Putting forth questions and concerns of stakeholders and professionals
By: Tharmini Kenas email@example.com
The journey towards the gazetting of KL City Plan 2020 has been a roller coaster ride since 2008. After spending a whopping RM30mil, the plan is yet to be gazetted. A disconcerting 5-year delay, since the plan will expire in less than 18 months.
The KL City Plan is a blueprint for the city’s development, crucial for the planning and execution of various developments in the city. An announcement from the Federal Territory Minister Khalid Samad on June 2018 said the KLCP 2020 would be mandated by the end of this year.
Outdated plan not enough to cater to recent needs
This has resulted in new concerns from stakeholders, professionals and NGOs. One general question is: How would a draft created in 2008 be suitable in 2018? A 10-year gap is too long to ignore as many new technologies, infrastructure and trends have changed the intricacies of the KL city.
For instance, the MRT line was not connecting Sungai Buloh to the city centre back in 2008, and ‘sustainability’ was just starting to trend, to name a few. It is evident, even from the surface that the KL City Plan 2020 that was supposed to be would not be adequate today.
Transparent and relevant plan to achieve objectives
In an interview with the three real estate change-makers: planner, architect and developer, found out that the KL City Plan 2020 need to be made more transparent and relevant to achieve its objectives.
Malaysian Institute of Architects (PAM) vice president Lilian Tay Wai Fun urges DBKL to reach out and explain to concerned city stakeholders and professionals if enough updating has been done to make the KL City Plan 2020 more relevant.
Malaysian Institute of Planners (MIP) president Ihsan Zainal Mokhtar concurred, “As a citizen, you need to be included in the planning, it is called inclusivity.”
“The plan should also incorporate a definite boundary of the city. An infinite boundary will help to make the city more economically viable,” he added.
Also present during the discussion was Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association (Rehda) deputy secretary-general Tan Ching Meng, and some of the issues and concerns raised by them include:
- Gazetting the KL City Plan 2020 by the end of this year is a hasty move by DBKL.
- The technical jargons and word choices used in the plan or to elaborate the plan scare the public, creating a negative impression towards urbanisation efforts which are crucial for the city to be economically viable. Hence, a simplified version should be made available for the public.
- Differences in the need from 2008 to 2018, resulting in the possibility of the plan being outdated.
- The plan should take into account the changing demographics.
- A great disparity exists in the plan for residential and commercial properties.
- The calibration of density in the plan is flawed.
- High density is not equivalent to abuse.
- Density is needed to create a vibrant hub to prevent brain drain and to attract people to the city.
- Enough importance needs to be given to soft infrastructure to support hard infrastructure.
- The plan should be strong and flexible enough to accommodate changes.
- Planning laws are outdated and need to be readjusted.
- The plan should be open to market demands.
Holistic planning that caters to details
With regards to the market demands, Ihsan commented, “Planning is about interfering with market choices. You can’t let the market to run on its own. You need rules and regulation, but you can’t let rules and regulations control market demands, either.”
It was apparent towards the end of the interview that the ultimate goal is to make the city better for everyone, through a more transparent, inclusive, flexible and updated KL City Plan 2020.
According to Ihsan, Lilian and Tan, one easy way is by DBKL approaching and including the professionals, architects, planners, the public, engineers. This would make the plan more valid, accessible, clearer and most importantly, engaging.