Friday, August 8, 2008

Poser over demolition of staircase - Star

Aug 8, 2008 By OH ING YEEN

BUKIT Sri Bintang residents are unhappy with the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) for destroying the staircase along Jalan 3/36 without notice.

According to a resident, City Hall officers came at about 10.30am with two bulldozers, six lorries and two vans to demolish the staircase.

Eyesore: Residents pointing to the destroyed staircase as Lim (fourth from right) looks on.

Taman Bukit Sri Bintang Rukun Tetangga (RT) chairman Angus Ng said he suspected that this was an act by City Hall to warn that there should be no tables and chairs placed along five-foot ways.

“However, many municipal councils allow business owners to place chairs and tables outside as long as the local community do not object to it.

“And these people pay the council a fee.

“There should be laws and guidelines for restaurants or coffeeshops to continue placing chairs outside as long as public safety is not compromised,’’ he said.

He added that he was also concerned for the safety of the residents as now the drains were left uncovered.

Ng said residents understood that the officers were doing their job but that they were irked that they were not given ample warning about the demolition.

He said City Hall should discuss with community leaders before taking such drastic action.

Yong Man Kim, the owner of Restaurant Double Seven, said the staircase in front of his restaurant was originally built with steel but it was not sturdy. Many residents use it to cross the drain, which is 1.3m deep.

“However, the stairs have no connection between restaurants placing tables and chairs on the road side.

“I do not understand why they demolished the staircase.

He said since the demolition, he had not opened for business. He said 25 other shop owners were also affected.

Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng said the rubble left behind after the demolition was an eyesore, adding that he would ask City Hall to clear the mess.

“The steel drain covers and recyclable materials were taken away.

“City Hall should be placing drain covers instead of taking them away,” he said.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

BB folks object to open space plan - The Star

Jul 24, 2008

LANDOWNERS and residents living along Jalan Beremi (Lot 751) in Bukit Bintang are objecting to proposals in the Draft Kuala Lumpur City Plan 2020, which has marked the area as Public Open space.

Normally residents would be jumping for joy when space is left for greening in any neighbourhood but the residents are not too pleased as the land belongs to them and they were not informed about the plan by the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL).

“Our lots are located on freehold land and are designated mixed residential and commercial and hence we are against City Hall's plans to turn the place into a public open space,'' said resident K.K. Kwan.

Kwan said the existing park in front of his home is adequate and falls within the definition of local play area whereby open spaces located in residential areas or in urban commercial centres within walking distance of users is secured from developments through development control mechanisms.

Common stand: Fong (second from right) with residents from Jalan Beremi in Bukit Bintang who filed their objections to the draft KL City Plan 2020.

“The park is more than adequate for the use of residents within a 500m radius. It is not overflowing with residents and visitors that it needs to be urgently enlarged,'' he said.

Residents said that apart from them, drug addicts also frequent the park at night and they believe that by enlarging the park it will only create a much bigger social problem in the neighbourhood.

Resident Katherine Lim said that by acquiring their lots to enlarge an existing park would not contribute to the green lung effect for the community nor for the city landscape.

“There are other vacant plots of land in the neighbourhood. If there is a genuine need for a larger open area or green lung, City Hall should make use of this area instead and not pick on us,'' she told Star Metro after filing her objections at the lobby of City Hall headquarters yesterday.

Bukit Bintang MP Fong Kui Lun accompanied Lim and several other residents.

Fong said the lots in Jalan Beremi were freehold and it was unfair to reclassify the area as open space.

“It is too close to the commercial centre for it to be turned into an open space,'' he said.

“Besides, there was never a pre-consultative process with the residents as per the Town and Country Planning Act 1976 '' Fong said.

City residents have until Aug 31 to file their objections.

Monday, July 21, 2008

10-year wait for pedestrian bridge over - The Star

Jul 21, 2008 Story and photos by PRIYA MENON

ABOUT 20,000 residents will benefit from the new pedestrian bridge in Wangsa Maju.

Section 2 Wangsa Maju residents are delighted that the new bridge connecting Block C, D and E to Block B is now ready for use.

“A walk to the shops or Wangsa Maju LRT station now takes just five minutes compared with 15 minutes previously,” said Marilyn Gerard, 23.

Work on the RM170,000 bridge began in February and was completed a week ago.

Long-awaited facility: The new pedestrian bridge will be useful to more than 20,000 residents in the Section 2 area of Wangsa Maju.

“We have been waiting for more than 10 years for the bridge to be built,” said Chan Sai Moi, 56.

A condominium built 10 years ago blocks the path residents used in the past to get across to the shoplots. The alternative route was to go around the blocks of flats to reach their destination.

“We are glad the bridge is ready but we hope that the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) can put up streetlights because it is dark at night,” Chan added.

Wangsa Maju MCA division chairman Datuk Yew Teong Look said he would request for the streetlights to be put up as soon as possible.

Potential mosquito breeding ground: Yew looking at the brokenstone slabs in a drain located in Section 2 Wangsa Maju.

When Yew first asked the DBKL to build a bridge they had accidentally built it in Section 1, Wangsa Maju, but the bridge had also proved useful to the residents in that area.

“Although it was a mistake it was a good one because we were going to build one there anyway,” Yew added.

Yew said he had also asked DBKL to fix a broken drain in the area so that it would not pose problems for residents in the near future.

“The broken stone slabs will become an ideal place for aedes mosquitoes to breed, so we want to stop that from happening,” said Lim Cheng Hock, chairman of the Joint Management Committee of Section 2.

Lim said they would request DBKL to pay for the compound’s electricity bill that costs the residents RM700 a month.

“The committee has been paying for the compound lights for 20 years now when it is supposed to be paid by DBKL,” he said.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Mega development plan proposed for Pudu Prison land - The Star

Jun 17, 2008 Stories by JAYAGANDI JAYARAJ

THE land on which the 113- year-old Pudu Prison is located has been identified as one of the major sites for mega development in the Draft KL City Plan 2020.

The colonial era prison was taken over by the Urban Development Authority (UDA) in November 1996 after it was officially closed.

First sight: The arch leading to the inner sanctum of the prison's X-shaped main block.

The land on which the prison structure stands has been earmarked for mixed development in the draft plan.

That means 70% of the land will be used for a commercial hub and 30% for residential development.

There are five plots involved in the proposed plan submitted by the UDA to the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) in July 2005.

Plots 1, 2 and 5 are proposed for commercial buildings, including a 33-storey office tower, a shopping complex, a 43-storey hotel tower and a 44-storey serviced apartment tower.

Familiar site: A look at the famous Pudu Prison mural and some of the buildings within the compound.

The old prison mosque will be maintained while plots 3 and 4 will feature two blocks of 44-storey condominiums on each plot. There is also a 1.2ha park proposed in the plan.

The proposal also involves the widening of Jalan Pudu and making a new traffic way at Jalan Changkat Thamby Abdullah to create a dedicated entrance to the development site.

The Hang Tuah monorail station will also be integrated with the proposed development site to create easy accessibility for the public.

According to DBKL town planning director Mahadi Che Ngah, the proposed plan has been discussed by the town planning committee and examined by former mayor Datuk Ruslin Hasan when UDA submitted it in 2005.

Infamous resident: A file picture of Botak Chin who served time and was executed at Pudu Prison.

However, due to the proposal’s high density, the UDA was told to scale down the development.

“At present, the traffic condition along Jalan Hang Tuah is already bad. The developers have to find a good solution to tackle the traffic problems,” Mahadi said.

Hard work: Khong Yen Chong showing the award he received for painting the mural when he was an inmate at the prison in the 1980s.

“They can perhaps employ consultants to do traffic impact studies and make proposals on improving flow,” he said.

Mahadi said a major development with such a magnitude in Kuala Lumpur would enhance the confidence of local and foreign investors to invest in the city.

“In a way, if we do not propose this site for redevelopment, we are not encouraging other dilapidated properties in the city to be redeveloped by its owner. That kind of approach is not good for the city,” he said.

Mahadi: UDA submitted a proposal to develop the area in 2005 but was told to scale it down.

“If Kuala Lumpur is not booming who will want to come to the city?” Mahadi told StarMetro during an interview last week.

Mahadi said although the Pudu Prison was a well-known historical landmark in the city centre, its large area of 8.8ha should logically be capitalised in the city’s land development usage.

He said city development planning was always about striking a balance and there would always be a conflict in ideals and perception among various interest groups.

“But, as a city maker, we have to decide what is best for Kuala Lumpur by looking at benefits it has to offer,” Mahadi said.

“If there was a strong need to maintain part of the structure of the old prison building, then we would preserve it but probably not the entire site,” he said.

Mahadi said the UDA application status had lapsed since it was rejected for revision by City Hall.

“UDA was supposed to have come back to us within 30 days but it has been three years and there is no feedback from it on the plans. Based on our standard practice, the proposal is considered lapsed,” Mahadi said.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Lorries turn area into cowboy town - The Star

Jun 15, 2008 By CHRISTINA LOW

HOW would you like to live in an area where more than 50 lorries laden with sand are driven to and fro in front of your house daily?

This is what residents of Taman Sri Segambut and a neighbouring residential area known as Bamboo Garden have to bear with daily.

Speaking out: Lim (right) listening intently as Saw explains his side of the story.

The lorries are used to carry sand from an area at the end of the road.

“They move in and out carrying sand daily and we had to shut our windows and doors because it is just too dusty,” Wong Kong Ban, 57, said.

On top of the noise and dust pollution, the safety of the residents, especially children and old folks, is also threatened.

Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng visited the site recently to see how bad the situation was after receiving numerous phone calls and complaint letters from the residents.

Lim said Batu MP Tian Chua had also informed him of the problem as the area borders both the constituencies.

Chua, who had also been approached by residents to help them resolve the matter, had sent a letter to the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) last month.

Off they go: Lorries transporting sand out of the area.
He had asked the DBKL whether the sand removal activities had the approval from the authorities, but there was no reply from City Hall.

During a recent StarMetro visit to the site, the workers there shouted at the journalists.

“We have no choice but to use the residential road as there is no access road out to Jalan Kuching from here,” a worker said.

The residents claimed that the lorries had also driven through the playground as an alternative route out of the site.

They had not only damaged a section of the park but also the concrete slabs on drains.

However, an officer in charge of the site, who only wanted to be known as Saw, denied that they had used the playground.

“We don’t use the playground at all, only the road leading to Bamboo Garden,” Saw said.

He also said the workers were not there to steal sand but to take the sand in to be cleaned before transporting it out to construction sites.

“We have been renting the lot for three months now, and there are three more months before our contract ends,” Saw said.

Asked whether the site had been approved by the DBKL for such works, Saw evaded the question but went on to say that the workers had always cleaned the roads after finishing their work each day.

DBKL’s Segambut branch manager Norhaslinda Nordin also inspected the site, the first time she has visited the place, and took note of several matters.

Norhaslinda claimed that the DBKL did not receive Chua’s letter and was not aware of the problem.

“We will check thoroughly before taking further action,” Norhaslinda said.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Solar-powered parking meters

Solar-powered parking meters

Jun12, 2008 By FAZLEENA AZIZ

THE Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) will replace the present parking meters with the new electronic parking system SLKE in the city by next week.

The new Pay and Display scheme will see electronic machines placed at strategic locations to allow motorists to pay parking fees using cash or on credit via the Mykad.

Cash or credit: The new Electronic Parking System (SLKE) machine that will be installed at strategic locations in the city.

According to KL mayor Datuk Ab Hakim Borhan, the solar-powered system is user friendly.

The operation period is from 7.30am to 10pm and the hourly parking rate is maintained at 80 sen in the city centre and 50 sen outside the city centre.

The first phase for the new system covers Bukit Bintang, Masjid India, Jalan Sultan Ismail, Kampung Baru, Chow Kit, Pudu, Kompleks Damai and Loke Yew, which will be operational from next Monday.

The second phase and following phases will be implemented progressively according to areas by August.

“There is no cost on the part of the DBKL part but we have an installer and operators for the parking system,” Hakim said during a meet-the-press session yesterday.

Hakim also said that the system would be helpful in areas where they were illegal operators and jockeys.

The machines will be stationed at every 20 parking spaces and 50 enforcement officers will be on duty at four main zones, where the parking meters are installed.

The DBKL will pay RM1.50 a day to the system installer company for each parking space. An operator will be hired to handle collection and maintenance at every parking zones.

Asked about his recent “study trip” to Europe and Canada organised by the Federal Territories Ministry, the DBKL and Putrajaya Corporation, Hakim said the ministry would submit a report to the cabinet.

On the current government belt-tightening measures, Hakim said the DBKL would adhere to the cost-cutting and cost-saving agenda.

“We will save electricity by minimising the use of lights and air conditioners.

“The use of stationeries, events and the use of office vehicles will be minimised,” Hakim said.

“We will evaluate the need for having courses, overseas and local trips as well as other programmes,” he said.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Towards developing world-class status for KL - The Star

Jun 11, 2008 Stories by BAVANI M (bavanim@thestar.com.my)

SOME quarters think that by increasing the Kuala Lumpur population of 1.6 million to 2.2 million by 2020 will result in density increases beyond sustainable limits.

And this would inadvertently results in poorer quality of life, traffic and crowd congestion, air and noise pollution and even unemployment.

But there are others who believe that if a city population declines it would lead to decay or even ruin, and eventually turned the once vibrant city into a ghost town.

Renewal: Changes are in the offing in KL.

The Draft Kuala Lumpur City Plan 2020 envisions Kuala Lumpur as a world-class city with its residents living quality lifestyles despite a projected population increase of 600,000 by 2020.

The plan states that for Kuala Lumpur to progress and prosper, sustainable development is the only way to achieve it.

According to town planner Norliza Hashim, this is only possible if the people are willing to change their lifestyle patterns and make compromises.

She pointed out that the current land use pattern was the direct result of past practices and development trends, which were based on single land use zoning.

“Things have changed, trends have changed, market forces with environmental concerns requires new and integrated approach to land use planning,’’ she said.

Norliza said to become a world-class city, there must be a more flexible approach at land use zoning.

According to Norliza, some of the coordinated efforts in ensuring and supporting the city’s growth to cater for needs of its population include allocating land for future requirements, facilitating use of land and buildings, regulating incompatible land use and activities, integrating transport and spatial development, encouraging mixed-use development and transforming, and regenerating Brownfield sites and urban villages.

“Apart from the need to protect the environment and public open spaces, improving the traffic situation and upgrading public amenities, it is also time for people to embrace mixed use development,’’ Norliza said.

She pointed out that mixed-use development encouraged a balance of housing, employment, commercial and other community facilities in the same area.

“Working and living in the same area reduce travel time. Mixed development helps achieve intensive development by using the same space for more than one purpose,” Norliza said.

A valid point and one endorsed by Real Estate and Housing Developers Association (Rehda) KL branch secretary Tan Ching Meng.

Tan said for KL to compete with other world-class cities it must move with the times.

“KL cannot be frozen by history and traditions. To advance, it needs to transform with the times and undergo a rejuvenation pro-cess,’’ he said.

A good example cited by both Norliza and Tan are Singapore’s Tao Payoh township and Bugis Street, which have successfully undergone regeneration process incorporating mixed-use development.

“There are commercial, retail, residential and transit stations nearby and, despite the lack in open spaces, the residents are enjoying a quality lifestyle,’’ Norliza said.

She said this could also happen in KL with proper planning and integrated development within the inner city.

According to Norliza, in most of the world-class cities, such Vancouver in Canada, the city is well integrated with high-rise buildings and yet could also boast the most number of parks.

Norliza said this could be done in Malaysia if the people recognised and accepted the fact that the way of modern life was high-rise and no longer horizontal.

Tan, meanwhile, said KL should not be stilted in comparison to its conurbations, the aggregations of urban areas.

“The capital city should be the liveliest in the country, with individual interest balanced with the overall needs of the KL residents,’’ he said.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Study trips to Germany and Canada under fire - The Star

Jun 4, 2008 BY BAVANI M

A STUDY trip to a city in Europe and Canada organised by the Federal Territory Ministry, Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) and Putrajaya Corporation has not gone down well with Cheras MP Tan Kok Wai.

The one-week trip from May 30 until June 7 is to study better ways of managing a city.

It involves a delegation of 15 high-ranking officers, including FT Minister Datuk Seri Zulhasnan Rafique and KL mayor Datuk Abdul Hakim Borhan.

Tan said the trip was unnecessary and a waste of money.

“Why must they go to Europe to study how to manage cities?” queried Tan. “Why can't they go to Singapore, Hong Kong or Taipei to learn?

Meanwhile, when contacted the minister's principal private secretary Shazril Fariza said the study tour to the two cities, Vancouver in Canada and Berlin in Germany was approved by the cabinet.

“The ministry picked these two cities because both have an excellent local governance system and a perfect place to learn.

“The ministry feels you cannot run a city the old way and in order to become a world-class city one must incorporate new ideas and ways and that's what this study tour is all about,'' said Shazril.

He added the delegation would also study ways to manage trafficcongestion and address environmental issues more efficiently.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Bandar Mahkota Cheras road to remain open - The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: May 30, 2008

The Cabinet has decided the Bandar Mahkota Cheras access road will remain open for now.



Works Minister Datuk Mohd Zin Mohamed said that the road will remain open until the court decision on a lawsuit filed by developer Narajaya Sdn Bhd against Cheras-Kajang Highway concessionaire Grand Saga and the Malaysian Highway Authority (LLM) in 2007.

The matter was discussed at the Cabinet meeting on Friday morning.

Mohd Zin said the Government has taken into consideration the inconvenience caused to Bandar Mahkota Cheras residents because of the barricade placed on the access road there.

To avoid controversy and any untoward incidents the Cabinet had decided that the access road remain open.

Mohd Zin added that the residents of Bandar Mahkota Cheras could now use the access road and there would no longer be congestion there.

He urged residents to calm down and hoped that they wouldn’t take the law into their own hands.

Pakatan Rakyat's Motion on BMC rejected by Parliament

Bandar Mahkota residents take their case to Parliament - The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: May 30, 2008


Some 30 residents of Bandar Mahkota Cheras brought their case to Parliament, wielding banners urging the Works Minister to reopen the access road to the housing area.

They gathered outside the Parliament building with banners which read: “Menteri Kerja Raya, Tolong Rakyat Buka Jalan” (Works Minister, please help the people open the road).

A resident, who only wanted to be known as Mas, said the barricade, built by highway concessionaire Grand Saga Sdn Bhd, had created serious traffic congestion for the residents in the area.

“I have to leave my house every day at 5.30am to send my children to school. If I leave at 6am, I would not be able to make it,” said the mother of three, who has been living there for five years.

On Tuesday, Mas was at the site to show support to the residents who opposed the rebuilding of the controversial barricade at about 7.30pm.

She said, all hell broke loose when the crowd started smashing cars and throwing stones. She cracked a bone in her arm in the fracas.

DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang, who met the residents outside the Parliament building, asked for an inquiry into the incident in which thugs were allegedly used against residents during the protest.

“There should be a full inquiry into this incident. The residents have a right to object to the building of the barricade, and there should not be any physical violence,” he said.

Deputy Home Minister Datuk Chor Chee Heung, replying to queries by MPs while winding-up the debate on the Supplementary Supply Bill for his ministry, said nine police reports were lodged by the public following Tuesday's incident.

In the confusion, four people in a Proton Wira were detained for allegedly trying to run down police officers.

“There were allegations that the police had used force against the public, but none of the police reports we received were connected to this. I urge those who say they were assaulted by the police to lodge reports so that we can get to the bottom of the matter,” he said.

Chor said the police would not take sides in any situation and assured the House that they were always professional when carrying out their duties.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Cheers as residents pull down controversial barricade - The Star

May 29, 2008

KUALA LUMPUR:

Residents of Bandar Mahkota Cheras have torn down a barricade rebuilt by Grand Saga Sdn Bhd that prevented access into the housing area of some 38,000 residents.

Using mallets, car jacks and steel bars, the residents broke down the foundations of the barricade made of large boulders and forced the stones to the ground.

The boulders were then chained to lorries and dragged away to the side of the underpass of the Cheras-Kajang Highway, which leads into the neighbourhood.

Show of support: The crowd cheering as the first of the vehicles inch their way through the two-lane road in Bandar Mahkota Cheras Wednesday.

By 7.15pm, the first vehicle had managed to inch its way through the two-lane access road, amidst the cheers and loud blaring of vehicle horns from onlookers and residents alike.

Police and Light Strike Force personnel monitored the crowds, which swelled to a few hundred.

More roars of support ensued later when Selangor CPO Deputy Comm Datuk Khalid Abu Bakar, who visited the spot, told the residents that he had advised Grand Saga to stop any construction of barricades in the area.

He said the public would be inconvenienced each time Grand Saga built the barricade. DCP Khalid also urged the Malaysian Highway Authority and the Public Works Department to settle the matter and come up with an amicable solution.

He also urged the elected representative not to incite the residents.

Kajang OCPD Asst Comm Shakaruddin Che Mood, who was also present, was hoisted up by several residents who lauded his support for their cause.

He also persuaded residents to remove several toppled boulders that were blocking cars going into the Bandar Tun Hussein Onn access road.

Several residents then pooled together RM900 to get the job done, saying that a third of the sum would be for the lorry’s petrol while the rest would be used to buy food.

Earlier, two photographers from Sin Chew Daily and China Press were attacked by two unidentified men, who had threatened to beat them if they did not stop taking pictures.

By 10pm, all boulders had been cleared.

Cheras Barricade reopens ...


Lims calls for inquiry (Malaysiakini)

May 29, 2008

DAP leader Lim Kit Siang condemned the violence which resulted in the injuries of several residents two nights ago.

He also lambasted the presence of thugs to stop the residents from pulling down the barricade.

He also criticised the police for not only their "hands-off" policy during the rampage by the thugs, but also in going on a rampage of their own in assaulting innocent bystander Chang Jiun Haur.

"An independent public inquiry into the spate of physical violence against the protesting public by thugs and police personnel is fully warranted," he added.

He said that DAP MP for Serdang Teo Nie Ching will be raising the issue in Parliament today.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Bandar Mahkota Cheras - BLOCKED AGAIN!!!!!

Cheras victim of police brutality? - Malaysiakini

May 27, 2008

When Chung Jiun Huar, 21 drove out with his sister and boss to the barricade re-erected earlier by toll concessionaire Grand Saga, he did not count on being a participant to a continuing saga.

A participant he did become as he was allegedly beaten by police and FRU personnel who apparently were of the opinion he was driving his car 'as though he wanted to knock people'...

Standoff over Cheras barrier - The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: May 28, 2008 By RASHITHA A. HAMID, FAZLEENA AZIZ and ELIZABETH LOOI

Tensions ran high at Bandar Mahkota, Cheras, when hundreds of residents gathered to remove a barricade which was rebuilt early yesterday to prevent access into the area.

Four people were arrested in the incident.

Grand Saga Sdn Bhd, the concessionaire of the Cheras-Kajang Highway, had reconstructed the barricade after it was taken down by the residents a few weeks ago.

Barrier rebuilt: Residents gathering after the barricade was rebuilt by Grand Saga workers (inset) on Tuesday. Later in the evening, a fracas ensued as a group of unidentified men attacked the residents as they tried to dismantle the barricade. — CHUA KOK HWA, DARREN TAN and BRIAN MOH/ The Star

A fracas ensued at about 7.15pm when a group of unidentified men armed with sticks and helmets attacked the residents. Several residents were taken to hospital.

Also injured was a photographer from Utusan Malaysia, Roy Azis Abdul Aziz, who was beaten up when he tried to snap some photographs.

Several cars parked at the roadside were also smashed by the group.

The group of men sat on the blocks, not allowing the residents to remove them and threatened to attack those who tried to go near the barricade. However, the group disappeared when the police arrived later.

On May 8, about 1,000 residents from the nearby areas demonstrated at Bandar Mahkota Cheras.

Kajang OCPD Asst Comm Shakaruddin Che Mood said Grand Saga Business Development and Corporate Affairs executive director Zainal Abidin Ali had written to him on Monday informing that they would rebuild the barricade, and requested for security.

However, ACP Shakaruddin rejected the request as there was no court order on the matter.

Grand saga contractors started to rebuild the barricade at 12.30am and finished at about 6pm. Zainal Abidin said the barricade was built on an “indisputable area” within Grand Saga’s boundaries.

Until last night, five of the injured had lodged reports at the Kajang police headquarters.

One of the victims, who only wanted to be known as Ina, said she and her husband with their four-year-old son were watching the drama when a group of men suddenly attacked them.

A resident, who only wanted to be known as Ken, said he was hit by a helmet and a pipe on his neck and back.

“I was only watching them pairing down the concrete sledge when suddenly a bunch of people arrived and started beating everyone up. I ran after I was beaten several times but some others were injured quite badly,” said the 28-year-old.

Another resident Kenny Ki, 45, said a group of men came in two cars and five motorbikes.

The residents disperse at 7.45pm but gathered again later to remove the barricades.

At 10pm, the Federal Reserve Unit arrived in three trucks and two water canon trucks and gave three warnings to the residents to disperse.

At press time, only a handful of people were still gathering a distance away from the barricade and several policemen remained.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Cheras-Kajang Highway Saga continues ...

Barricade re-erected, clashes with residents (Malaysiakini)
Syed Jaymal Zahiid | May 27, 08 2:11pm

It did not take long for toll concessionaire Grand Saga to rebuild a concrete barricade to block a toll-free access road to the Cheras-Kajang Highway in Bandar Mahkota Cheras (BMC).




The task of building the five-foot high wall across the double-lane access road started at about 1am and was completed by 3.30pm today.

But tensions rose when BMC residents who attempted to tear down the wall clashed with a group of men purported hired by Grand Saga to protect the barricade.

According to residents, about a dozen people were injured after they were assaulted by 30 'thugs'.

By about 10pm, some 400 to 500 residents had gathered at the site, attempting to remove the concrete barriers.

According to eye-witnesses, about three or four such boulders have been torn down.

It is also learnt that two residents have been admitted at Kajang hospital after suffering injuries caused by the thugs. One of them is said to have suffered facial injuries and a broken hand.

Cheras folks debate on KL City draft plan - The Star

May 27, 2008 By YIP YOKE TENG

CHERAS folks became the first group to have a discussion on the Kuala Lumpur City Draft Plan 2020.

Representatives of 40 residents and petty traders associations attended the discussion organised by Cheras MP Tan Kok Wai on Friday evening at the Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall.

All ears: Tan (standing) addressing the representatives of 40 residents and petty traders associations from Cheras during the discussion.

Town planning and transportation management expert Goh Bok Yen gave guidelines on how to analyse the draft plan since most of the attendees had not bought the hardcopies yet.

After the briefing, attendees were rather upset that even though the draft plan was set out to create a safe city for KL folks, it had not lined out the strategies to achieve so.

“An unsafe city is unfit to be called a world-class city. Not a single person here is satisfied with the security in his or her neighbourhood. Crime is rampant, we have only 12 years to 2020, is the government capable of fixing this problem within this period?” Tan asked.

He said while the draft plan seemed to be painting a perfect picture of the future Kuala Lumpur, issues such as potholes, basic infrastructure and public transportations that remained unsolved were making city folks sceptical.

Attendees also expressed mixed feelings towards the draft plan's proposal for the Bandar Tun Razak – Sungai Besi Strategic Zone to be largely residential as there would not be much push for commercial development.

“The draft plan only states that Cheras is to have street malls and sidewalk retails focusing on education, medicine and sports. Even today, Cheras only has Giant, Tesco and Leisure Mall that are not large-scale commercial centres,” said Goh.

The draft plan also indicates that Chan Sow Lin area would be further developed as an industrial zone dominated by automotive-related showrooms.

However, Goh highlighted that this would encounter hindrance unless rectified as many owners in the area hold short-term land titles.

He pointed out that the strategic zone was planned to have 97,000 residential units, compared to 29,000 currently.

With that, accessibility and connectivity are to be addressed with the 12 new rail lines, four of which cover some parts of Cheras, as well as congestion levy.

Goh, however, expressed reservation that the new rail lines could be completed in time judging from the current progress of public transportation development.

Tan advised attendees to scrutinise the land use zoning and development intensity proposed for the areas of their concern, and bring their queries up in subsequent discussion sessions.

He plans to hold the next session early July.

“This is a preliminary session for the residents. The draft plan is very technical and even the experts need time to digest it. City Hall should hold roadshows at various places around Kuala Lumpur to educate the residents on how to read the plan.

Sprucing up Bukit Bintang - The Star

May 27, 2008 By CHRISTINA LOW

IT WAS another year of spring cleaning at the Bukit Bintang as traders and employees of various hotels from the area came together for a gotong royong session.

More than 500 people with the help of the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL), Alam Flora and the Fire Department took part in the three-hour clean up which started at 9am.

Federal Territories deputy minister Datuk M Saravan who launched the event said Bukit Bintang was one of the popular spots among the tourists.

“Every tourist who visits Kuala Lumpur will put Bukit Bintang on top of the list,” said Saravanan.

Team effort: Participants sweeping the walkways outside Bukit Bintang Plaza and Sungei Wang Plaza.

Saravanan said such activities should be an ongoing one with everyone doing their part to maintain the cleanliness of the area and making it a better place.

“I also hope to meet the representatives from the hotels to see how we can uplift the image of Bukit Bintang in years to come,” said Saravanan.

He urged the traders and the public to suggest ways to improve the area as he welcomed ideas from all walks of lives.

The gotong-royong activity is an annual event held to enhance the existing relations between the various business communities in the area. Themed 'Cleanliness Ensures a Glorious City', this year the campaign was undertaken by Plaza Low Yat.

Participants were divided into various teams before being assigned the clean up tasks.

The areas covered included Jalan Alor, Changkat Bukit Bintang, Jalan Bulan, Jalan Bulan 2, Jalan Bukit Bintang, Jalan Imbi, Jalan Pudu and Jalan Tong Shin.

Start cleaning: Saravanan flagging off the participants.

The teams swept walkways and cleaned clogged drains as well as trimmed overgrown plants in their respective areas. The hard day’s work ended with games and lucky draws.

Also present at the event was Bukit Bintang MCA division chairman Datuk Dr Lee Chong Meng.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Kuala Lumpur City Hall under siege - Demo 3 - The Star

May 24, 2008 By JAYAGANDI JAYARAJ

ABOUT 30 residents from Kampung Abdullah Hukum in Kuala Lumpur marched to the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) complex yesterday morning to submit a memorandum demanding that the loacl auhtority fulfil its promise of providing them units at an apartment project.

The residents, accompanied by Ampang MP Zuraida Kamarudin and Wanga Maju MP Wee Choo Keong, had gathered at Dataran Merderka at about 10am to air their grievances.

Hear us out: Residents of Kg Abdullah Hukum holding up banners Friday.

They represent about 130 households who are in a dilemma over uncertainty of the status of their promised homes at the Apartment Abdullah Hukum.

These residents, who are now renting houses while waiting for their housing units, were supposed to have shifted to the new apartments a year ago.

Last year, the long-time residents of Kampung Abdullah Hukum were asked to move out to make way for the Eco City project by Pelita Dunia Sdn Bhd.

The project includes luxury homes, a commercial centre and a 70-storey tower.

According to Roslan Mat, DBKL has earlier promised that all residents affected by the project will be given a unit each at the Apartment Abdullah Hukum.

The cost of the promised unit was RM51,000. The residents were also promised a compensation of RM6,000 each.

Roslan said all affected residents were moved to the new home stage by stage.

“There are five stages of shifting. All have been moved but shifting for the stage three residents are still pending. The DBKL also have not shown the list of people who are going to be shifted.

“We want to know why is it still pending?” Roslan said.

Roslan, who has been staying in the kampung for 47 years, said the cost of RM51,000 for an apartment unit measuring less than 198 sq meters was too expensive.

“They should give us the homes for free because according to a source from the DBKL town planning department, we were told that the land cost was between RM350 and RM500 per sq feet,” he said.

Roslan also said under the DBKL open housing system (Sistem Perumahan Terbuka), the apartments units were also given to those not from Kampung Abdullah Hukum.

“There are those from outside the kampung and also certain people who got more than one unit. How is that possible?” Roslan said.

Mayor Datuk Abdul Hakim Borhan's personal assistant Shaari Ahmad Junid accepted the memorandum from the residents.

Kuala Lumpur City Hall under siege - Demo 2 - The Star

May 24, 2008 By FAZLEENA AZIZ

THE Kampung Baru Weekend Market Traders and Welfare Association is against the move by Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) to demolish part of the market in Jalan Raja Muda Musa to make way for a development project.

DBKL issued a notice to 32 traders operating at the site on May 8 under the Essential Regulations (Squatter Eradication) 1969 stating that they should vacate the site on or before May 22 as they were squatting at the place.

The weekend market is said to be a popular spot among tourists, locals as well as for the Nasi Lemak Antarabangsa stall.

No go: Kampung Baru Weekend Market Traders and Welfare Association traders holding a picket against City Hall’s plan to demolish the market.

The association's president, Dr Hosni Hussen Md Saat, said it was not proper for DBKL to label them as squatters.

“This is a place of business, it is not a squatter area.

“Most of us have been doing business here for many years and it is not fair for DBKL to come and do such a thing.

“Based on our findings, the land, which the area encompasses is under the Selangor Development Corporation (PKNS) and does not belong to DBKL.

“It is government land, managed by the government, when did it become a squatter area,” asked Hosni.

“DBKL was also selective in sending out the notices. We are finding contradicting facts to the whole matter.

“We are not against any development but for them to evade us and classifying us as squatters is not justified.

“DBKL should have brought us in and discussed with us on the development before going ahead with their plan. There has to be a win-win situation for both parties.

“So far they are only offering Projek Perumahan Rakyat (PPR) as compensation to those, who live here while the traders were offered temporary relocation to Jalan Raja Mahadi, Jalan Raja Muda Aziz and Jalan Hashim.

Hosni said there were over 200 shops in the area, which would be affected by the development.

Nadzri Abdul Hamid, who is the association deputy president, asked if DBKL was sincere with their intention.

“If they want to develop this place then the development should include us not exclude us.

“When we can have places like Little India and Chinatown, why cannot we have a Malay town right here?,” asked Nadzri.

About 30 traders gathered in front of the market stating their protest with the hope that some light will be shed over their problem.

Kuala Lumpur City Hall under siege - Demo 1 - The Star

May 24, 2008 By CHRISTINA LOW

Deputy Federal Territories Minister Datuk M. Saravanan was thrown into a lion’s den yesterday when he was being driven into the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) complex.

Greeting him at the entrance was a group of opposition MPs accompanying 200 traders who were staging a peaceful protest against the DBKL for allegedly being high-handed in dealing with them.

War of words: Gobalakrishnan (left) trying to grab Saravanan's attention while Zuraida (second from left) and Wee look on.

The traders were there to submit a memorandum to Kuala Lumpur mayor Datuk Abdul Hakim Borhan but when they saw Saravanan being driven into the DBKL complex, they stopped and surrounded his car and demanded that he talk to them.

A fierce war of words then broke out between the deputy minister and Pakatan Rakyat MPs – Wee Choo Keong (Wangsa Maju), Tan Kok Wai (Cheras), Fong Kui Kun (Bukit Bintang), Lim Lip Eng (Segambut), Dr Tan Seng Giaw (Kepong), Loh Gwo Burne (Kelana Jaya) and Zuraida Kamarudin (Ampang).

Saravanan was confronted by Wee who demanded that he tell the traders what he would do to resolve their problems. This resulted in a shouting match, with the other MPs joining in challenging the deputy minister to state his stand on the issue.

Saravanan had to keep pleading to the crowd to allow him time to resolve their problems.

The traders had claimed that DBKL officers from its planning department had demolished their stalls on May 21 even after DBKL director-general Datuk Salleh Yusup had promised Wee a day earlier that the demolishing work would be put on hold for two weeks pending further discussion.

On May 21, the DBKL demolished 130 stalls in eight locations in Taman Desa Setapak.

The traders said they had told the enforcement officer in charge that morning of the 14-day grace period but the officer was said to be arrogant and ignored their request.

They said the officer also refused to give them time to remove their fans, fluorescent lights and signboards.

“When they came with huge excavators, lorries with DBKL officers, FRU and police to demolish, they gave us only 10 minutes to leave the area,” one trader said.

“We do not even have time to negotiate or talk to them,” said the trader who had been operating his business there for nearly 20 years.

After Wee contacted Salleh and the mayor’s special assistant Shaari Ahmad, the remaining stalls were given a reprieve.

The eight food court centres that were demolished were said to be trading on government land and had no approval from the DBKL to trade.

According to Saravanan, the DBKL has received complaints that the food court was the cause of major road congestions in the area and that traders did not keep the area clean.

Saravanan said the vacant land would now be used to build Rukun Tetangga and police beat bases as well as preserving it as a green lung

Monday, May 19, 2008

Villagers want link across DUKE - The Sun

KUALA LUMPUR (May 19, 2008):

Kampung Puah Seberang residents in Sentul are riled up over the Duta-Ulu Kelang Expressway (DUKE) project which they claim will drive a wedge on the close communal ties they have forged within the neighbourhood.

Carrying banners and placards, about 80 residents staged a protest at 10am today next to an overhead pedestrian bridge at a section of the highway which is still under construction. The highway and cuts through their village.

The protest, led by Sentul MP Tian Chua and Wangsa Maju MP Wee Choo Keong, lasted about 30 minutes with residents demanding that the developer, MRCB Group, build an overhead motorcycle bridge linking the village which has been split by the highway.

"It's just like a knife cutting through and the developer does not seem to care what is in between.The people here have built a close-knit community over the last 50 years and they travel around on bicycles and motorcycles.

"When the highway is ready, they will have to go out to Jalan Sentul just to get to the other side, travelling about 7km.The highway will also bring massive pollution to their homes," said Tian Chua, adding that Batu Muda residents nearby were also facing the same dilemma.

He said there was no need for such protests had the developer taken time to meet residents and hear out their woes.

Wee said two-wheelers were the main mode of transport for the villagers to carry out their daily chores and without the motorcycle bridge, it would be a major inconvenient to them.

The MPs said they will raise the matter in Parliament and hoped the developer will resolve the matter amicably with the residents.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Pak Lah makes historic visit to Buddhist temple - The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: May 18, 2008

Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi became only the second Prime Minister to celebrate Wesak Day at the 113-year-old Buddhist Maha Vihara in Brickfields.

Wesak Day visit: Abdullah and Ong being greeted by Sri Dhammaratana upon their arrival at the temple in Brickfields.

Yesterday, Chief High Priest of Malaysia, the Most Venerable K. Sri Dhammaratana, called it a historic moment for the temple, as it had been a long time since the country's first Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman visited the temple in 1967.

Abdullah's presence was confirmed only at the last minute as he had just finished a meeting with the MSC International Advisory Panel.

In his Wesak Day greeting to Malaysians, the Prime Minister hoped that the multiracial communities would continue to live in peace so the country could continue to prosper.

“No religions asks their followers to create trouble or problems for people of other faiths,” he said.

Present were Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan, Gerakan acting president Tan Sri Koh Tsu Koon, Bukit Bintang MP Fong Kui Loon, Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar and Wangsa Maju MP Wee Choo Keong

MP: Police chief must apologise - NST

KUALA LUMPUR: May 18, 2008

Segambut Member of Parliament Lim Lip Eng is demanding an apology from Selangor police chief Datuk Khalid Abu Bakar for the alleged "torture" he and several Bandar Mahkota Cheras residents were put through on May 8, at the Grand Saga demonstration, over an access road closure.

He claimed several residents were treated brutally when they were arrested for protesting.

Lim planned to sue the force over the incident unless Khalid apologised.

He claimed that he too was assaulted by plainclothes policemen while trying to prevent the Federal Reserve Unit personnel from using water cannon to disperse the crowd at Bandar Mahkota Cheras

Friday, May 16, 2008

Parliamentarians dismayed by draft plan - The Star

May 16, 2008

KUALA LUMPUR parliamentarians said they were shocked, worried and concerned over the draft plan after they had a chance to look at it.

Even though the MPs did not have a chance to fully study the thick volumes of the draft plan, they did manage to spot problems by looking at the maps showing land use zoning and development intensity.


Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar said that it looked like parts of Federal Hill, which were supposed to be for institutional use, had been identified for commercial development.

She also pointed out that stretches of Bukit Gasing had been marked for residential use while Medan Serai would have massive infrastructure development.

“This is an apparent encroachment of green lungs and excess development of the areas. This is worrying and we are very concerned,” she said.

“The whole purpose of this exhibition is for the public to give their views on the future plan for Kuala Lumpur.

“I hope this is not a public relations exercise and public opinions and objections must be taken into serious consideration,” she added.

Wangsa Maju MP Wee Choo Keong was shocked after finding out that stretches of Bukit Gasing would be developed instead of being kept as a green belt.

He also expressed frustration as his constituency would not be endowed with many green areas.

“It is definitely not right to have so many public housing projects clustered in an area, as it will worsen the area’s traffic problems. City Hall must not build and only think about preparing necessary infrastructure after that,” he said.

“It seems that City Hall is only interested in building a concrete jungle and not keeping the real jungle,” he added.

Cheras MP Tan Kok Wai highlighted that public hearings of the draft plan should not be conducted by only City Hall, who had been handling the planning and decision making of the draft plan.

“There should be a special task force comprising City Hall and other relevant parties like the MPs, NGOs, professionals, environmentalists, consumer groups and town planners, among others, to conduct the hearings,” he said.

Tan said he would hold dialogues with the local communities to study the draft plan.

He commented that even though the mayor said this was the time to object and to give opinions, it would not be right if the public were not allowed to raise issues after the plan was gazetted as they did not have access to details of the projects.

Like many of his counterparts, Tan urged City Hall to extend the exhibition period and to reduce the price of the draft plan’s hard copy to make it easier for more people to study it.

Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng said the public needed more time to study the draft plan and to consult experts.

He urged his constituents to participate actively to help mould a better environment.

DBKL tears down hawker stalls - The Star

May 16, 2008 By JAYAGANDI JAYARAJ

EIGHT hawker stalls near Kampung Kerinchi were torn down by Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) enforcement officers yesterday for failing to move their businesses to another site nearby.

Despite being given several eviction notices by City Hall since September last year, the hawkers still did not move and this prompted the local authority to go ahead with the demolition plan.

All systems go: DBKL officers carrying out the demolition work in Kampung Kerinchi yesterday.

A DBKL officer said the hawkers would be shifted to a food court called Medan Selera Dataran Seri Angkasa Jaya, also located in Jalan Kerinchi. The officer also mentioned that four of the stall owners did not have any licences.

Headed by DBKL's enforcement and security department, the operation was also assisted by Tenaga Nasional Bhd, DBKL's mechanical and engineering department and the Brickfields police.

The vacated land will be used to build a public toilet for the food court and for some landscaping works by developer Nakkon Sdn Bhd.

Meanwhile, hawker Rohana Abu Samah whose shop was demolished said she did not receive any eviction notices from the local authority.

Still time: Stall owners trying to salvage their things as the backhoe (background) begins to tear down the stalls.

She added she was unprepared when the enforcement officers showed up in trucks and backhoe loaders.

“I asked for the eviction notice but they said it was given out but I did not receive any.

“So I had to quickly remove my things as they carried on with the operation,” said Rohana, who has been operating in Jalan Kerinchi for six years.

Kuala Lumpur City Draft Plan 2020 - The Star

The draft Kuala Lumpur City Plan 2020 lays a series of goals and policies to achieve environmental, social and economic development simultaneously. The goals are:

1) To be a World Class City

KL will have made many positive changes to the physical environment without compromising the local environment and its ecology. It also commits to creating a liveable and attractive environment for residents, businesses and visitors.

2) A Dynamic World Class Business City

KL shall strengthen its role as the premier business and retail hub of the nation, becoming a dynamic international centre that will promote national and regional growth.

3) Connectivity and Accessibility for the City

The draft plan shall move towards an integrated approach to promote more sustainable and environmentally friendly transport system to enhance the city living environment. Transport proposal identified for the draft plan shall reinforce objectives of the KLSP2020.

4) Sustainable Land Use

The pattern of land uses, their location, mix and intensity, is a critical component of the city’s character and structure. It is intended to provide sufficient land for residential, commercial, industrial, and public use.

5) City Living Environment

KL is home to 1.6 mil people and this is expected to grow to 2.2 mil by the year 2020. With more than 464, 9966 homes today, the housing sector is fast growing and contributes significantly to the urban footprint of the city. Hence the plan emphasises the provision of adequate, safe, healthy and comfortable housing for all the city’s residents.

6) Protecting and Enhancing the Environment

As pressure for development in Kuala Lumpur becomes more intense, the need for the protection of the environment becomes greater. Ensuring environmentally sound and sustainable development and achieving world-class environment becomes more challenging and demanding for KL.

7) Enhancing Green Network and Blue Corridor

Parks, green spaces and rivers benefit cities socially, economically and environmentally. KL’s vision is of a network of high quality, accessible parks and green spaces which promote recreation, health, education and economic regeneration, helping to make Kuala Lumpur a significantly more attractive city in which to live and work.

8) Distinctive City Image & Identity

KL is a city of different races and cultures. As a fast developing city, KL has to define its image and identity to ensure that it's heritage is conserved and new developments within the city reflect greater awareness towards urban design excellence that shapes a distinctive KL.

9) Green Infrastructure

To become a sustainable world city, KL must use natural resources more efficiently, increase its re-use of resources, and reduce levels of waste and environmental degradation. As KL grows, these objectives will become even more important.

Tempers flare as KL Plan is revealed - The Star

May 16, 2008 By BAVANI M and YIP YOKE TENG

TEMPERS flared, heated words were exchanged and some even uttered curses as residents voiced their dissatisfaction when Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) revealed the contents of the Draft Kuala Lumpur City Plan 2020 yesterday at City Hall.

Before Kuala Lumpur mayor Datuk Ab Hakim Borhan launched the plan, residents from Federal Hill, Bukit Gasing and Bangsar were seen scrutinising parts of the plan that was exhibited at the lobby of the DBKL headquarters.

Popular document: Hard copy versions of the plan were selling like hot cakes during the launch.

It did not take them long to pick out the discrepancies as many were present with their legal advisers.

When it dawned on them that some spots in their neighbourhoods had been earmarked for development, some started arguing in a loud manner and were even heard hurling expletives.

One of the more vocal groups were the Federal Hill residents when their greatest fear became a reality after discovering that their neighbourhood land which was formerly Institutional (Police Reserve land) had been rezoned as Commercial.

“I am disappointed and shocked at this turn of events. What was earlier zoned as government institutional land has now become commercial overnight and this was done without consultation with the community.

“This would significantly impact the quality of our lives here,” Federal Hill resident Amar Khan said.

“We did not expect this at all,” resident Pook Li Yoon said.

“We thought that they would take into consideration that the land is institutional and hence of low density as per the Kuala Lumpur Structure Plan 2020 (KLSO2020). We are in shock at this blatant disregard of the rules,” she said.

Federal Hill legal adviser Derek Fernandez questioned the legality of the plan, which he said is in direct contravention of the KLSP2020.

“I want to know who approved the plan. He should go to jail,” the visibly-upset Fernandez said.

Fernandez said that under the law, before preparing the draft plan (and it was prepared two years ago), there must be a pre-consultative process under Sec 12 (a) of the Local Government Act 1976 (2002) and that DBKL did not do this.

Fernandez also said that policy CF3 of the KLSP2020 ensures that land designated as Institutional use (Police Reserve) must only be used for public purposes.

“Public purpose means public facilities like parks, museum, educational facilities and similar public facilities. This new development directly contravenes policy CF3.

“We will demand who had changed the land status and why there was no-pre-consultation. They are supposed to implement policies in the plan and this is not implementation but a violation of it,” Fernandez said.

Meanwhile, Bukit Gasing residents were also not happy with what the plan revealed, as there are proposed developments near the riverbank area.

One resident who identified himself as Vincent said the land surrounding Bukit Gasing is supposed to be meant for recreation but the plan shows that there will be developments right into the riverbank and this contravened the KLSP2020.

“The plan shows substantial development is being proposed here, it’s simply ridiculous,” Vincent said.

When contacted, Bukit Gasing assemblyman Edward Lee expressed his concern over the proposed development and said he would be seeking more details on the matter as well asking to see the necessary papers.

Bangsar residents led by the Bangsar Baru Residents Association president Datuk George Joseph was also spotted checking out the plan and was heard commenting that he was not happy with the high density infrastructure taking place in the Medan Serai area.

Tan Poh Eng, 71, wanted to check the zoning status of his land in Segambut, which was zoned as agricultural.

“I was surprised to discover that there are proposals to break it up and I am worried about it,” he said, adding that he would be submitting his objections soon.

Pook said that DBKL has given residents six weeks to view and object to the draft plan and that during the recent round table discussions with the Kuala Lumpur MP’s, it was recommended that the hearing be extended to another three months.

“After all they took 26 years to produce the draft plan so what’s the hurry?” she asked.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

No need to air-condition hawker centres - The Star

May 14, 2008 By CHRISTINA LOW

THERE is no need for Kuala Lumpur to have air-conditioned markets or hawker centres, according to Federal Territories Gerakan chairman Datuk Dr Tan Kee Kwong.

“Take a look at Singapore. It has many hawkers centres, some located on the ground level of apartment blocks, but they are not air-conditioned” Tan said,

Tan: 'If the office workers in Singapore can accept the weather condition, I don’t see why we can’t'.

He said this during a meeting with Kuala Lumpur Mayor Datuk Abdul Hakim Borhan yesterday to discuss various issues pertaining to the city.

“Customers often complain of the hot weather but the Singapore climate is similar to ours,” Tan said.

“If the office workers in Singapore can accept the weather condition, I don’t see why we can’t,” he said.

He said the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) should build more hawker centres in the city to accommodate the hawkers currently trading along the main roads.

During the 40-minute meeting, Tan said he also discussed rebuilding the Chow Kit area.

“Jalan Raja Alang is like a war zone. I get frustrated and angry when I need to go there, because the hawkers are trading on the road reserve area and the customers double park everywhere,” he said.

Tan said there were also hawkers operating without licences and he urged the DBKL to issue licences to them.

Involved parties given a week to resolve access route issue - The Star

SHAH ALAM: May 14, 2008

The Cheras-Kajang Expressway concessionaire Grand Saga Sdn Bhd, Bandar Mahkota Cheras (BMC) developer Narajaya Sdn Bhd and the Malaysian Highway Authority have a week to resolve the ongoing tussle over the access route to the township.

Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim has given the three parties a week to come up with a solution.

The ultimatum was issued after the state government, Grand Saga, Narajaya and the Highway Authority met for more than an hour at Khalid’s office here on Tuesday.

Khalid’s political secretary Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad said Khalid had urged the three parties to be calm and not to resort to any drastic action until they came up with a solution.

“The three parties and Tan Sri Khalid will meet again after a week before a final decision is taken,” he said.

Nik Nazmi said Khalid would announce the state’s stand on the issue if no solution was found.

The issue became heated after the residents demolished a barricade erected by Grand Saga to bar residents from having free access to Bandar Mahkota.

As the barricade was built on state land, the Selangor Government fully backed the residents on the matter.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

BMC residents doused and gassed - Malaysiakini

The tranquil suburb of Bandar Mahkota Cheras (BMC) descended into chaos last night when police doused some 500 residents with water cannons and fired dozens of tear gas canisters into the crowd.

Full story at Malaysiakini.com

Grand Saga can rebuild barrier - NST

KUALA LUMPUR: May 13, 2008

The High Court has refused to grant an injunction to stop Grand Saga from rebuilding a barrier at a Cheras-Kajang Highway intersection.

Bandar Mahkota Cheras Road Opening Action Committee chairman Tan Boon Wah filed the application ex parte on Friday.

Judge Datuk Muhamad Ideres Muhamad Rapee struck out the application in chambers here yesterday.

Member of Parliament for Serdang Teo Nie Ching, who acted as Tan's lawyer, said she would seek instructions from his client.

On April 21, the committee demolished the barrier to enable the residents access to the highway at the Bandar Tun Hussein Onn intersection without paying the toll. -- Bernama

MP: Rat problem caused by garbage - The Star

May 13, 2008

THE campaign to catch rats in Wangsa Maju, Kuala Lumpur, is akin to putting the cart before the horse, according to Wangsa Maju MP Wee Choo Keong.

“The problem should be tackled from the akar ubi (root),” Wee said.

Please help: Wee visiting one of the houses at Wangsa Maju.

He said that instead of focusing on catching rats, the massive rubbish all over the place should be cleared.

“There should be proper places for people to throw rubbish. Without the rubbish, there won’t be any rats,” he said.

Wee pointed out the piles of rubbish around Wangsa Maju when he visited the Teratai Mewah market on Sunday.

“Wangsa Maju is a very big area, so there are some places that I had not visited. Those with problems can come to my centre every Wednesday night or visit my blog,” he said.

During his round, Wee was approached by many residents and market traders who told him their grouses, such as poor water supply, drainage and housing problems.

A 75-year-old lady complained to him about the traffic situation and the lack of zebra crossing.

“Three years ago, we were promised by the previous MP that there would be a zebra crossing but no action has been taken till now,” she said.

“It’s very dangerous for the elderly to cross the roads. I’m old and I have to use a walking stick to walk,” she said.

Wee said he hoped that the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) would be more responsive to the needs of the people.

“We don’t have a state government here so the DBKL is like the state government. We, MPs, are not DBKL officers and so cannot take over their role,” he said.

Wee said that he did the work of almost three people, and having to attend to such matters about basic amenities would affect his role as an MP.

“I have just become the MP and there are so many problems in Wangsa Maju that have existed for years, it shows that Wangsa Maju has been neglected,” he said.

“I’m not in an enviable position because I had to start from zero,” he said, “but I am beginning to get organised with my service centre having been set up.”

After visiting the market, Wee went to the Kampung Lee Kong Chian community hall as there were complaints from the residents there, who claimed that DBKL workers marked their houses with red paint.

According to Lee Seng Chong, 60, the local resident association vice-presiden, the DBKL officers should have notified them earlier before spraying paint

“Residents are worried and confused about what is happening,” he said.

Lee said that some residents had given their houses a new coat of paint but now their walls were scarred by the red paint.

When Lee and representatives of the residents questioned a DBKL officer, they were told that it was for census purposes.

“They should have come to our residents association instead as we have all the records of the population here,” Lee said.

Wee promised to raise the matter when he meets with the DBKL officers this week.

Lim still waiting for action from cops - The Star

May 13, 2008 By FAZLEENA AZIZ

SEGAMBUT MP Lim Lip Eng is still waiting for an investigating officer (IO) from the police station to look at his car, which is believed to have been damaged during the recent Bandar Mahkota, Cheras protest incident.

Lim’s car, a light green-metallic Proton Perdana, which is parked at a mechanic shop on Jalan Ipoh, Kuala Lumpur has visible scratch marks, flat tyres and missing number plate and Ahli Parlimen (MP) crest.

Damaged: Lim showing the scratches on his car.

“I had purposely parked my car between two Federal Reserve Unit (FRU) trucks. The police and FRU cannot say they did not know I was an MP because my car had the MP crest.

“I lodged a report at a pondok police near the Hospital Selayang at 6.20pm that day and an officer there took my statement. He said that they would send an IO from Kajang to see my car. It is Monday now.

“I have not repaired my car because I want them to take pictures and investigate. The damages could easily cost RM10,000.

During the Bandar Mahkota saga, Lim also sustained injuries.

“When I got down, the first thing I did was to ask who the officer in charge was but no one said anything, including the workers working on the barriers.

“I identified myself and had to take charge of the situation.

“People can say that the area is not under my jurisdiction but I have been the legal adviser for the Bandar Mahkota Cheras Open Access Road Committee, how can I abandon them in their time of need.

“As I stood there while the police and FRU were warning the crowd to disperse, a plainclothes officer grabbed me from behind. I kept asking who these people were but no one answered me.

“Then some burning liquid was sprayed on my face, which temporarily blinded me. I then felt punches and kicks all over my body and even on my head.

“They only stopped when state executive councillor Ean Yong Hean Wah came to my aid. They did not dare touch Yong.

“I will pursue this matter in Parliament and I want them to apologise to me and to the people.

Lim added that he would not hesitate to sue the police if they did not respond accordingly.

About 1,000 residents from the nearby areas, gathered from 4pm on May 8 to stop the work conducted by workers at the Taman Mahkota junction.

More than 100 policemen, including personnel from the Light Strike Force and the Federal Reserve Unit, were dispatched to the area on Thursday when the residents held a demonstration to protest against Grand Saga.

KL draft plan for public scrutiny - The Star

May 13, 2008 By JAYAGANDI JAYARAJ

THE Kuala Lumpur City Draft Plan 2020 will be exhibited for public viewing for six weeks, from this Thursday until June 30.

The draft plan covers an area of 243km divided into six strategic zones: (1) the City Centre, (2) Damansara-Penchala, (3) Wangsa Maju-Maluri, (4) Sentul-Manjalara, (5) Bandar Baru Tun Razak-Sungei Besi and (6) Bukit Jalil-Seputeh.

»The acceptance of the draft plan will be announced in the media after the public hearing and when it is approved by the FT Ministry« DATUK SERI ZULHASNAN RAFIQUE

The public hearing sessions will begin in the second week of June and will carry on until the last week of July from 9am to 1pm daily on working days.

The sessions will be held at six venues located in the six strategic zones simultaneously.

According to Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Zulhasnan Rafique, the draft plan contains maps with written explanations.

Zulhasnan announced this at the launch of the KL Wireless Metro-politan at the City Hall yesterday.

He said the public could access information on the draft plan through the Executive Information System at the website klcityplan2020.dbkl.gov.my.

Zulhasnan said the public could give their comments and objections on the draft plan in writing by filling up a specific form available at the exhibition locations or through a form on the website.

“The acceptance of the draft plan will be announced in the media after the public hearing and when it is approved by the FT Ministry,” he said.

Zulhasnan said that once the draft plan was approved and gazetted, it would serve as the blueprint for the city until 2020.

Service a welcome boost for net users - The Star

May 13, 2008 By JADE CHAN

WHEN I was asked to try out the free Wireless@KL service in downtown Kuala Lumpur, I began planning the spots I should go to see if such service is truly up and ready.

Being initially informed that the free Internet access service was available within the KLCC vicinity, I decided to test it at the Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur hotel lobby.

To my disappointment, the service was not available at the hotel.

I called a representative from Packet One Networks, only to be informed that the KLCC area is yet to be optimised for full Internet connection, and that it would only be ready in a week’s time.

However, the company’s technical department personnel said that the service is presently available at Dome KLCC.

A quick test with my laptop at Suria KLCC’s fountain area yielded no free connection either, which confirmed that I would have to enter Dome.

According to a staff member at Dome KLCC, the outlet presently does not offer any free Internet access service except for Wireless@KL, and that they expected it to be up only within the next few days.

Again, I opened my laptop, and it immediately detected the Wireless@ KL network.

After logging in to the Wireless@ KL website (www.wirelesskl.com), I was able to fully utilise the free WiFi connection.

I had no problems accessing my e-mails, using sites like Facebook, Wikipedia and Google, or chatting with friends online.

The connection was similar to what I would get in the office and the speed was detected at 11.0 Mbps.

My conclusion? If the Wireless@KL service was to be fully connected and optimised, Internet users in KL with laptops at their disposals wouldn’t have to travel far just to be connected to the World Wide Web.

KL the wireless online metropolitan - The Star

May 13, 2008 By YIP YOKE TENG and JAYAGANDI JAYARAJ

WITH the launch of the Kuala Lumpur wireless metropolitan project at the City Hall headquarters yesterday, the entire capital city will be covered by a wireless broadband access network in the near future.

This means that if you are in KL, you will not need to patronise certain cafes or pay for Internet services to go wireless.

Everyone in the city will be able to use the service, which runs at 512kb per second, for free over the next two years.

The service is based on WiMAX 2.3 Giga Hertz. Kuala Lumpur is among one of the first cities in the world to use this technology.

The project was jointly launched by Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Zulhasnan Rafique and KL Mayor Datuk Ab Hakim Borhan.

The city-wide project involves the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL), Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), Synapse Technologies Sdn Bhd and Packet One Networks (M) Sdn Bhd.

It involves two parts. The first is to make the city wireless with the collaboration of Packet One Networks while the second part is to have the city's own portal www.kul.com.my managed by Synapse Technologies.

The first phase of the project will see 1,500 Wi-Fi zones installed by end of this year at the commercial areas, offices, DBKL public housings and PPR flats, DBKL community centres and public areas.

Focus will be given to the KLCC and Golden Triangle where the World Congress IT 2008 will be held this Sunday.

A total of 200 Wi-Fi zones had been installed around the KLCC, concentrating on hotels, DBKL main offices and PPR flats.

Subsequent phases will see 2,000 more Wi-Fi zones installed to cover the whole of the Klang Valley by end of next year.

A total of RM60mil is being spent to make Kuala Lumpur wireless, with the DBKL Hall and MCMC contributing RM5mil each and Packet One picking up the balance tab of RM50mil.

According to Zulhasnan, the project is in line with the Klang Valley Broadband Push (KVBP) initiative undertaken by the MCMC that aimed at achieving 90% household broadband penetration in the Klang Valley by 2010.

“The government is committed to realise its vision to develop the country's ICT industry to make it at par with international standards,” Zulhasnan said.

“As such, apart from the KVBP, the government has also set up the Cabinet Committee for High-Speed Broadband under the National Broadband Plan and the MyICMS886 Strategy, which is to reach 50% household penetration in Malaysia by 2010,” he said.

Zulhasnan commended the local communication and multimedia industry for lifting the country's competitiveness in terms of the Networked Economy Index in the Global Information Technology Report 2007 published by the World Economic Forum and the French commerce research institute Insead.

Asked about the possibility of other local cities going wireless, Zulhasnan said the cost involved was high but that the government welcomed any private company willing to bear the cost for such projects.

According to Hakim, the effort to go wireless is in line with the objectives of Kuala Lumpur Structure Plan 2020 that aspired to make Kuala Lumpur a developed city by 2020.

“The Kuala Lumpur Wireless Metropolitan will also function as a super cyber highway that fosters closer ties between communities in the city and those in other parts of the world,” he said.

“We believe that the wireless feature will not only boost economic development, but also further enliven our tourism industry,” Hakim said.

He said that even the underprivileged in Kuala Lumpur will benefit from the efforts and therefore digital divide between urbanites can be shortened.

Packet One Networks chief executive officer Michael Lai said the company's priority was to establish as many Wi-Fi hotspots around Kuala Lumpur as possible, and that the company would provide an option for higher speed in the future.

Lai said that the company had absorbed the cost for free wireless access, setting up necessary infrastructure that included devices to convert the WiMAX spectrum for the Wi-Fi-enabled equipments widely used today.

According to Lai, the WiMAX technology comes with features of better potentials in terms of area coverage and line speed; it is said to be able to better support mobility, too.

To use the free wireless service, register as user at www.wirelesskl.com.

The portal www.kul.com.my will act as a one-stop information centre about all things in the city. It enhances the web presence of existing websites of government and private sectors, hence is expected to boost economic activity for Small Medium Enterprises.

It also acts as the branding tool for Kuala Lumpur, using broad-spectrum approach to direct almost all web traffic to the portal when users search under ‘Kuala Lumpur’’

Monday, May 12, 2008

Draft Local Plan for display - The Star

May 12, 2008 By BAVANI M (bavanim@thestar.com.my)

FRIENDS Lee Soo, 84, Datuk George Joseph, 71, Thomas Rajaiah, 81, Chee Teng Hai, 83 and A. Parameswaran, 69 all bought their dream homes in Bangsar in the 1970’s.

It was an ideal location with all the necessary facilities for one to settle down and bring up children.

Today, as they stand on one of the last remaining green area in their neighbourhood –they fear that this precious land too may make way for development.

And they have good reason to be fearful.

On May 15, one of the most significant documents will go on display at the lobby area of the Kuala Lumpur City Hall.

Fresh air: Bangsar Baru residents taking a leisurely walk in the neighbourhood’ s last remaining green area.

Significant because it concerns the future of the city as every KL residents, home owner and rate payer will be inadvertently effected by it as it has the ability to either improve their quality of life or destroy it.

The document is the long awaited Draft Local Plan for the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur.

The Draft Kuala Lumpur Local Plan 2020 (DKLPT2020) has taken City Hall over two decades to draft.

Why the delay is anyone’s guess but it is no secret that it was prepared with great reluctance by the city planners.

“The DKLPT2020 is long overdue – 26 years to be exact. In should have been prepared when the Federal Territory Planning Act was passed in 1982,’’ said local government and planning expert Derek Fernandez.

“The plan would allow purchasers of property in the Federal Territory to know in advance what is going to happen in their neighbourhood. It would remove ambiguity and ad-hoc planning which is the source of corruption,’’ said Fernandez.

City denizens have witnessed throughout the years how the city planners have used this uncertainty to increase density, change land use and increase build up area at their whim and fancy where unsustainable development flourished.

A good example would be the Federal Hill case whereby the residents are currently disputing the status of their land from institutional to commercial – which contravenes policy CF3 of the Kuala Lumpur Structure Plan 2020 (KLSP2020).

Due to the mushrooming of unsustainable developments in the city, the Federal Government in 2002 passed an amendment to the Town and Country Planning Act 1976 (TCPA).

In particular, they provided that any local plan prepared must be consistent with the National Physical Plan in addition to it being consistent with the KLSP2020 (which was passed in 2004).

A local plan is like the architectural plan of Kuala Lumpur city. It contains detailed information on land use and development, environment, infrastructure and open spaces and it basically shows where everything is going to be.

The plan is important to implement macro planning policies which has been set out in the National Physical Plan and which are prepared under the Federal Territory (Planning) Act 1982 and the Town and Country Planning Act 1976.

It also requires meaningful pre-consultation under Sec 12 (a) of the TCPA before the draft plan is prepared which means that notice must be given in preparation of the draft.

So technically, if the draft contains proposals that were not the subject matter under the pre-consultation of Sec 12 (a), the draft is invalid.

In other words, new additions should not be made without public consultation.

“At the heart of this issue is that home buyers should not be cheated. If they buy property on the basis of a certain locality and quality of life, and later there is a substantial change in environment because a particular development is allowed, and is inconsistent with the basis upon which they bought their property, then they have been cheated,’’ said Fernandez.

With that being the case, city folks like Lee, George, Thomas, Chee and Parameswaran who bought their dream homes in Bangsar with the believe that it was the ideal neighbourhood to live in have every right and a duty to dispute the plan and should exercise their right to object to any form of unsustainable development taking place in their neighbourhood.

It was during the 80's that the DBKL had said that there was only 0.2ha of green open space available per 1,000 persons. That was considered scarce even back then.

Yet they continue to approve development projects year in and year out. So now it is up to the city folk to make a difference by actively participating in and voicing out objections to the draft plan for the sake of the younger generation.

The draft would be displayed for the period of one month (May 15 – June 30) and is required by law to be consistent with the policies of KLSP2020 Sec 13 (6) and the National Physical Plan.

Time frame would be fixed for the making of the objections and it may be necessary to extend the time frame so that there would be better participation.

The residents who are likely to be affected by the proposals from the DKLPT2020 are those living in Sri Hartamas, Mont Kiara, Bangsar Hill, Bukit Tunku, Bukit Damansara, Damansara Heights, Federal Hill and Segambut/Jalan Duta.

What you can do
·Right to be heard

It is crucial that KL residents ask for a further right to be heard in accordance with Local Agenda 21 and for owners of neighbouring lands to be incorporated into the draft plan.

If this is not done, the mayor may be able to approve development plans after the draft plan is passed without giving them any further right of hearing.

This is necessary because more often then not the draft plan has insufficient details so as to ensure protection to the surrounding residents. For example, they may say an area is commercial and allows a maximum height of 20 storeys.

But when the proposal to develop comes about, the conditions may not be ideal for 20 storeys and the infrastructure may only be sufficient for a 10-storey building. Residents should be able to make representation as to why the maximum should not be given in the draft local plan.

·Written objections

Residents should make written objections if there is ambiguity; seek an oral hearing in relation to the hearing.

·Be organised

They must be organised. It is important to work with Residents Associations, MP's and if necessary have experts’ assistance.

Failing to make objections would result in the plan being passed and this may have a long term detrimental effect to KL-ites. For example, if there is a development project taking place in your neighbourhood, it would be too late to object once the plan is passed.

·Details

Residents must demand that the draft plan be as detailed as reasonably possible.

·Pre-consultation

Check to see if any of the proposals of the draft plan was subject for preliminary discussion under Sec 12 (a). If not, the draft plan would be ultra vires. This is to prevent “last minute’’ sneaking in of proposals into the draft plan during its preparation.

Residents must ask themselves if there ever was pre-consultation made on such matters before making their objections.

·Power in numbers

The majority principle should apply. Residents should get as many rate payers as possible to support. If there is overwhelming objections then the mayor is duty bound to uphold the objection on the majority principle and reasonableness.

·Maximum density

Ensure there is density lock in the area you are living. That is, the maximum allowed density should be fixed. If you do not want to see a high-density project in your neighbourhood, you are entitled to object to it. This is especially important in areas that are of low density where the residents want to preserve the low-density status.

·Avoid mixed development

Say no to mixed development – mixing of commercial and residential in traditionally residential areas.

·Demand open space

Insist that a 10% open space requirement be based on built up area and not land area.

·Public parking rate

Make sure public parking does not exceed the DBKL rate and that car parking ratio should not increase.

The public can buy a copy of the Draft Plan priced at RM150 at Jabatan Pelan Induk, Tingkat 12, Bangunan Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur, Jalan Raja Laut during office hours from May 15 to June 30 except on Saturdays Sundays and public holidays.

City folk can make their objections or representations in writing in respect of the Draft Plan to the above address on or before June 30.