Sunday, February 15, 2009

Development in Petaling Jaya

Development issues remain as some of the most thorny issues in Petaling Jaya. As I've blogged a month or two ago, there are many projects approved in the previous state government which have become sore points for the local residents, especially since they were not consulted on most of these projects.

Paramount View. Picture courtesy of The Star

One of the recent project which has been highlighted (in the press) in my constituency is the Paramount View condominium project located between Kg Tunku (SS1) and Seksyen 22 where its construction and density will only bring grief to the local residents, especially since the roads in these housing estates tend to be ill-suited towards heavy traffic.

If you look at the picture above of Paramount View, it's not much of a view isn't it? We can only wonder how such a high-rise project situated within a few feet from the high-tension cables was approved in a narrow piece of land in the first place. For those who are not aware, this piece of land was former a squatter colony which have been moved out into low-cost flats (which is another controversy in itself).

The problem for us is we have taken over the state government, and the local authorities, and hence we now have to carry the development babies which have been handed down to us, as much as we'd rather start with a fresh sheet. I've written on a few projects previously, like Glomac Damansara and The Paradigm and Tropicana City in Kelana Jaya and SS2.

Other areas of concern which have been highlighted in the press includes the development of the FAS field in Kelana Jaya, Seksyen 19 and the Seri Setia new village.

The dilemma if any, at this point of time is that because this new state government has come out more strongly in favour of consultation with residents, as well as greater stringency in obeying development by-laws, many property developers are complaining that we are anti-business and anti-development. Whereas in the past, requirements and guidelines can be waived at ease (how, I would not say), now things seem to slow a bit and project density are often intensely questioned.

In fact, some developers have complained to me that the local councils are now "managed" and "controlled" by resident associations (RAs). My reply to them was most straightforward - shouldn't that be the case? Unlike the past where residents have little or no say at all towards how their city and neighbourhoods are developed and often changed beyond recognition, residents now have much greater say, rightfully to manage their own city.

We are not against development. Neither are most of these RAs which I've dealt with. What the residents are often objecting to is reckless development, or development which does not take into consideration externalities such as traffic congestion which needs to be resolved.


telur dua said...

Businesses in shops fronting Jalan PJS 1/31 are face with parking woes. There are absolutely no parking lots on this road which is about 150 metres long. Where do you expect them to park or to load/unload goods?

People don't mind paying parking fees, but please put in the parking lots. In the meanwhile business owners face parking fines.

Go see for yourself.

One more complaint. The strip of land behind Subang Parade and sandwiched by KTM Commuter railway line is build to capacity with a few high density developments - no thanks to the previous state gomen. And it is so near to the entrance/exit point. It is going to be the worst nighmare for residents in Subang Jaya/USJ when tenants and businesses fully moved in. This alone is enough reason for BN to be kicked out.

Anonymous said...

Proud of you Tony! Truly a mess to inherit, real shame to the previous people in charge, sacrificing people's daily lives for a few extra bucks. Whatever minimal differences you make, it surely counts! Thanks!

Samuel Goh Kim Eng said...


We all know that respect must be earned
More importantly respect must be mutual
But first of all respect must be learned
To ensure that respect still has a future

(C) Samuel Goh Kim Eng - 150209
Sun. 15th Feb. 2009.

WY said...

and who owns these development projects? who is behind sri aman sdn bhd? Follow the money!

btw, tony, be careful about activistism government. you need the support of business groups too.

Anonymous said...


I find the following paragraph from Anil Netto's blog, relevant in this situation though they were talking about hill slope developments.

"Why is this DAP/PR government so afraid of beng sued by the developers? Shut down the projects and let them sue-lah! After all, if they sue you, then the DAP will become more popular with us here. And that would help the DAP/PR win the next general election. But if this chicken-hearted DAP/PR government does not shut down these projects, then we know what to do when the next election comes. And if the developer sues the DAP/PR government, you think the developers can win so easily? And if the DAP/PR shuts down these projects and gets sued and still loses the next general election, the problem of legal liability reverts to the BN. So, as we see it, the DAP/PR government has nothing to lose and everything to gain by shutting down these dangerous hillslope projects. Failing which, we shall shut down this DAP/PR government when the time comes."

Don't worry, we will continue to vote PR next election. We are not anti-business, just pro-law.

Mango said...

I think you need to balance between developments and proper planning. Our public transportation need complete overhaul to make it easier and safer for people to use.
If we reject development or restrict density, lands in PJ will have lower values.These may caused landowners in PJ and their families to reject Pakatan too.Values will be lost and thus less purchasing powers and we will see even negative growth. My brother works in a development firm, if they cant develop, they will not give bonuses or salary increments. How many of you also have families and relatives directly or indirectly involved in property development or construction ? It is the no. 1 industry in this economy.
Thus we should balance development with proper planning. Eg, developers should contribute to road improvements fund in PJ or used for public transport. That way, it will be a win win for all parties.

Hussin said...

Hi Tony,

My take is that if you ask any resident or RA, very few, if any, will agree to any new development. Humans are inherently selfish to have all the surrounding resources to themselves. Therefore they will only agree with development that will benefit them. But we can't blame them for being humans, can we?
So the government of the day must act as the middle man between the residents and property owners. The only thing is that the government must be responsible and act in a fair and transparent manner.

Is there no way out for the new government to review the projects that have been approved before their time? Illegal contracts are not enforeceable.

Anonymous said...

When I look at the KL draft master plan and you listen to the reasoning for and against the plan, you get a sense, there is no real vision of a models of development of Klang Valley.

I remember back years ago when Singapore wrestled with the idea of city planning and they envisioned themselves as a high rise version of Switzerland. Having a model gives you and idea how things should or should not be.

This kinds of development tells you that the tendency is for KL & PJ area to continue be what it always has been since Yap Ah Loy founded it - development where it can and fix things as it goes. In other words, there is no real vision of a model. In some ways KL&PJ has no great city model to look at. It was never planned properly and its size is now significant but not huge old cities that urban redevelopment models can be patented after. In some ways, KL&PJ are smaller version of California cities San Francisco and LA - not exactly models of development with too many cars, poor public transport, expensive public services, urban poors and wealthy people behind gated communities.

If there is a simple model to copy for KL&PJ, the closest could be Taipei but anybody who have spent significant time there will realise its expensive city made only possible because of Taiwan's technological strength.

So what KL&PJ planners should do is to be able to do what Singapore did, make a visionary leap which our official are incapable of. In the end, its some sort of European city with excellent cheap public transport while making private transport available when needed that must be the key to a proper KL&PJ.

My own vision calls for a smaller version of NY city. Where its expensive to own private transport in city center core but not to rent one. Then development is high-rise but planning of large tracts of park and public space is made. Public transport is available to satellite cities/states like NY is to Tri-State area.

Anonymous said...

Hire a proper city planning committee!

If necessity arises, get some of them from Singapore!

You cannot make them stop building by law. But you can show them signs that you intend to close the roads to build a cemetry next to their current development. Then ask them, "you willing to take a new piece of land here where we plan to have residences? Plus we give you 2 office space in this shopping mall we intend to build next to the residences."

Do business with businessmen.

You play law with businessman, of course they don't care you!

Anonymous said...

yes, we noticed that too every time we use the road. there are other examples too about high-rise project within close proximity of high-tension cables. it is just not right. we just don't know the health problem posed to the residents in years to come. very sad reality, indeed.

with concern,
ordinary joe.

Brian said...

Hi YB,

While i can comprehend the frustrations caused to existing residents who affected by the condominium development and also about the alleged shenanigans with how such developments were approved, nobody even bothered to consider the plight of innocent purchasers or units in the said condominium.

I personally am of the view that ok, we get the point that the previous administration may have other incentive(s) for approving the project or other similar projects, however, we should all stop pointing fingers and try to find a solution that is amicable to all parties affected by it.

I am very sure the buyers have absolutely no intention of causing a nuisance to their prospective neighbours. I am also very sure that the developer did not anticipate that they would be blamed for trying to make a living. They have agreed to be responsible to remedy the damages caused to its neighbouring properties, let us all give them time and hold them accountable.

Also, the thing with the "unknown health risk" of living near the high tension cables... Don't the existing bungalow and terrace dwellers know that they are not living too far away from the cables too? Don't they think that the buyers of the units have thought through about the potential risks before signing on the dotted line?

So all I saying is come on, stop making a big fuss of an issue that can be settled together. The developer is not pleading ignorance, so let them deliver their promises. Let us also not forget the plight of the buyers of the condo units if this project is halted because of complaints.

Please assess the risk vs. rewards of politicizing this matter. 233 new home owner's life savings are at risk because of this.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Dear All who read this

Please think of those innocent 233 new home owner's situation,how long are you going to deny the approval of the CF,the longer it is delay,the longer those new home owners are going to suffer. Please let them move into their condo which they have been waiting for these few years,have a pity of them,would you be caught in the same situation if you were one of the 233 new home owners,they are stuck because of this delay,dont you think they dont know of the hazardous health they are going to face,they are concern too about their health but most importantly about how long more they have to wait in order for to obtain the CF to move in. Please take in consider of these and dont make them suffer anymore.

Thank you for your time.