Malaysians have over time lost their capacity to stand up for their rights. Time and again bullied into a studied silence, reminded at every occassion that ‘big brother knows better and rules with a big stick’ and that it is ‘not the Malaysian culture to challenge the powers that be,’ a vast majority of Malaysians have resigned into speechless, un-opinionated zombies. Not surprising therefore that when it comes to being proactive in community concerns and common responsibilities educated Malaysians rate rather poorly, apart from the 10 – 15 % odd that rise to the occassion. Is it right for the remaining 80% to be indifferent and unresponsive?
What can be the reasons for this? Perhaps ‘not wanting to get into trouble’ or ‘attracting unnecessary attention’ ? … yes the last 38 years may best be characterised as the very, very, sensitive years, when anything and everything seemed to be within the ambit of the OSA, which included highway concessionare contracts, atrocious road tolls increase, cracked bridges, spurious defence deals, judiciary in the docks, sports scandals, port building, destruction of green lung, scandalous railway projects, un-working steel mills, oil revenues unaccounted by the treasury, repeated bankrupting of banks, national car on life support, MAS on skidrow etc etc.
Perhaps Malaysians have gotten used to seeing disasters happen with clockwork regularity and their rights to protest emascualted, or see protesters marched off to jail … perhaps all these have lead to a pervasive sense of ‘indifference is the best policy’.
But things are changing … the elections clearly show that. If at this point we continue with the bad habit of indifference, learnt during bad times, then we will have no one else to blame this time around.
So please SPEAK UP! If you have to learn how to do that, come to our JAC Save Bukit Gasing meetings fortnightly at Maxwell Tower Conf Room. Next meeting is on Sunday May 18th at 8pm. Also kindly note our next hearing against DBKL for Judicial Review is on Friday 16th at 3pm, Jalan Duta High Court.

By Ashok Menon; JACBG



Time to speak up

Azira Shaharuddin, NST Streets, Thursday, 15 May 2008




KUALA LUMPUR: If you are unhappy with the air, the water, the streets you walk or issues related to the city, now is the time to speak out. After more than 20 years of preparation, the Kuala Lumpur City Plan 2020 is ready, and its draft copies can be viewed by the public from today.
The places to see the draft plans are City Hall (main lobby), Berjaya Times Square, TTDI Community Centre (library), KL Sentral (level 1), Gombak Community Centre, Carrefour Wangsa Maju (ground floor), Bandar Tun Razak Community Centre, Tesco Ampang, Kampung Kerinchi Community Centre, and Mid Valley City (level 1 and 2).
KLites have until June 30 to give their opinions on the draft plan to City Hall or voice their objections. After the deadline, the plan will be approved. Among the locations earmarked for development are Kuala Lumpur City Hall, Berjaya Times Square, TTDI Community Centre (library), KL Sentral station and Mid Valley City.
With the availability of the draft plan, the public can now have a good idea of how KL is going to be developed in the future. Seputeh MP Teresa Kok said she hopes the views and requests of the public are accepted by City Hall and incorporated into the plan. She urged members of the public to get a copy of the plan (which will be on sale from today), study it and voice their opinions.
Teresa said she was invited twice for meetings with City Hall to formulate the plan but she could not attend as the notice was given at the last minute. “It gives the impression that Kuala Lumpur City Hall doesn’t want to consult the MPs,” she said.
Cheras MP Tan Kok Wai said: “Members of the public should get a copy of the book as this has important consequences on our way of living in the future. He said the plan defines usage of land in the city and other important aspects of town planning such as public transport, basic amenities and green lungs.
He suggested that Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Zulhasnan Rafique allow all the Kuala Lumpur MPs to attend the meetings to study proposals and objections by KLites and residents’ associations. “We are representatives of the people, we know our areas well, he said.
Tan said he would meet soon with residents in Cheras and tell them what would happen to their neighbourhoods. “I will gather their feedback and give it to City Hall on their behalf.”
Local government and city planning expert, Derek Fernandez said the draft plan is a detailed zoning and development plan of Kuala Lumpur as required by law since 1984. “It’s an important plan to determine locations of the high rise projects, green lungs and many more. It’s like the architect plan of a house such as the location of the bathroom, bedroom but on a bigger scale,” he said. Derek said if the Kuala Lumpur Local Plan 2020 is approved with everything clearly spelt out, it would lead to fewer disputes with the residents and the local authorities.
“If the plan is too general, it can give rise to contentious issues. But once the plan is gazetted, there would be no more public hearing and the residents have to comply with everything in the plan,” he said.
He said city folk should ask for the right to be heard even after the plan was approved as even the Petaling Jaya Local Draft Plan 1 allows it.