Rethinking redevelopment

(From left) Rehda Malaysia president Datuk NK Tong, Chan, Akmal Nasrullah, MIP president Datin Noraida Saludin, Rehda Kuala Lumpur chairman Adrina Muztaza, PAM council member Datuk Zulkhairi Md Zain and DBKL chief town and country planner Shariman Abdul Wahab at the WCSC 2023 international conference. — Photos: FAIHAN GHANI/The Star

AN urban renewal law is being proposed to deal with old properties in Kuala Lumpur that cannot be redeveloped based on existing redevelopment requirements.

Deputy Local Government Development Minister Akmal Nasrullah Mohd Nasir said, “There are about 140 old places in Kuala Lumpur that are bound to be redeveloped, but some cannot be done based on current redevelopment requirements.

“An urban renewal Act is being planned to address this.”

He was speaking after launching the International Conference on World Class Sustainable Cities 2023 (WCSC 2023).

The 14th edition of the event, held in Bukit Kiara, Kuala Lumpur, was organised by Real Estate & Housing Developers Association (Rehda) Kuala Lumpur in collaboration with Malaysian Institute of Planners (MIP) and Malaysian Institute of Architects (PAM).

“The need to have 100% consent is not achievable.

“In some cases, we cannot find the property’s owner.

“Hence, we are working on drawing up guidelines for the urban renewal act,” said the Deputy Minister.

He said the Federal Government was responsible for the development of the whole city.

At the conference, Akmal Nasrullah said 79% of Malaysia’s population lived in cities in 2020, with that number predicted to rise to 87% in 2050.

There are now 329 cities and towns in Malaysia, contributing to 70% of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP).

“Climate change at the global level is taking place faster than ever and we also experience it in our country,” he said.

“Disasters linked to climate change are happening more often now.

The event addresses fundamental preparations cities must undertake to bolster their resilience, especially in managing crises.The event addresses fundamental preparations cities must undertake to bolster their resilience, especially in managing crises.

“The United Nations estimates that natural disasters such as heat waves, droughts, floods, hurricanes and typhoons will cost the world US$52bil (RM247bil) each year economically,” he said.

He noted that 26 million people were heading into poverty due to limited availability and quality of drinking water and agriculture land.

“The government needs to work with businesses, civil society, youth and academia for better growth and productivity,” he said.

Akmal Nasrullah said resilient urbanisation was key to ensuring the living environment was able to sustain itself despite evolving challenges.

Malaysia Madani values – sustainability, care, compassion, respect, innovation, prosperity and trust – can be adopted into a resilient urbanisation plan that can be manifested into good city design via affordable homes, resilient public transport, green building index and walkable cities.

In his speech, Akmal Nasrullah highlighted the recently launched National Energy Transition Roadmap which outlined the country’s effort towards achieving a sustainable and inclusive energy system.

He said this roadmap was crucial in steering the country’s shift from a traditional fossil fuel economy to a high-value green economy to meet the country’s zero net carbon emission target by 2050.

The ministry will also begin a smart city recognition programme (“Penarafan Bandar Pintar Malaysia”) this year, based on ISO 37122:2019 standard, on which a set of indicators are used to assess smart cities.

“This rating system will recognise local governments that are actively looking to implement the smart city initiative,” said Akmal Nasrullah.

“At least five cities will be recognised as early adopters of smart cities by 2025,” he added.

Another initiative the ministry is working on is the new urban renewal plan, expected to be ready by next year, to speed up the development of old properties that will include redevelopment, regeneration, revitalisation and conservation.

“Urban renewal is carried out through nine existing urban legislation and laws,” said Akmal Nasrullah.

“This consists of the National Land Code, Town and Country Planning Act and Land Acquisition Act.

“We now have an urban renewal implementation guideline in place, which local authorities, developers and other stakeholders can refer to when planning for development,” he said.

He added that the government planned to have 10,000 electric vehicle (EV) charging stations by 2025.

The EV charging infrastructure guidelines were drawn up by Town and Country Planning Department (PlanMalaysia).

Meanwhile, WCSC 2023 chairman Chan Jin-Wy said the conference addressed fundamental preparations cities must undertake to bolster their resilience.

“It is about mastering the art of managing, adapting to and rebounding from crises, be they economic, environmental, governance-related or societal.

“Among our past success from previous conferences is the River of Life project in Kuala Lumpur,” he said.

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