ENCROACHING onto public land without the authorities approval is never a good idea. Breaking the rules set by the authorities sets a bad precedent for others from the neighbourhood.
Residents in Tropicana Indah in Petaling Jaya are furious over the blatant disregard of law over a person with a Datuk Seri title at the upmarket neighbourhood.
He has riled up his neighbours and the management after he ignored stop work orders from the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) after allegedly digging up a road shoulder.
Three stop work orders were issued by MBPJ on May 8, 10 and 11 following a slew of official complaints from residents.
The council’s enforcement officials had also turned up thrice at the neighbourhood to investigate following the protests.
The road shoulder, which is located next to the residents’ entrance, was found damaged by the owner.
But on May 14, following alerts from readers, StarMetro found that the owner had patched up the road shoulder.
The owner has also planted palm trees and shrubs on the road shoulder but it is not known if he had obtained MBPJ approval.
When contacted, MBPJ’s public relations team said the council had received a complaint over the illegal clearing of the council trees and road expansion works.
Based on council investigation the home owner had done illegal road extension, chopped council trees and replanted without approval, placed a water tank over the drain and installed air conditioner compressors near the home gate.
"As for the illegal road extension, the council had issued a notice to stop work on May 10. However the home owner refused to sign the MBPJ’s stop work order notice and admit his offence.
"The council had instructed the owner to stop the landscape work at the road shoulder of Jalan PJU 3/12C immediately and retain the road reserve as stated on the original home development plan.
"The council wants the homeowner to first seek landscape approval.
"On the same date (May 10), the council issued a warning letter for placing the water tank over the drain.
"A 14-day notice was also issued to the homeowner to demolish all the illegal structures but this notice was also ignored.
"Subsequently, a follow-up meeting was made and a demolition notice was issued on May 18. The structures must be demolished within 14 days of the issuance of the notice.
"Ultimately, the council will not hesitate to bring the homeowner to court if all our notices are ignored," said the MBPJ spokesperson.
The controversy started when the owner started to dig up the road shoulder, where residents claimed the works were carried out to put scrubs and plants to conceal his air-conditioned compressors and water tanks he had put up.
Residents said they would continue to object if any MBPJ approval is given "in the name of landscaping and beautification."
"His action has caused a lot of unhappiness and resentment among residents as it is a common area which belongs to MBPJ.
"Another nearby patch of shoulder road has also become a car park and has posed a danger to other residents as the vehicles parked there protrude to the main road," said a resident, who filed an official complaint.
Residents had expressed dismay that a cul-de-sac had been turned into a private car park as they believed it was a common area.
The Tropicana Indah management had confirmed that the stop work orders were issued respectively on May 8, 9 and 11.
The management team also confirmed that its officials had approached the owner to stop-work but he had acted aggressively towards the team despite the presence of the police and auxiliary policemen from Tropicana.
"We were hoping to reason with him and inform him that these are MBPJ property, but he refused to comply," he said, adding that the MBPJ had given the owner 14 days to demolish the illegal structures.
Another resident pointed out there should be no obstruction for emergency lay-bys or public utilities access to the Fire Department and Tenaga.
A Tenaga official, when contacted, said she had received complaints as two voltage boxes were located there but they were not damaged.
A resident, who declined to be named, said the laws should be applicable to all residents, regardless of their stature and positions.
"We hope MBPJ will act accordingly and professionally as the residents are watching this case closely. There should be no double-standards.
"The residents have taken the trouble to complain to MBPJ, Syabas, Tenaga and other authorities."
It is understood that the residents had also forwarded their reports to the offices of the Mentri Besar and Datuk Bandar directly, as well as Kota Damansara state assemblyman Shatiri Mansor.
StarMetro reached out to the homeowner’s brother who was acting as his spokesperson.
The spokesperson said there were plans by Datuk Seri to sit down and communicate with the council and the residents.
"My brother just wanted to beautify the neighborhood. He spent close to RM250,000 of his own money to brighten up the space. It was initially a dark corner.
"He replanted the site with kurma trees which cost RM15,000 each tree.
"The guardhouse looks run down and my brother wanted to upgrade that too.
"We will sit down and talk with the affected parties.
"My brother did not extend the house like how some others did. He just beautified the place with nice trees.
"I think there are others from the neighbourhood who have done illegal extensions too but they were not picked on as my brother was," said the spokesperson.