by M.Kula Segaran Deputy Secretary-General DAP Malaysia and Perak DAP Secretary
on 20th September2002
The public inquiry on the draft structural plan – where do we go from here?
The Department of Town and Country planning was the co-ordinator of the Draft Structural Plan of Ipoh for the Ipoh City Council. The plan is for the period of 1998-2020. In this respect the proposed plans were exhibited last year from 12/4/01-11-6-01 to get the necessary feedback.
Today is the second day of the official inquiry/hearing on the views submitted. We are given to understand very few came and participated yesterday. Today including the DAP there were only 4 participants. The hearing is open to public. But there were hardly any members of the public who have come to listen to the hearing. Why the planning authority did not give the added publicity on the hearing/inquiry is any ones guess!
A panel of 6 members set and heard our views. The panel was headed by YB Dato Ramly Chairman for Infrastructure (exco member). Among others were the Datuk Bandar, EnRahim Head of Legal Department MBI, Director of Land and Mines, Perak Dato Samad and the Director of Planning authority.
The DAP had also given a few proposals. We at the hearing today proposed that the planning authority need to address the following shortcomings: -
1. Religious facilities.
We suggested that there need to be a prayer place for all races where they're at least 4000 residents. Also the present ratio for burial grounds of 0.2 ha per thousand is reasonable but the failure to put this proposal into effect is regretted. Also the Majlis Bandaraya Ipoh (MBI) to date has failed to erect a crematorium for public use. Although this issue has been discussed by the Seenivasagam brothers in the 60's this have never materialize.
2. Open Space- Green Lung
The draft structural plan has proposals that all open space will remain intact and the usage is increased. Although this plan is fine but in reality the MBI has consistently approved open spaces to commercial areas.
(a) In particular we informed the panel that a big chunk of open space land off Jalan Silibin (Taman Kleadang) has been converted into a huge shopping mall. Another example is the construction of a petrol station right at Taman Rishah- a residential area. Prior to the construction of the petrol station the whole area was an open space. With the residents involvement the City Council issued a stop order and the petrol station construction has been put to stop. In both cases the MBI has given the go ahead to the private commercial proposals. We requested that the MBI replace an equal open space area, which has been wrongly alienated to commercial use.
(b) The glaring failure of MBI in approving to a private developer to built houses at the foothills of Kledang Hill was also raised. The Bukit Kledang is a popular hiking and jogging area for the people of Ipoh. Unfortunately the state had alienated substantial parcels of land to private housing developers who by erecting houses have tampered with wild life and the forest at the foothills of Bukit Kledang.As a direct result erosion at the foothills is common nowadays. The panel has agreed that all the present open space areas will be gazetted.
3. Public Transport
We also brought to the panel attention that Ipoh City is facing a constant traffic problem. In this respect the public are only reluctantly using the present public transport. A cheap efficient and reliable public transport need to be operative at the soonest possible. The panel has been informed that the Light Rail Transport (LRT) system need to be introduced in Ipoh. In this respect the MBI must incorporate for the construction LRT necessary land in all its present and future approval plans. Ipoh has now a estimated 600,000 thousand population and LRT is a feasible. As proposed in the draft plan train or monorail can be the alternative form of transport system also.
4. General Matters.
(a) There is a general need to widen many roads and built fly over in Ipoh. In particular the Ipoh Container Terminal and the Shell depot need to be moved out of the its location. Both this businesses are located very near residential areas where the constant flow of heavy vehicles is endangering the lives and comfort of individuals. In particular the Shell depot houses a substantial amount of gas and other toxic items. It is believed that the shell storage is one of the largest in this region.
(b) The administration of MBI needs revamping. In particular better quality of service needs to be provided. Also in particular any joint venture by the MBI needs much scrutiny and care. The MBI loss substantial money in its business venture on the Industrial Estate, Pengkalan, Ipoh. In this respect even the Auditor General has in the past expressed dissatisfaction on the MBI business venture.
We also brought to the attention of the panel in the delay of nearly 15 months since getting the views of the public. The panel members were reminded that this delay of convening the hearing by 15 months is unacceptable. Further we also requested the panel to seriously consider our suggestions and revert to the public on our deliberations the soonest.