The Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) showed it meant business when it warned it will remove illegal billboards.
MBPJ Building Control Deputy director Ismathinon Abd Rahman led an operation yesterday to take them down. At presstime, one illegal billboard had been removed on Jalan Utara.
Ismathinon said three illegal billboards along Jalan Utara were removed by the billboard owners themselves after notices were pasted.
However, some owners have ignored the notices and some billboards are even displaying new advertisements.
“We would rather the billboard owners remove their own illegal structure. If we were to remove it we will issue the owners with a summon and bill them the cost incurred in removing them.
“However, we are not able to identify the owners of all billboards,” he said.
Earlier this week, StarMetro had reported on the problem and deputy mayor Puasa Md Taib said he would not tolerate the presence of illegal billboards in the city and they would be removed.
Ismathinon said the state government should look into issuing Temporary Occupation Licences (TOL) to billboard owners who had complied with the guidelines set by MBPJ.
He said this would significantly reduce the number of illegal billboards in Petaling Jaya.
“We intend to remove the 200 over illegal billboards in the city,” said Ismathinon.
Bukit Gasing assemblyman Rajiv Rishyakaran said there should be a limit to the number of new billboard applications approved.
He blamed poor enforcement by MBPJ for the mushrooming of illegal billboards in the city.
Rajiv said billboard owners do not have the right to erect a billboard anywhere they pleased.
Some may say the council was losing income by not approving new billboard applications but Rajiv said the state should not be blamed for not providing a site.
“Approval may have been given subject to TOL being issued by the state,” he said.
Rajiv, however, felt the state should review the processes and procedures for TOL approval of billboards.
“Currently, all approval for land related matters must be brought to the State Economic Action Council. However, this just adds to the red tape as the process is lengthy and time consuming.”
He suggested that the state allow decisions to be made at council and Land Office level.
“When MBPJ approves a billboard site it could liaise with the land office for the TOL.
“This process would be faster. However, the council is in no hurry to approve billboards as it is more focused in making the city cleaner and more livable,” he said.
On another matter, Rajiv said he had allocated RM3,000 from his assemblyman’s allocation to remove smaller illegal advertisements in the city.
The three-month pilot project, which started on Oct 20, had seen positive results with a reduction in the number of bunting and banners in the city.
Some 150 such advertisements had been removed daily.
“I engaged a contractor who removes about 150 bunting on weekdays in areas within my constituency.
“We have seen a reduction in the number of bunting and banners along Jalan Universiti and Jalan Gasing since we started clearing it,” said Rajiv.
Photographs of the illegal advertisements are taken before they are removed. The removed advertisements would be surrendered to MBPJ’s Enforcement Department for further action.