Local Plans, properly done with genuine public participation, are so important in ensuring proper planning and sustainable development of a kind that most people would be comfortable with.
Problems arise without a gazetted local plan, which stipulates in some detail what kind of development is permissible in any particular local area or neighbourhood. For instance, some 3,000 people have already signed a petition (not sure who initiated it) to save Taman Rimba Kiara, a green space, from overdevelopment.
There is some similarity between the KL and Penang Island Local Plans. Both were ready by around 2007-2008 but then not gazetted. (In the case of the Penang Island Local Plan, it was approved by the city council in 2008, but then not put on public display. It is now being reviewed.)
As for the broader structure plans, the KL Structure Plan 2020 was launched in 2008 and was scheduled to be gazetted in 2012, but that was postponed. It is now being reviewed. In the case of the Penang Structure Plan, it was gazetted in 2007 and it came up for review after five years, ie in 2012. It is now being reviewed and will be extended to 2030.
In all these local plans and structure plans, it is important to factor in climate change and how its impact can be minimised.
Here, this is what the planning experts have to say.
This is from the Facebook of the Malaysian Institute of Planners:
MIP strongly urges all local authorities to gazette their respective local plans, once due processes for public participation, engagement, objections and feedback have been undertaken in accordance with the provision of the Town and Country Planning Act 1976 (Act 172) or for the City of Kuala Lumpur, in accordance with the Federal Territory (Planning) Act (Act 267).
The absence of gazetted local plan has resulted in increasing conflicts between the residents and local authorities, as what we have witnessed recently in the case of TTDI residents over the development of part of Taman Rimba Bukit Kiara. There have also been other examples of such conflicts, such as in Petaling Jaya.
A gazetted local plan will provide greater transparency in decision-making with regards to particularly, approvals for developments and takes away a certain degree of uncertainty on development parameters adopted by local authorities.
This is very much in line with the spirit for greater transparency and accountability, as well as more meaningful public participation in planning and decision-making; a fundamental principle of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the New Urban Agenda (NUA) which Malaysia is a signatory.
In the case of the local plan for Kuala Lumpur, MIP has been appealing for this for years, since 2013 when the gazettement of the KL City Plan 2020 was first put on hold. Recently, we have written to DBKL and the Minister, urging for the local plan to be gazetted soonest possible and MIP has offered its services as a professional institution to assist DBKL in any form of assistance required.
We need a gazetted local plan to ensure that the interest of the general public is always protected and given utmost priority.
The photo here is MIP letter to the editor of NST back in the year 2013, urging DBKL and the Minister to gazette the KL City Plan 2020.