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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Who in MBPJ changed status of Kelana Jaya field from recreational to commercial?


(The Star) - Who in the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) initiated the move to change the status of the PKNS field in Kelana Jaya from recreational to commercial?
The Selangor Select Committee on Competency, Accountability and Transparency (Selcat) tried to find the answer during a public hearing on Thursday, but was given the run around by ex-MBPJ town planning director Noraini Roslan and senior assistant director Faiwos Abd Hamid.
Selcat chairman Datuk Teng Chang Khim and members assemblymen Haniza Talha, Saari Sungib, Hannah Yeoh and Sulaiman Razak grilled the duo for hours but did not manage to get a straight answer.
"Who took the initiative to suggest the change? Was it an officer, or was it decided by a committee in a meeting? It can't change on its own," said Teng.
During the first round of the hearing on Wednesday, it was revealed that MBPJ made 210 changes to the Petaling Jaya local plan, after it was gazetted, without the consent of the state executive council and Selangor Town and Country Planning Department (JPBD).
The issue came to a head when PKNS tried to develop the field, which was met with objections from residents and NGOs.
Noraini and Faiwos also disclosed that the amended plan was never tabled at MBPJ's full board meeting, although the original plan approved by the state exco was tabled before the city councillors.
Noraini, who was urban planning director from Sept 1, 2010 to June 30, 2011, labelled the changes to the plan as "corrections".
Teng asked if there were any provisions in the law that allowed her to make such changes, to which she replied there were no specific provisions.
She then pointed out Section 16(1) of the Town and Country Planning Act, which reads: "The local planning authority may at any time make proposals for the alteration, repeal, or replacement of a local plan."
Teng told her that Section 16(3) also applied, which meant that alterations to the plan must include publicising the changes, recording public objections as well as getting the approval of the state government.
"Was this process adhered to?" asked Teng. She said no.
She also agreed with Teng that the amended local plan by MBPJ was illegal and did not comply with procedures.
Noraini, who is now the Kuala Selangor District Council president, said that it was normal practice to make corrections before and after the local plan was gazetted.
"We want to put forth the correct plan to the public," she said.
Teng shot her down, saying: "What is the correct plan? There are three versions!"
Later, Faiwos claimed that JPBD instructed the amendments but Selangor JPBD deputy director Norasiah Bee Mohd Haniff rebutted that immediately.
"The meeting on Jan 13, 2011, was to discuss the management of printing the local plan. The (status of) PKNS field is consistent between the version approved by the exco and the one gazetted," she said.
Teng asked Faiwos who initiated the changes to the local plan, to which she replied: "No one gave specific instructions. It involves many departments."
After many rounds of similar answers, Teng was riled up and called for the hearing to be postponed to next Thursday (July 5).
"Bring the minutes of the meetings. We want to know the source (behind the change). Ask (MBPJ town planning deputy director) Zain Azly (Abdul Rahman) to come," he said.

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