Removal of walkout video shows lack of transparency

Sheikh Moqhtar: Incident shows MBPJ’s lack of transparency.

Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) should not have removed the video of its full board meeting on YouTube that showed the walkout by 19 councillors.

Concerned Residents Section 14 Petaling Jaya Action Committee president Sheikh Moqhtar Kadir told StarMetro that the video was a matter of public record and should remain online.

“What transpired at the full board meeting was strange and spoke volumes about MBPJ’s lack of transparency,” he said.

The video showed the city council’s May 30 full board meeting ending abruptly after a heated argument over councillors’ decision-making powers during a discussion about the One-Stop Centre (OSC).

It was removed from MBPJ’s YouTube channel yesterday.

Parimala: MBPJ should be willing to reconsider its decision.Parimala: MBPJ should be willing to reconsider its decision.

A total of 19 out of 24 councillors had walked out as they disagreed with a statement by mayor Mohamad Azhan Md Amir that councillors were not decision-makers at OSC meetings and were only there to give their input on social and political aspects.

The full board meeting was subsequently called off because of a lack of quorum.

The walkout was caused by discussions on a development project in Lorong Sultan.

The OSC had earlier rejected the project because of the proposed plot ratio being higher than the city’s permissible limit at that time.

The developer then filed an appeal with the state Appeal Board and subsequently, a new guideline on plot ratio was released.

The developer then submitted another application to the OSC for consideration, following the new guideline.

At the OSC meeting last month, three out of the four councillors present had requested that the developer withdraw its appeal before the new application could be considered.

When the OSC meeting minutes were being read out for endorsement at the full board meeting, many councillors questioned the manner in which the approval was given.

“My main concern is plot ratio and density when it comes to development in Petaling Jaya,” said Sheikh Moqhtar.

He said a detailed study and review of plot ratio computation was needed.

“There are claims that the recent revision of plot ratio gives more room to developers,” he said.

Sheikh Moqhtar said the mayor could have asked for an adjournment and proposed a detailed study be conducted instead.

Damansara Utama Residents and Owners Association president Habeeb Rahman supported the 19 councillors who decided to walk out.

“There needs to be proper checks and balances in the decision-making process within MBPJ,” he said.

Section 22 Residents Association chairman Parimala Nesamany said she watched the YouTube video of the full board meeting prior to its removal.

She said Mohamad Azhan and MBPJ department directors should be willing to reconsider a decision after a hearing.

“This incident shows that MBPJ is not listening to the views of residents,” said Parimala.

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