Land grab at Bandar Utama August 29, 2008Posted by elizabethwong in 1.
Kudos to The Sun for running this story on its frontpage today.
In any new development, it is compulsory to set aside land for social and community needs.
Somewhere down the line, some would have access to information of these lots and this is how it begins. Powerful people would start getting approvals here and there, including from the local councils and Land office. Then the Exco would have approved them and MB would sign them off. This is how forest reserves, public spaces and recreational areas shrink overtime.
In Bandar Utama, this is just the beginning of a long protracted war to stop this practice. This will be a key case to put an end to realienation of public land for personal profits. Heads will roll and powerful people will be named. And there is no doubt more of these cases in the state constituency of Bukit Lanjan, including Kampung Sg Kayu Ara, and probably in all state constituencies in the state of Selangor.
To find out who the culprits who literally gave out these lands and then to recover them will not be easy. Powerful people and political parties are involved in this, and will not give up without a fight. We urge for your continued support to find remedies to this terrible wrong, to compensate the public for the loss of these lands, and to put a stop, once and for all – the practice of public land grab.
Public land gone!
by R. Nadeswaran and Terence Fernandez, The Sun
PETALING JAYA (Aug 29, 2008): What was supposed to be land for facilities for the people in the up-market Bandar Utama township has ended up in private hands.
All it took was for the previous members of the Selangor Executive Council to agree and for the then mentri besar to alienate the land to individuals, bodies, corporations – and even political parties.
The result: the sprawling township does not have a fire station – on the land designated for it sits a used-car dealership. Even land meant for surau is in private hands – a car showroom and furniture centre.
All in all, seven parcels of land meant for public amenities have been misused.
When developer Damansara Jaya Development Sdn Bhd, submitted the layout plans for the entire area, the State Town Planner had indicated that land must be set aside for the common use of the residents, including schools, bus shelters, post office, etc.
In this instance, the layout plan was submitted and approved in 1991 but the sale of the land took place much later – before March 8 when the people voted in a new government.
Apart from the loss of the fire station and surau, what was meant to be a food court is now another car showroom, and what should have been a balai raya (community hall) is now someone’s home!
Apart from this illegal use of land, an apartment complex sits on land meant for a secondary school.
However, not all of these parcels of land have been alienated to individuals. Political parties have also got into the action and hijacked some of them.
The land on which Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia (Gerakan)’s building is located was meant for a telecommunications exchange, while the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) now owns a parcel of land designated for a Tamil school.
‘The whole process of alienating the land could be illegal’
Planning expert and Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) councillor Derek Fernandez believes that the whole process of alienating the land was illegal since it is incumbent on developers to provide basic infrastructure when developing a township or residential area.
“I can’t go into specifics as I don’t have the full facts, but according to the Town and Country Planning Act (TCPA) 1976, such land can be used only for the purposes specified in the layout plan presented by the developer.
“Any attempt to amend that use will require a public hearing and I doubt this was done, judging from how the previous administration was doing things,” he said, adding that any change in the designation is illegal unless the zoning has been changed in according with the TCPA.
Fernandez said as far as the present administration of MBPJ is concerned, any amendment to the developer’s layout plan, requires a public hearing.
“Even after the hearing is held, we will ultimately decide on the propriety of the development, guided by the principles of public interest,” he said, adding that he will discuss with his colleagues at the council on the available remedies to this situation.