KUALA LUMPUR City Hall (DBKL) wants greater participation from residents to tackle the issue of too many kindergartens in neighbourhoods.
Its executive director for planning Datuk Mahadi Che Ngah said there should be a balance between the facilities needed in a housing area and the rights of residents.
“We have always been at loggerheads with the residents over the kindergarten issue.
“As a planner and regulator, DBKL needs to look at this holistically, so Rule 7 (Planning Development Rules 1970) alone may no longer be enough,’’ he said.
Mahadi recounted a protest several years ago by Bangsar residents, about the proliferation of kindergartens which created traffic and social problems.
“We gave approval after one kindergarten complied with the planning requirements,’’ he said, adding that DBKL even got the immediate neighbours’ consent as per Rule 7.
“But times have changed. We need to gain feedback from a wider section of the community so that residents can voice their opinion and participate in the planning process,’’ he added.
Mahadi said the Kuala Lumpur City Plan 2020 maps out the city area and its specific land use.
The purpose of zoning laws is to determine what type of business or residence can be placed in different parts of the city or a neighbourhood.
“We have to comply with the land use as stipulated in the plan. But there are certain limited commercial use like a kindergarten or old folks’ home that can be considered,’’ he said.
For example, if the land use is for residential purposes, there is another column in the plan that lists out the type of activities allowed.
“So, if a kindergarten is allowed to operate in that area, it is subject to certain conditions, and that includes getting permission from immediate neighbours.
“If there is an objection, we have to review it and take into consideration factors such as traffic and noise pollution,’’ Mahadi said.
Consent would not only be obtained from an immediate neighbour but would also include a wider radius to ensure more meaningful participation.
“We want to use the same public objection system when we prepare development plans, it has to be holistic.
“People must also understand that in this day and age, having a kindergarten nearby will certainly help working or single parents.
“But we also don’t want people to abuse the system and set up establishments that are not supposed to be there,’’ he said.
That is why, he added, DBKL had clear guidelines on the establishment of kindergartens and day care centres (refer to graphics).
He said application to set up a kindergarten or day care centre in a residential unit required changing the zoning status of the land.
Any signboard put up requires a licence from DBKL after getting approval from the Education Ministry. The licence to operate a kindergarten is renewable yearly and DBKL has the right to suspend it at any time.
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