Saturday, March 28, 2015

Ruling on boom gates expected to encourage better regulation - The Star

Posted on   | 321 views |  Topic : Featured, Property News.

Having the authority: A panel of five judges ruled that MBPJ was fully empowered to approve the guardhouse with the boom gates in accordance with the council's guidelines for guarded communities. -Filepic
Having the authority: A panel of five judges ruled that MBPJ was fully empowered to approve the guardhouse with the boom gates in accordance with the council’s guidelines for guarded communities. -Filepic
NOT many houseowners who disagree with the gated-and-guarded scheme in their neighbourhood would have the determination to sue their residents association and see it through right up to Federal Court level.
While Au Kean Hoe’s suit against D’Villa Equestrian Residents Association in Kota Damansara, Petaling Jaya, was ultimately dismissed by the Federal Court,the case is expected to result in clearer guidelines and greater regulation of gated-and-guarded communities. The ruling allows boom gates across public roads and guardhouses.
Section 5 Residents Association president Mohd Rafiq Fazaldin said the ruling was a relief for those worried about rising crime rates in their area.
Damansara Jaya RA president Datuk Yew Cheng Hoe also lauded the ruling.
“We have been using boom gates in our area for about five years,” he said, adding that they did not bar access to people but the vigilant security helped discourage would-be criminals.
Yew said crime had reduced significantly since its implementation.
“We used to have about 35 to 40 crimes reported per month but that has now dropped to about one to two cases now,” he said.
The five-member panel chaired by Chief Judge of Malaya Tan Sri Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin in their judgment on March 19 said regulated access to a defined area was not an obstruction in law, particularly if it was for security purposes.
Justice Zulkefli said guardhouses and boom gates were authorised structures under the Town and Country Planning Act 1976; the Street, Drainage and Building Act 1974 and the Local Government Act 1976.
He noted in his judgment that the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ), as the relevant local authority in the present case, was fully empowered to approve the guardhouse with the boom gates in accordance with MBPJ guidelines for guarded communities issued by the Urban Planning Department in May 2011.
Lawyer and former Petaling Jaya councillor Derek Fernandez said the decision by the Federal Court affirmed the authority of MBPJ to regulate gated-and-guarded schemes.
“The decision upholds the validity of state government guidelines over current practices, in particular its approval of manned boom gates to regulate access.
“It underlines the council’s power under the Local Government Act to regulate public safety.
“Schemes that are not approved by the council and do not comply with the guidelines are considered illegal,” he pointed out.
MCA veteran Datuk Dr Wong Sai Hou said public roads should remain accessible during the day.
He said limiting access to neighbourhood roads was not a problem for cul-de-sac.
“However, public roads which lead to other areas in the neighbourhood should be accessible during the day.
“Service providers engaged by local councils such as garbage collectors and street cleaners should have access to gated neighbourhoods,” he said.
He added that the state government should have clear rules to ensure the gated-and-guarded scheme is well regulated.
Friends of Kota Damansara member Jeffrey Phang said the Federal Court’s ruling took into account public safety.
“Sometimes, the council will tear down the boom gate when just one or two residents complain,” he said.
Yew, too, wants better guidelines from Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) to ensure smoother implementation of the gated-and-guarded scheme.
He noted that some areas might not be adhering to the ruling that boom gates are not supposed to be down during the day but only between midnight to 6am.
“About 80% of our residents supported erecting boom gates,” he said, adding that the remaining 20% comprised tenants and students renting rooms.
Fernandez said the guidelines might need to be amended to ensure that residents who were not part of the scheme were not forced to lift the boom gates themselves to gain access to their homes.
“I hope MBPJ and the state government will make amendments to be fair to those who do not want to join the scheme for various reasons,” he added.
In its statement to StarMetro, MBPJ said that it would review and modify the basic basic guidelines in view of the court ruling.
“The guidelines include getting agreement from 75% or three-quarter of the residents. obtaining a temporary occupation licence from the Petaling Land and District Office as well as a temporary building permit from MBPJ for constructing a guard house, and installation of swing gates only allowed at lanes with security guards on duty round the clock,” the council stated.
It added that up till March 26, MBPJ had approved 32 residents association to set up a “guarded community.”

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Keeping Watch On Ipoh - Ipoh Echo

1 Feb 2015 By Fathol Zaman Bukhari

I was once asked what really started Ipoh City Watch (ICW). I had the answer but took a while to ponder on the likely reasons for the establishment of this non-governmental organisation.
The new millennium had just descended on Ipoh and talks were rife that the city’s boundary would be extended to include areas which were not under the city council’s jurisdiction.

Chemor, Gopeng, Jelapang and Meru were some of those considered. From an erstwhile 400-odd sq km the city would be expanded to its current 643 sq km to support a population in excess of 600,000.

The expansion was welcomed by the city’s business community, as it would provide better opportunities for business to flourish. However, residents were rather sceptical fearing a dilution in Ipoh City Council’s responsibilities with a larger area to cover.
Topping the list was cleanliness, as Ipoh in the 1950s right until the 1970s, was the cleanness town in the country. This distinction was attributable to the Seenivasagam brothers who took pride in making the state capital squeaky clean, both in looks and in governance, to the chagrin of other municipal councils who were in deep slumber, oblivious of the changing times.
Developments taking place in and around Ipoh seemed unstoppable, driven by an irresistible urge to spread. Some of which were never in the city’s 5-year structural plan, prompting residents to suspect a hidden agenda.
One very noticeable change taking place was on the vacant lot adjacent to Kinta City along Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah (formerly Jalan Tasek). Although the space was earmarked for a permanent structure, the construction of an entertainment outlet was puzzling, to say the least.
Bali Bali, a night club cum karaoke joint, took shape and it changed Ipoh Garden for good. The club stood where the De Garden shopping mall now stands. Ipoh City Council could not give a reasonable answer why approval was given for its construction. When the entertainment centre began operation in early 2001, people living in the vicinity protested as the din created caused them many sleepless nights.
A group of disgruntled residents, led by a lawyer, whose house was a stone’s throw away from the club, decided to take matters in their hands. A formal complaint was lodged with Ipoh City Council and a meeting with then Mayor Dato’ Taalat Hj Husain was arranged.
Lawyer Ernest Balasingam’s perseverance prevailed. The ‘seedy’ Bali Bali night club was demolished much to the delight of the public. Ernest had alluded to the council’s by-laws on entertainment outlets to strengthen his case.
The fact that the Council backed down after owning its mistake, spurred Ipohites to go beyond illegal buildings and noise pollution. They planned on something larger – a platform to be their sounding board against an insensitive Council prone to making contradictory decisions and statements at the behest of Ipohites.
That was how the idea behind the formation of Ipoh City Watch came into existence. A gathering of like-minded people was called and sometime in late November 2002, the first meeting took place at YMCA Ipoh hall. I was among the 11 who turned up. Bobby Yin was elected president while the rest made up the committee.  
We adopted a confrontational approach in dealing with problems affecting Ipohites. I remember making calls on the mayor, the council secretary and department heads to voice residents’ dissatisfactions. And when that did not work we tried drawing the attention of the Mentri Besar and the Executive Councillor for Local Government.
When that too did not work we sought the press for assistance. The Sun was kind enough to provide us with a weekly column to vent our frustrations. And the rest is history not worth mentioning. Over the years the fire in us dissipated leaving a void never to be filled until recently.
When the society was de-registered in 2013 by the Registrar of Societies for non-submission of its accounts, I thought that was the end of ICW. But circumstances were to prove me wrong. It was re-registered in April 2014 with a new team at the helm.
Today under a very dynamic president, Associate Professor Dr Richard Ng, Ipoh City Watch is set to make waves. The society was re-launched during a simple ceremony held at Kinta Riverfront Hotel, Ipoh on Friday, January 23.
Richard’s conciliatory style seems to work. His “3 Es” principle – Engage, Explain and Educate could be the panacea. At last count there are nearly 60 highly-motivated individuals in Richard’s WhatsApp group, “ICW Watchaa”. And that includes some notable names such as Gerakan’s former chief Chan Ko Youn, former mayor Roshidi Hashim, academician Victor Chew and even Opposition lawmakers, Howard Lee and Wong Kah Woh. My phone hasn’t stopped vibrating and squeaking ever since I was roped into the group.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Closed Door Meeting on Solid Waste Management in Perak

Yesterday 15 March 2015 was a hectic day for us at Ipoh City Watch. In the morning we attended the World Peace Convention held in Ipoh for the first time. Then in the afternoon we have a fruitful meeting cum discussion on three major issues: Privatization of Solid Waste Management of Perak, Issues on Incinerator in Pangkor and 3R programs.

It was a closed door meeting with the Director of Perak Solid Waste Management and Public Cleansing Corp, Pn Hjh Fatimah Ahmad and activists AP Dr. Tan, Dr. Lai and Vincent Chung from iCycle Malaysia. It was a very insightful meeting. 

The way forward now is to continue having our proactive discussion via our Whatsapp group to ensure that Perak is in the forefront in terms of managing Solid Waste and Recycling program. ICW will assist SW Corp and other stakeholders to Engage, Explain and Educate the public.

Meanwhile, ICW will get more feedback from the public especially Perakians and Ipohites to find out about their thoughts on the impending privatization SWM project in Perak. 

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Launching the first Recycle Programme in Malaysia

There is money in our unwanted garbage. This afternoon Ipoh City Watch committee members held a meeting with the director of Perak Solid Waste Management and Public Cleansing Corporation (SW Corp), Puan Hjh Fatimah Ahmad to plan the launching of the first Recycle programme in Malaysia with the cooperation of RT Jelapang.

The project will be able to reward residents of Taman Jelapang Baru while educating them on how to keep the environment clean and safe. A collection centre has been identified for residents to bring their recycle products every week.

We hope this programme will results in reduced illegal dumpings. A walk about in Taman Jelapang Baru found that there are 11 illegal dumping grounds at the moment.

Monday, March 9, 2015

5 Cities That Are Recycling Superstars in the US

When you look at the American cities with the highest recycling rates, an interesting pattern emerges: They’re mostly on the West Coast. Maybe it’s the West’s environmentally conscious culture, or maybe it’s something in the water, but of the five cities we found doing the best jobs diverting their discards from local landfills, all were on the Pacific Coast—and all but one in California.
That’s not to say that cities elsewhere aren’t doing important work to reduce their waste streams. But when you map those cities that reduce, compost, or recycle more than 65 percent of their trash, that map is heavily weighted to the left.
Some of the reason for California’s dominance is that the state has been mandating tough waste diversion quotas for a long time. A California law passed in 1989 required cities and counties to cut their landfill shipments in half by 2000; another law passed in 2011 upped that to 75 percent by 2020. So it’s no surprise that California's cities are ahead of the rest of the United States when it comes to diverting trash from landfills. They have to be: It’s the law.
San Francisco: 80 percent
(Photo: Robert Galbraith/Reuters)
San Francisco is the undisputed queen of recycling cities in the country, with an 80 percent success rate at keeping discards out of landfills as of 2013. That’s partly because of the heightened environmental awareness among San Franciscans. It’s also because the City by the Bay has spent the last decade instituting sweeping—and strict—rules about how its residents and businesses can discard items they no longer want.
Take, for example, the city’s 2007 ban on disposable plastic bags—the first in the nation, and subsequently followed by other cities and soon the entire state of California. The ban prompted more use of reusable shopping bags, cutting down on the amount of litter reaching local landfills—and local beaches.
Two years later, San Francisco made recycling and composting mandatory: residents, businesses, and events face fines if they put recyclables or compostables like food waste in regular trash instead of the proper curbside bins.
Bans and laws have made a difference, said Guillermo Rodriguez, policy director for San Francisco’s Department of the Environment, but he said the real secret to San Francisco’s waste reduction success is more intangible. “People like to poke fun at ‘San Francisco Values,’ ” said Rodriguez, “but the reason our program is so successful is that reaching Zero Waste has really become one of the core values of San Francisco.”
Los Angeles: 76.4 percent
(Photo: Fred Prouser/Reuters)
Los Angeles diverted more than three-quarters of its waste from landfills in 2012, according to a study published that year by the Bureau of Sanitation and the University of California, Los Angeles. That rate has almost certainly climbed since. For one thing, L.A. started phasing in its much-heralded plastic bag ban at the beginning of this year, with even disposable paper bags subject to a 10-cent charge. For another, the city has set an aggressive waste reduction goal of 90 percent by 2025, with Zero Waste as an ultimate goal.
That may surprise people who’ve been following environmental news in Southern California for a while. Los Angeles has a long-standing reputation for exporting its solid waste to a network of landfills scattered across California—and it’s deserved: In 2011, Los Angeles sent its trash to 26 landfills, ranging from the Bay Area to San Diego. But Angelenos have been getting on the stick. From 2005 through 2011, the amount of trash thrown out per day by the average L.A. resident dropped from 5.9 pounds to 4.2 pounds.
Los Angeles’ waste reduction strategy dovetails with its climate change strategy: The city is aggressively pursuing a number of waste-to-energy projects in which materials that can’t be composted or recycled are turned into biofuels for transportation and power generation. Mainly involving anaerobic digestion, fermentation, and similar methods, these waste-to-energy techs are a lot cleaner than old-school, 1990’s-era incinerators and offer a more carbon-neutral source of energy.
San Jose: 75 percent
(Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
The San Francisco Bay Area’s largest city has long been a bit of a recycling dark horse, with no real reputation as an eco-sensitive hotbed: San Jose has had trash reduction rates above 60 percent for the better part of the last decade. According to city staff, San Jose has met a goal the city council set in 2007 to divert 75 percent of its trash from landfills, putting it at number three on our list.
One of the programs San Jose expects to implement on its way to meeting its Zero Waste goal, set for 2022, is a “Clean Recyclables Cart” campaign to reduce recyclables' contamination. Under the program, waste haulers will note residences with consistently missorted recyclables and compostables. City staff will assess the situation, contact residents with educational material available in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese, and offer further help if needed.
Since 2009, San Jose’s innovative Zero Waste Events program has cut trash generated at conventions, fairs, and other public events by 81 percent, not only keeping those red party cups out of landfills, but also performing a crucial public education service for event-goers. Both the public and event organizers have taken up the challenge, with one popular venue setting up refilling stations for water bottles as an alternative to single-serving disposable bottles.
Portland: 70 percent
(Photo: George Rose/Getty Images)
OK, make your jokes about artisan compost and locally sourced food waste. The fact is, Oregon’s largest city has a success rate of keeping waste out of landfills that a few less easily stereotyped burgs would do well to emulate. In 2012 Portland kept 70 percent of its discards out of area landfills, and the diversion rate for households was an impressive 74 percent.
That’s especially noteworthy given that Portland’s waste managers have to coordinate recycling and source reduction programs among the 40 independent private haulers that handle curbside pickup of both recyclables and trash.
Bruce Walker, solid waste and recycling program manager for Portland’s Bureau of Planning & Sustainability, said that enthusiastic cooperation between the city and all those private haulers has been crucial, and he’s optimistic that Portland will meet its 2015 goal of 75 percent diversion.
But even with that teamwork, said Walker, Portland might not be the recycling star it is without its motivated populace. “Public support is absolutely critical,” he said. “You can have all the cooperation in the world between haulers and agencies, you can have all the infrastructure in the world, but without a public that’s enthusiastic about recycling and composting, where would you be?”
Someplace other than Portland, the answer would seem to be.
San Diego: 68 Percent  
(Photo: Education Images/Getty Images)
The West Coast’s southernmost big city is a respectable player in the waste diversion stats game: By 2012, San Diego was diverting 68 percent of its discards from landfills. City staff credit two factors for that high diversion rate—an aggressive construction and demolition debris recycling program, and a 2007 ordinance that requires almost everyone in San Diego to recycle. Only small businesses and apartment buildings generating less than four cubic yards of trash a week are exempted from the law—for now.
Those exemptions are likely to go away before long, as the city’s Environmental Services Department is in the process of crafting its Zero Waste plan, with a draft due in December. That plan will provide a roadmap for getting to the goals San Diego’s city council set in 2013 of 75 percent waste diversion by 2020, and Zero Waste by 2040.
Among San Diego’s most innovative initiatives is a large waste-composting program planned for the city’s popular “Miramar Greenery,” a composting facility on the site of the Miramar Landfill. So-called aerated static piles pump air into long composting windrows so that the material breaks down without anyone needing to turn the compost. That saves energy and expense, and similar systems can break wastes down into soil amendments in a month. San Diego expects to use the facility to process as much as 10,000 tons of green waste, and 20,000 tons of food waste, every year.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Chinese New Year Open House 19 Feb 2015 hosted by ICW President

Close to 200 members and supporters of Ipoh City Watch, friends and neighbors attended the Chinese New Year hosted by the President of ICW at his residence in Desa Tambun Indah on 19 Feb 2015.

It was a sort of gathering and fellowship for ICW especially for Watchaaers who only "met' via Whatsapp but have not met face-to-face. Guest of honor was YB Dato Samsudin Bin Abu Hassan who was also the Perak State Exco for Consumer Affairs, Human Resources and Civil Society. Also presence was Clr Dato Shamsuddin Bun Ghaffar,

It was a Chinese New celebration in the spirit of muhibbah with all races coming together. ICW is race blind watching over 750,000 rate payers to ensure that Ipoh becomes the most livable city in Malaysia.