The Selangor MCA Public Complaints Bureau today called on the state government to immediately implement the federal government’s gated and guarded community guidelines at state level to protect citizens.
Its bureau chief, Theng Book, said the recent Kepong tragedy involving a woman and her daughter who perished in a fire because their gated neighbourhood scheme delayed firemen from rescuing them again highlighted the need to introduce such guidelines.
“The residents associations who implement such schemes now do not have a [separate] legal entity to lean on,” he said.
“For instance, if the family of the Kepong fire victims want to sue their residents association, its chairman, secretary and treasurer will be prosecuted in their personal capacity,”
“But if the state follows federal procedures and enforces the guidelines, everyone will be protected,” he claimed.
He chided the state for not having formulated security guidelines for residents to comply with.
“According to the federal guidelines, residents are not supposed to implement a scheme in areas where there is a school or public park, nor should they erect permanent structures.
“But all these have been done without proper regulation,” he said.
He added that the state is trying to please everybody by requiring residents associations to get the consent of 85 percent of the neighbourhood residents before a ‘gated and guarded’ plan can be implemented. The new federal guidelines state a simple majority of 51 percent.
Liu: no way to legalise the scheme
The Selangor exco member in charge of local housing and government, Ronnie Liu, when contacted, refuted the MCA’s claim that the gazetting of the federal’s guidelines will safeguard community leaders from legal action.
He said the federal government did not amend the Street, Drainage and Building Act 1974 prior to coming up with the guidelines.
“Even though we endorse the guidelines, it still does not legalise the use of drums to block roads in every scheme.
“Hence, residents’ association leaders still can be sued,” he claimed.
Liu said the state has introduced a set of guidelines which bears similarities with the federal ones.
Lie (left) however stressed that regular enforcement has been carried out by local authorities from time to time to ensure these permanent structures are dismantled.
He also explained that an 85 percent consent from residents before setting up a gated scheme can help to sustain the scheme.
“If you only have 51 percent consent, who knows someone is going to drop the scheme later? The scheme will lose subscribers easily,”
“A higher consent rate among residents will translate into fewer disputes among the community about the viability of such a scheme,” he added.