Residents’ group wants MBPJ to consult stakeholders before starting any development

MyPJ committee member Kevin Thayalan (left) looks on as taskforce leader Esham Salam speaks during a press conference on the TolakTOD campaign at in Petaling Jaya February 7, 2018. ― Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
MyPJ committee member Kevin Thayalan (left) looks on as taskforce leader Esham Salam speaks during a press conference on the TolakTOD campaign at in Petaling Jaya February 7, 2018. ― Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

PETALING JAYA, Feb 7 — A group of concerned residents has hit out at the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) for forcing development upon them despite repeated opposition.

As an example, MyPJ taskforce leader Esham Salam said the council’s transit-oriented development (TOD) policy is being misused.

“We have launched the #TolakPjTOD campaign, in response to the lack of transparency in implementing TOD,” he said at a press conference today.

TOD is an urban planning concept where the number of commercial, residential and recreational spaces within walking distance of public transportation points is maximised.

Esham praised the MBPJ councillors who protested against future development on the site of the iconic A&W restaurant.

The incident, which occurred on January 29, saw councillors Sean Oon and Terence Tan ejected from the board meeting upon mayor Datuk Mohd Azizi Mohd Zain’s instructions after disagreeing with the site’s approved 1:8 plot ratio. Ten more members then walked out in protest.

However, he also expressed concern over Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali’s press statement on Monday regarding the walkout. Azmin had ordered Mohd Azizi to provide him with a report on the incident before considering further action.

It also said the state government has provided a clear policy on development guidelines for all local councils that must be respected and adhered to.

“We object to the mentri besar’s statement, as local guidelines must be customised (to fit its area of jurisdiction) and to detail and differentiate local conditions, as well as prevent the abuse of the general state guidelines,” he said.

Esham said they are not opposed to TOD in principle, as long as it is done according to strictly implemented guidelines which have taken into account the concerns of all stakeholders.

“This has not occurred as of yet. The 1:8 plot ratio in particular is unsustainable. Many have already opposed the previous 1:4 plot ratio, since PJ’s population density is already bursting at the seams,

“To implement a 1:8 plot ratio for TOD will place extra strain on PJ’s traffic conditions, policing and fire coverage, sewage services, open spaces, minimum acreage, among others. Schooling is a particular concern for many young families,” he said.

Esham urged Azmin to properly consider the reasons behind MyPJ and other organisations’ opposition to increasing the plot ratio beyond 1:4.

“Until PJ’s TOD guidelines are accepted with sincere public participation, it has to be put on hold,” he said.

Since the walkout, several others have also raised concerns over TOD plot ratio, including MCA Petaling Jaya Utara chairman Tan Gim Tuan who claimed the ratio for the future project on the A&W site is illegal.

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