Media Statement 
by M.Kula Segaran Deputy Secretary-General DAP Malaysia and Perak DAP Secretary
in Ipoh 
on 14th September 2002

Delay in having the mandatory public inquiry by more then a year since receiving views from the public by the Town Planning Department is objectionable 

The DAP has been officially notified by the Jabatan Peranchang Bandar dan Desa Perak (Town and Country Planning Department) that they will be conducting the much delayed official inquiry on the objections that has been raised. 19th and 20th September 02 are the days the inquiry will be held. We have notified the Department that we will attend the inquiry on the 20th September02. 

The Draft Structural Plan of Ipoh as prepared by Department for the Ipoh City Council is for the period of 1998-2020. In this respect the proposed plans were exhibited at various public places last year from 12/4/01-11/6/01 to get the views from the public. The DAP had also given a few proposals.

Today the DAP committee on Structural Plan committee members, Sd.Sum, Sdr. Chong, Sdr. Siva and Sdr.M.Kula had a meeting with En.Shahidi b Yusop Deputy Director of the Town-Planning,Perak. The meeting and discussion lasted for nearly an hour. We discussed on the process and agenda for the public inquiry. According to the rules the inquires are open to the public. He mentioned to date they have received 86 objections. Out of these 76 has confirmed their attendance. The rest 13 have not responded. 

We also request that all the objections and suggestions of the structural plan be made public. The suggestions and objections will invariably affect the people and as such are of great public importance. In the circumstances it need to be displayed at public places to get the necessary feed back.

As the structural plan is for a period until 2020 this means a thorough plan has to be set out. For sure, unless people are involved in the business of planning many lay people cannot understand let alone make strategic suggestions on planning for the many years to come. Therefore it is suggested that the main format of the planning need to be up graded or revived every 5 years at least. This is necessary as we can see that since the structural plan was out on display last year some fundamental changes have taken place. For example the present Waller Court Flats issue in Ipoh. The Waller Court Flats were built in 1962 and it houses about 500 flats with 36 shop lots. These flats were built to cater for the inner city residents who come from the lower income group. After the people of Ipoh had a say on the draft structural plan now the department comes up with new ideas on inner city residents. 

The Department together with City Council put in their suggestions and it was displayed all over the town. They had even promotional campaigns. 

It has to be noted that when the proposed structural plan was displayed last year there was a lot of publicity given by the City Hall and the Department. Display of the structural plans was not only at the normal venues namely at the government complexes. The relevant authorities in order to get feed back on the plans found many city folks were hardly bothered of this process. So the authorities then decided to launch the plans at various commercial complexes where people frequent. Famous state personalities were called to launch these plans. Even the period for objections was then extended. 

But surprisingly the same department has not gone on same gear on publicity and vigor to inform the public on the suggestions and objections received. What is also of equal public importance is that the suggestions and objections should also be displayed at various places for the public to participate in the decision making process. If this were done then the public would be better aware of the possible new or alternative views of their neighbors or of the surrounding.

We suggested to the Department to at least display the views of those who are not able to be present personally. But En.Shahidi b Yusop mentioned that those who failed to attend the inquiry their views would be taken into account notwithstanding their absence at the inquiry. We have requested them to reconsider our views. 

Although the views of the people were given last year in the month of May and June only now the Department is conducting a public inquiry. Why this 15 month delay? In fact the Waller Court issue did not even surface last year. Can this matter be raised now? We are given to understand that the inquiry board will hear only matters which have been placed before them in writing last year. 

We have also suggested that all the views be put up on their web site. In fact the their web site on events and activities has no updates for the year 2002. We informed En.Shahidi b Yusop that the above proposals need to be incorporated in their system as these is what Agenda 21 is all about. Agenda 21, where Malaysia is a signatory specifically requires full due participation of the people in all decision making process of the government.