BANGSAR residents want a review of Kuala Lumpur City Hall’s (DBKL) Rule 5 governing development, as it does not serve its purpose of getting the consent of stakeholders.
At a joint press conference by all four residents’ associations in Bangsar at Bukit Bandaraya Community Complex, the leaders said Rule 5 was flawed and not functioning as intended.
Rule 5 is a provision of law that requires the mayor to refer to the registered owners of the adjacent land, through advertisements in newspapers and exhibition to invite objections to the application for development that involves the conversion of land use, zoning or increase in residential density. It is part of the Planning Development Amendment Rules 1994, a bylaw under the Federal Territory Planning Act 1982.
Bukit Bandaraya Residents Association chairman Datuk M. Ali said the commercialisation of residential units was the biggest concern for residents in this neighbourhood.
“For example, in the case of a kindergarten in Lorong Maarof, DBKL called for a hearing where all attendees objected to it. DBKL promised that our views would be taken into consideration but then the kindergarten was still somehow approved and now it is all set to open. It is unfair for the neighbours, who have been living here for decades.
“I have written many letters to DBKL and the Federal Territories Ministry, raising numerous similar issues in the neighbourhood that could have been easily solved if the existing law was enforced, but I have not even got an acknowledgment letter.
“We want the Prime Minister to intervene because he promised that the public’s interest would be given priority,” said Ali.
Bangsar Baru Residents Association (BBRA) president Datuk George Joseph said misuse of residential units was also rising in his neighbourhood.
“Any commercialisation plan should have a proper structure. The number of kindergartens should be controlled.
“Even if an owner wants to convert his residential property into a commercial unit such as a homestay, it should follow a proper guideline and not to the whim and fancy of the property owner.
“The consent of the neighbours and the RA should be a must, too,” he said.
“Some houses are also used as hostels for workers. The workers have a right to live in our neighbourhood but not at the expense of our safety because these hostels house more than 20 workers, becoming a fire hazard. Those houses used as hostels are also dirty,” he added.
Joseph said the onus should be on the house owner to ensure their property was not used for illegal purposes.
“There are many office buildings and shoplots in this area, so I do not see the need to use residential units as hostels,” he said.
Bangsar Park Residents Association president Raja Kandan Ratnasingam said there were four houses in his residential area being used as offices and for a homestay.
“DBKL is asking me for proof that the residential units are operating as offices. Although there are no signboards, the residents know because there are many vehicles not belonging to the residents parked here during work hours.
“It is DBKL’s duty to check on our complaints but they have passed the task to us. I am writing a petition and will get the signatures of the residents in the hope of convincing DBKL,” he said.
Lucky Garden Residents Association president Datuk Ahmad Nordeen Mohd Salleh said although his area was least affected by the misuse of residential premises, he was afraid that the time might soon come.
“Once all the strategic units in the other areas are taken, the business-minded people may set their sights on Lucky Garden.
“DBKL needs to draw a clear line between commercial and residential areas.
“The local authority also needs to buck up as the people in Bangsar are not satisfied with the level of enforcement,” he said.
BBRA secretary Prem Kumar Nair said the fact that all four RAs in Bangsar had come together to hold a joint press conference spoke of the gravity of the issue.
He hoped that DBKL would step up to find a permanent solution to the problem.