Residents of Saujana Puchong were relieved to hear that a contentious plan to build a cemetery on an Ayer Hitam Forest Reserve plot was shelved. Instead the plot was officially gazetted as part of the forest reserve.
The endorsement was signed two days ago by Selangor clerk Mohamad Yasid Bidin declaring the 55 acres of land in front of Jalan SP 10/1A as an “extension” of Ayer Hitam Forest Reserve under section 7 of the National Forestry Act 1984.
At a press conference at the site today, Kinara assemblyperson Teresa Kok pointed out signage that designated the plot as part of the forest reserve, which was built on the site following the decision.
“Gobind and I have promised to help the residents when we ran for election in 2008. The process took us some time but we are glad that we finally gazetted it,” she said.
The previous BN state government had designated the area as a cemetery in 2001, allocating 55 acres of land in Ayer Hitam and later including it into the MPSJ draft plan in 2007.
The residents protested the move. They claimed a cemetery with close proximity to their homes would inconvenience them.
Residents to drop court case
United Puchong Resident Association chairman Chik Chum welcomed the revocation, said it is “good news after much delay”.
“We did not agree with the plan because (this) is a residential area,”
Saujana Puchong Signature Campaign Teamwork (STC) chairman Lee Wai Hong said he will wait until the formal documents are released to drop the court case against the Selangor government.
“We brought them to court in 2004. Maybe we can reach an out-of-court settlement now,” he said.
When asked whether they will continually demand for a road to Equine Park, Lee said it is up to the government.
“The road was promised by Saujana developer Talam. We were cheated by Talam not state government,” Lee said.
“Lesson learnt” in zoning cemetery
Teresa said the intention to build a cemetery at Petaling district was practical, but poor planning and coordination skewered the move.
“The town planning is such that every district must have a cemetery. So when they drafted the Petaling development plan 20 years ago, they should have gazetted it as cemetery land.
“With this, developers and house buyers would be informed and avoided such areas.
“But they only approved the conversion of land in 2002. Residents who had already bought a house (or) lived there would of course not be happy,” said the assemblyperson.
She said the case which caused a six-year protest among residents is a “lesson learnt” for the Selangor Pakatan government.
“We brought up the issue many times in exco meetings. Selangor really needs more cemeteries and we are finding a replacement for (Saujana Puchong), probably somewhere in Sepang.
“We will do proper zoning and notify the people earlier.”