WARNING letters were issued by the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) on July 2 to two residents associations in Petaling Jaya.
The Bandar Utama Residents Associations (Bura) and Winchester Residents Association (WRA) were ordered to take down their automated gates and other road barriers which restrict access into the housing areas.
Although Petaling Jaya mayor Datin Paduka Alinah Ahmad promised that action would only be taken after Hari Raya Aidilfitri, the news stirred a hornet’s nest.
So far, 18 RAs and RTs have registered their gated-and-guarded schemes with MBPJ and received conditional approvals.
According to MBPJ public relations officer Zainun Zakaria, the council has received more than 50 complaints this year, with many coming from the two areas in question.
Many questioned the distinction between “illegal” (e.g. unregistered with the city authority) and those found not to have complied with council guidelines.
In the worsening security climate where MBPJ is in the process of trying to acquire its own auxiliary police, many say boom gates and hired security guards represent a relatively effective measure in reducing crime.
While Bura and WRA managed to buy time by sending in their applications to be registered with MBPJ in September, matters came to a head by mid-October.
A three-housing-area operation was led by MBPJ’s Engineering Department against Bandar Utama Precinct BU 6, Winchester Ara Damansara and surprisingly, Damansara Jaya SS22, whose scheme was registered with the council.
Although the council claimed that they had given sufficient warning on the matter, Damansara Jaya Residents and Owners Association (DJROA) claimed otherwise.
The operation, which was also conducted without prior communication with the council’s Infrastruc-ture Committee, prompted heated debate with letters and e-mails both for and against the move by MBPJ.
Nonetheless, the raid seems to have had a favourable effect, as MBPJ reported that 30 housing areas have registered their gated-and-guarded schemes, including Bura and WRA.
The matter has also been brought up in the recent state assembly, and the Selangor government is expected to issue new guidelines on boomgates and gated-and-guarded schemes by September next year. In the meantime, local councils will refrain from tearing down any further boomgates until the new guidelines are out.