THE conflict between Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) and Taman Subang Kelana Jaya residents, who are adamant to block an access road in their residential area, has not ended.
The council showed the residents that it could be as adamant as them when it, for the second time, took down a fencing and cement debris placed at the entrance to their area from Jalan SS3/53 yesterday.
This time however, the enforcement officers took it away.
But after they had left the area, the dissatisfied residents closed the access road yet again with a white-and-red striped ribbon.
On Wednesday, after removing the illegal roadblock, the officers had not taken the fence away, so the residents put it up again.
MBPJ public relations officer Zainun Zakariah said the council would discuss on the next course of action.
Councillor Derek Fernandez, who is a legal expert on local government issues, said it was an offence under the Road Transport Act 1987 and Street Drainage and Building Act 1974 to block public access roads without prior approval from the authorities.
“The person responsible for blocking the access road could be charged in court under the various enactments which constitute a statutory offence with criminal liability.
“The approval to block access can be obtained either from the local authority or the Transport Ministry.
"In Petaling Jaya, all guarded schemes must be approved by the MBPJ,” he added.
He added that security needs must follow the legal guidelines to balance safety and public mobility.
In earlier reports, the Taman Subang Kelana Jaya Residents Association (RA) was quoted saying that the access road was closed to prevent crime and to keep their neighbourhood safe.
Yesterday, after their fence was taken down the second time, the RA secretary Harun Fazil said the association would need time to discuss the issue among its members and declined to comment further.
Community effort group My Petaling Jaya (MyPJ) member Esham Salam believed blocking the access road was not a long-term solution to prevent crime.
Instead, the safety of neighbourhoods depends on creating a secure city environment comprising good city planning, economic empowerment and even job opportunities.
“Sometimes when people become frustrated they may take things into their own hands.
"I feel it is time the council stop saying that crime fighting was the responsibility of the police alone.
“I urge the mayor to focus on creating a safe city through city planning for a start.
“Neighbourhoods should not have too many access points and this is a design error in most older neighbourhoods.
“Many entry points leads to easy escape routes for robbers,” he said.
Esham, however, said the law must be adhered by all.
The area councillor Sean Onn, who asked the RA not to close the access, suggested that the residents could station a security guard there instead.
“I have suggested to them to look into options such as to keep the route open in the day and apply to council to keep the road closed after midnight to 6am.
“On my part, as their area councillor, I can allocate funds not more than RM2,000 under the community welfare purpose.
“They can use this for their neighbourhood watch activity purposes,” he said.