll on the residents who suffer from traffic jams daily and limited access to public facilities like schools, parks, and medical facilities. 

This has led to higher disease morbidity and crime rates in these inner-city areas. At the same time, we can see many old areas like Kampung Baru, Kampung Pandan and Keramat which can absorb a higher density of population but now fast becoming slum areas. 

These areas deserve redevelopment by improving public transportation and providing parks, medical facilities, better waste management and improved security.

Therefore making amendments to Strata Act to allow the majority to decide on strata redevelopment will not help but only worsen the neighbourhoods and the city. 

What is needed is a special body such as an Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) that is backed by an Urban Redevelopment Act. The URA must be given adequate power to acquire large tracts of a neighbourhood and redevelop them on a master plan basis. 

Politics and sentiment aside, we need to do this quickly and should start with Pudu, Kampung Baru, Pandan, Keramat etc. Residents should be offered alternative housing in the same neighbourhood or cash. 

Residents need to be shown the detailed development plans of the proposed area (precinct) that focusses on improved quality of living and access to public facilities like healthcare, transportation and many more. 

We must not allow any development on small plots of land that bring nightmares for the entire neighbourhood.

It is my hope that the government will consider this suggestion for the formation of an Urban Redevelopment Authority and supporting laws to allow the authority to governed properly.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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