Citizen Nades – Another bite at the PKNS cherry?

R. Nadeswaran

R. Nadeswaran, The Sun Daily

LIKE kids being given colour pencils to shade the outline of drawings, a few officials of the Petaling Jaya City Council put their skills on paper – on an official document – the PJ Draft Local Plan Two (RTPJ 2).

This was clandestinely done by the group of officials as a subsequent inquiry by the Selangor Select Committee on Competency, Accountability and Transparency (Selcat) discovered.

Three different versions of the RTPJ 2 emerged and red-faced officials were at sea blaming each other but their actions would have sent prices of many plots of land soaring.

The inquiry was told that most of the amendments had been done in complete violation of the law and hidden from the councillors who were “fed a steady diet of lies” at every meeting of the council’s One-Stop Centre which scrutinises applications for development.

The local plan, then MBPJ councillor Derek Fernandez said, was amended unlawfully twice, with some 220 unauthorised and illegal amendments involving 40 plots of land including the sports complex owned and operated by the Selangor State Development Corporation (PKNS).

The PKNS complex in Kelana Jaya had its status changed from “recreational” to “commercial”. Overnight the land value had increased from about RM20 per sq ft to about RM500 per sq ft.

PKNS wanted to develop the field into a commercial complex. Members of the public were enraged and demanded that the field be maintained and that no development be allowed.

Finally, the then mentri besar decreed that it shall remain so. That was in 2014 and residents thought that was the end of the matter. Everyone was happy and residents rejoiced having saved their field.

That relief was only temporary – until last Wednesday, when they read in the newspapers that a listed company has set its sights on the field.

Melati Ehsan Holdings Bhd said it is banking on the 6.4ha Sports City project in Kelana Jaya, estimated to carry a gross development value of about RM2 billion, to boost its financial year ending Aug 31 (FY15) earnings.

“We have submitted the DO [development order] to PKNS and we expect them to conclude it by the second quarter of 2015,” The Edge Financial Daily quoted the turnkey contractor’s managing director Tan Sri Yap Suan Chee as saying after its annual general meeting.

Sports City is supposedly a joint-venture project with PKNS to redevelop the PKNS Sports Complex in Kelana Jaya.

“We are still working on the numbers now, but the land value there has been appreciating. The last time we valued it the price was about RM420 per sq ft. Now, it has probably gone up to RM600 per sq ft,” Yap said.

Something is certainly wrong with this. Has the status of the land become once again the target of “land thieves” within the system?

If not, the land remains “recreational” in perpetuity and hence, no development can be carried out.

Let it be said that MBPJ is the sole authority in issuing development orders in the city and PKNS is just another state-owned company which does not have any powers of legislating or changing the status of land.

Any change in the land status can only be done by the State Executive Council and it is mandatory that owners of neighbourhood properties are consulted.

But the residents of SS7, where the field is situated, say that they were never consulted. However, a town hall meeting in 2014 heard from experts that the Lebuhraya Damansara-Puchong was running at 130% of its capacity and cannot take any additional traffic.

For a public-listed company to make such an announcement, it is deemed that the land status has been amended to make way for commercial development.

This means that yet again, a “Who dunnit?” question mark hangs like a Sword of Damocles over the heads of all and sundry – the council and its members.

Is there going to be another round of Selcat inquiries? Even if so, nothing will happen. The first inquiry identified the officials who treated the RTPJ 2 as a drawing book. They are still there – gainfully employed – with no form of action being taken.

Is history about to repeat itself?