Billboards have sprung up all over Petaling Jaya, and the LDP highway heading towards 1- Utama is a prime example. Motorists can hardly see the row of trees behind the billboards.
The billboards started mushrooming a year ago with no sign of stopping, especially around the new areas between Bandar Utama and Kota Damansara.
It is uncertain how many of these billboards are legal, as setting one up requires a temporary occupation licence (TOL) from the Petaling District Land Office and a permit for advertising from the Petaling Jaya Municipal Council (MPPJ).
“I am very upset over the matter and I have brought up the issue to the MPPJ planning department, but they tell me that they will only take action when they receive a complaint,” said Bukit Lanjan assemblyman Yong Dai Ying.
Yong has filed complaints on behalf of her constituents (among whom are residents along Persiaran Suria and the Bandar Utama surau committee), but to date she has not received feedback on whether the billboards are legally allowed there.
“If City Hall can get an enforcement team to check on the legal status of the boards and take action against errant advertising companies, I do not see why MPPJ can't,” said Yong.
She said the billboards were an eyesore and could be a hazard as they distract motorists.
MPPJ council president Datuk Ahmad Termizi Puteh had voiced concern on the matter during the council's monthly full board meetings and had directed his officers to take action, but if there was any action, it is not seen.
“The YDP (Termizi) has asked his officers to compile a list of the legal and non-legal billboards,” said Damansara Utama assemblyman Datuk Lim Choon Kin. “MPPJ officers will take action and tear down the illegal billboards.”
Residents' opinions on the matter were varied, with some seeing the billboards as a sign of Petaling Jaya becoming more metropolitan while others believe the billboards are monstrosities.
“I think there are too many, and sometimes they obscure the view of the landscape and it is an eyesore,” said C.M. Lee, a long-time resident in Section 17, Petaling Jaya.
“Especially the monstrous structures that use up a lot of raw materials but do not do anything to enhance the people's lives.
“I want to know who is behind all this,” said Taman Mayang residents association chairman Liew Wei Beng.
“There seems to be no transparency in the setting up of the billboards. They do not even seek the consent of residents when they put up the boards.,” he added.
“I have nothing against the billboards; at least you have something to read while waiting for the light to turn green,” said motorist Azlina Chow, who uses the LDP daily to go to work.
For Yap Hock Poo, only billboards with beautiful girls in bikinis would earn an objection from him, as it would be a distraction to drivers.
“I do not think too much of them. They could do it with more planning though, since the boards do not complement each other,” said Yap.