The Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ) and residents have won the Subang Ria Park case after the Appeals Board rejected the developer’s application for planning permission yesterday.
Board member Datin Teh Zawahir Abdul Malek said the council could not grant planning permission if the application did not conform to the zoning of the local plan.
“The developer’s planning application for exclusive housing and medical suites for its medical centre are not defined under the local plan’s zoning,” Teh said.
She said the park was only for recreational use and at the time the application was made, the local draft plan was still in force and not the Local Plan 2020 which was gazetted in May last year.
Under the local draft plan, the total 29.39ha of the park was classified an open space, while under the Local Plan 2020 approval was given in principle by the state planning committee to Sime to develop 7.7ha of the park.
“So the board agrees that MPSJ is correct in rejecting Sime Darby Properties’ planning application for sub-dividing the land and changing a part of it from recreational to residential and commercial,” she said.
Another board member Ho Khong Ming said the proposed development of 7.7ha of the park was too large to be disregarded as something minor.
“However, the appellant can still submit their application that complies with the land use zoning of the local plan.
“Subang Jaya residents need a public open space and not necessarily an upgraded and more expensive park,” said Ho, while also advising the state to work with Sime to revert to a public recreational area,” he said.
He added that the board was sad that the local plan process was flawed in two aspects, which was in the manner it was approved and its contents.
“The manner in which it was approved showed absence of communication and consultation between the state planning committee and the local authority.
“And the local plan should not be used as a vehicle for conferring privileges to selected landowners.
“The respondent (MPSJ) in this case, should ‘clean’ up the local plan of its flaws with the assistance of the state planning committee,” said Ho.
Board president Datuk Abu Bakar Awang said the appeal was rejected without any cost ordered on any party.
Rajiv Rishyakaran, who is special assistant to Subang Jaya assemblyman Hannah Yeoh, said the good news was that the local plan was being properly adhered to.
“It’s an important milestone to put on record. Now we need to continue pushing Sime to seriously consider returning the park,” said Rajiv.
Subang Jaya Residents Association chairman A.S. Gill said he was pleased with the decision and hoped this would serve as a precedent elsewhere.
“We thank the panel for making the only decision possible, and we hope that Sime Darby Properties will hand the park back after doing the basic upgrade.
He thanked the Selangor Mentri Besar, MPSJ, Derek Fernandez who had previously represented them, former councillor Theresa Ratnam Thong, councillor for JKP Zone 1 Dr Loi Kheng Min, Subang Jaya assemblyman Hannah Yeoh and also Rajiv.
Former Subang Jaya assemblyman Datuk Lee Hwa Beng said he was happy with the decision.
“The original land use has always been recreational, but people have the impression that the development was approved by me.
“The certain portion (for development) was in fact approved by Pakatan Rakyat,” said Lee, adding that the current government has to amend the local plan for Subang Ria to be entirely green.
He said Sime Darby Properties should maintain the park as recreational or donate the land back to the state if they felt it was too expensive to maintain.
Subang Jaya assemblyman Hannah Yeoh said the board’s decision had correctly interpreted the park’s use in the local plan which is for recreational use only.
A task force had already been formed by the Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim earlier to negotiate the price with the developer, saying the state will raise half the amount with the residents forking out the other half. However, the developer had put a high price tag of RM165mil.
Khalid had also announced cancelling the zoning of the proposed development of 7.7ha of the park.
Sime Darby Property had planned to develop 250 condominium units and extension of its medical centre on the 7.7ha piece of land.