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Wednesday December 28, 2011

The year was full of ups and downs for Subang Jaya residents

IT HAS been a challenging year for Subang Jaya residents as many issues cropped up, but none hogged the headlines as much as the explosion at the Empire Shopping Gallery in September.

The residents were rudely awakened by an early morning explosion that rocked the area.

The cause of the explosion was traced to a gas pipe leak in the kitchen of a restaurant on the lower ground floor.

Four people suffered minor injuries in the blast, while those staying in the hotel and Soho block were evacuated.

The affected area covered the entire complex frontage while the office block, Soho block and hotel tower suffered minor damage.

Tragedy: The Empire Shopping Gallery heavily damaged after the explosion.

The mall was reopened in mid-November, after fulfilling the safety and other requirements set by agencies such as the Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ), Fire and Rescue Department, and Energy Commission.

All food outlets in the mall were subsequently fitted with a new gas line system, with sensors that would automatically switch off gas supply if a leak was detected.

It is also linked to a master control system fitted with an automatic after-hours gas cut-off.

Subang Ria Park

Residents fighting for the preservation of Subang Ria Park heaved a sigh of relief when it was announced that the park would remain a recreational space.

The Appeals Board announced its decision in June to reject the developer’s application for planning permission as it did not conform with the zoning of the local plan.

Sime Darby Properties had applied to sub-divide the park and convert part of it from recreational to residential and commercial use.

Green lung: Subang Ria Park is now recreation land.

Board member Datin Teh Zawahir Abdul Malek said the park was only for recreational use and at the time the application was made, the local draft plan was still in force and not the Local Plan 2020 which was gazetted in May 2010.

Under the local draft plan, 29.39ha of the park was classified an open space, while under the Local Plan 2020, approval was given in principle by the State Planning Committee to Sime Darby to develop 7.7ha of the park.

The park now remains in its original recreational status.

A task force had earlier been formed by Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim to negotiate the price with the developer.

Khalid said the state would raise half the amount, with the residents forking out the other half. However, the developer had put a high price tag of RM165mil for the park.

Khalid had also announced cancelling the zoning of the proposed development of 7.7ha of the park.

Subang Jaya assemblyman Hannah Yeoh said the task force was still in discussion with Sime Darby on the acquisition of the park.

“We have met them twice and will meet for the third time in the new year,” she said.

The task force, comprising residents’ representatives and led by Yeoh, will meet the developer in ascertaining the value and their capacity in acquiring Subang Ria Park.

“We hope Sime Darby will do the right thing in the end by having a basic upgrade of the park before handing it back to Subang Jaya residents,” said Subang Jaya Residents Association chairman A.S Gill, who is also on the task force.

USJ 6 Telekom land

The residents lost their case against the proposed development approved for the Telekom land in USJ 6 when the Selangor Appeals Board rejected their appeal in May.

The planning permission can now proceed, but with restrictions and new conditions imposed that differ from the approval given since November 2008.

The developer is now required to re-submit their application for planning permission, which includes an up-to-date traffic study.

In 2008, the approval given by the State Planning Committee and MPSJ was for the proposed development of a nine-storey commercial block with two floors of basement car park.

Board member Ho Khong Ming said three conditions had been imposed involving the height and size of the project, traffic dispersal and that the development could only be used as an office.

He said the land title was commercial, and the owner and vendor had the right to develop it.

He added that a public statement and apology was needed from MPSJ on the error made in its draft local plan that stated the land as open space but was designated as commercial in the gazetted local plan in May 2010.

The hearing had earlier raised eyebrows when a traffic consultant said a development project could continue even though traffic in some of its surrounding areas was rated F, which meant saturated traffic at its worst.

Residents in USJ 6 had objected to the proposed development because of the expected traffic and parking problems.

The project is a joint venture between TM Facilities and developer Pujangga Budiman Sdn Bhd.

In October 2009, MPSJ councillors agreed to revoke the development order, but the decision was overturned in April 2010 during a voting in favour of the cancellation of the revocation of the development order.

Former OCPD dies

The Subang Jaya community and police lost a dedicated officer and friend when former Subang Jaya OCPD Asst Comm Zainal Rashid Abu Bakar died of a heart attack.

He died shortly after celebrating his 56th birthday on Sept 16.

Zainal was described as one of the most community-friendly cops in Selan­gor and a pioneer in new initiatives like community policing for the state.

He had been Subang Jaya OCPD since April 2007.

It was reported in a local daily that Supt Yahaya Ramli, 53, will be taking up the Subang Jaya OCPD post on Jan 3.

Yahaya is expected to be promoted to the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police.

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