DESPITE existing laws that do not allow the growing or placing of plants outside front gates or backyards, Subang Jaya City Council (MBSJ) is offering residents some leeway.
Subang Jaya mayor Noraini Roslan says they can continue to do so, provided they do not cause any obstruction or pose a nuisance to public health and safety.
“Under MBSJ’s Park Bylaw 2005, residents are not allowed to plant anything haphazardly outside their property. “Whether it is designated as a field, playground or green area, a public space has to remain as that, ” she said.
Noraini added that some plants were dangerous to children and the elderly, and there have been instances where MBSJ had to remove dead trees as their thorns posed a danger.
She said this after chairing the city council’s full board meeting when asked to clarify an article by an online news portal implying that Subang Jaya residents would no longer be able to plant anything outside their homes.
“Our focus is on areas with complaints as we received some 340 last year regarding plants grown outside homes.
“Common complaints are that they caused a disturbance or are a nuisance at neighbourhoods, become obstructions in cases of emergency, are potential mosquito breeding grounds or blocked drainage maintenance works from being carried out.
“A back lane is meant to be a back lane.
“If it is used to place plants, residents must be considerate enough to allow drainage cleaning works and emergency vehicles to pass through.
Noraini said MBSJ would usually serve a notice to offenders and give them a grace period to remove the plants that cause an obstruction or deemed a hazard, before taking stricter action such as confiscation or removal.
“However, if the area is a dengue hotspot, the council may not even serve a notice as immediate action has to be taken, ” she added.
Noraini said if urban residents wished to expand their gardening interest, they could do so at the 65 community gardens under MBSJ.
She said communities or resident groups could also discuss with their respective residents’ representative councils to identify suitable locations and seek permission from MBSJ or the relevant agencies to start a community garden.
“There is a need for collective responsibility to maintain and run the garden, as we don’t want these projects to end up being abandoned and becoming a nuisance to others, ” she said.
Noraini gave assurance that MBSJ would not comb the entire city to remove all plants grown outside homes, as long as residents maintained their gardens and not cause an obstruction or problem to their neighbours.
Earlier at the full board meeting, the amount of tax collected by MBSJ was raised.
The city council was said to have collected only 28% of its projected total income for the year.
“Assessment taxes are collected twice a year – in February and August.
“We have RM21mil less compared to the same period last year and this is going to have an impact on what MBSJ can spend for the rest of the year.
“To ease ratepayers’ financial burden, we will waive the RM20 penalty for late payment if they pay their first term assessment tax before August.
“We hope ratepayers understand our situation. MBSJ needs sufficient income in order to render services of a certain standard, ” she said, adding that the waiver would result in a loss of income of about RM200,000.