The illegal factory quandary


Awtar Singh with the preliminary report on the study by MPSJ on illegal factories in the municipality.

AS development continues to sweep through the municipality, the Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ) is faced with ever more problems of how to deal with illegal industries that provide jobs for so many locals. 

It is the old areas like Puchong and Seri Kembangan that have the larger number of illegal factories and the majority are operating on agricultural, housing or reserve land. 

MPSJ has initiated its “MPSJ Action Plan for Illegal Factories’’ study that will for now gather data on the factories and their locations before it attempts to find a solution. 

Councillor Awtar Singh said many of the illegal factories had been operating for over 20 years and there were no homes around their sites when they first started. 

“However, rapid development within the last 10 years has changed that. Many of these factories are now too close to homes, causing residents to complain,’’ he said. 

Awtar said factories and businesses that did not pose problems such as pollution or high traffic movement could be allowed to remain so long as they applied for a change in the status of the land. 

“The council is aware that there is an equal number of such factories that do pose problems. However, shutting them down will mean depriving thousands of their jobs. 

“There are also a lot of support industries like transport companies that depend on business from these factories who will suffer if the factories are closed,” he said. 

Awtar said the problem was compounded by the fact that land was scarce as much of the available land had been bought by developers and individuals, leaving limited land that the council could propose for the relocation of the factories. 

He said the council would need the help of the state government to alienate land, possibly from the existing Air Hitam Forest Reserve, to be used to relocate the factories. 

Seri Kembangan assemblyman Datuk Liew Yuen Keong said there were similar problems in his constituency too but mostly caused by businesses operating in housing areas such as Taman Serdang Raya, Taman Bukit Serdang and the Seri Kembangan village. 

“We have houses being used as used car outlets, restaurants and, especially in Seri Kembangan, village cottage industries like shoe factories,” he said. 

He said such problems were frequent in old townships as the initial plans for such areas did not take into account the large increase in population in the following decades and people started to open and expand businesses according to their own needs. 

He said as the businesses and the population grew so did problems such as traffic congestion, insufficient parking and drainage. 

Liew said the problem there too was that the local economy was dependent on such factories for jobs and the survival of support industries.  

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