No provision for barriers behind houses

Back lanes that are clean, well-lit and pedestrian-friendly may help prevent break-ins.

ANY type of barricade preventing entry into and exit from back lanes is illegal and should be removed, says Ampang Jaya Municipal Council (MPAJ).

The local authority said there was no legal provision that would allow individuals or residents associations to instal barricades in back lanes.

MPAJ press relations officer Norhayati Ahmad said this was applicable to all residential and commercial areas, including neighbourhoods under gated-and-guarded schemes.

“This (installing gates in back lanes) is mostly prevalent in older neighbourhoods where residents do so for security reasons.

“They think back lanes give burglars easy access to houses and barriers act as a deterrent.

“But this could become a bigger safety hazard if something were to happen, ” she cautioned.

Locking up back lanes could prevent residents from having an additional escape route in the event of an emergency or obstruct the Fire and Rescue Department from carrying out its duties, Norhayati pointed out.

“While we understand that houseowners have reasons for blocking entry and exit points, their actions have caused problems for others.

“This is especially true for cleaners and personnel from utility companies who are unable to enter the area to do their work, ” she said.

Norhayati added that the situation was made worse when people consider the back lane an extension of their house.

“There are those who cover the drains or build wet kitchens in back lanes.

“Some have made the space into storage areas which only encourages pests, ” she said, adding that the situation was compounded if workers could not clean the back lanes.

MPAJ enforcement officers can take action to demolish and remove obstructions under Section 69(3) of the Street, Drainage and Building Act 1974.

It states that no person shall erect or maintain or permit to be erected or maintain any obstruction in or over any back lane, and the local authority may, where any such obstruction exists, take down and remove the same and the cost and expense may be recovered from the person responsible for or who permitted its erection or maintenance.

Under Section 46(1)(a) of the same Act, a fine not exceeding RM1,000 can be issued to the offender for putting up structures in a public space.

Norhayati added that “adopting” these back lanes could make them safer in the long run.

“If they are well-lit, clean and pedestrian-friendly, it may prevent these lanes from being used as break-in points, ” she said.

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