By Nuraina Samad
(The Mole - October 9, 2017)
NO mincing of words here — the Petaling Jaya City Council’s directive to the Jalan 16/7 Residents Association to remove their security posts is unjustified and shows the council (MBPJ) to be uncaring and heartless.
Here’s why. The security post was installed at the top end of Jalan 16/7 four years ago to protect the safety and security of residents living along Jalan 16/7, lorong 16/7A, 7B and 7C. There had been a spate of violent snatch thefts and armed burglaries in the neighbourhood during a stretch prior to that.
There are 39 houses in the neighbourhood which is one of the oldest in Petaling Jaya. Jalan 16/7 is part of Section 16 that stretches from the area bordering Universiti Malaya (the other side of Jalan Dato Abu Bakar or Jalan 16/1) to Jalan 16/7 and including the hilly area behind Phileo Damansara. The roads are named old-school style – numerical with an alphabet to denote lanes or cul-de-sacs – from Jalan 16/1 to 16/20.
Most of the houses in Section16 are double-storey detached. Section 16 opened in the early 60s with the first few detached houses built in the area across from SMK Sultan Abdul Samad and behind Masjid Kolej Islam, both located along Jalan University.
Like most other parts of Section 16, the neighbourhood of 16/7 comprise senior citizens most of whom are retirees and former senior civil servants. They are long-time residents, some having lived in the area since the late 60s.
So, imagine when some of them became victims of armed burglaries and robberies. They understood that there was just so much the police could do. So, they decided to meet to discuss a course of action to protect their safety and security.
A committee was formed and a decision to install a small gate at one end of Jalan 16/7 and a security post at the other that would be in operation from midnight to 6am.
The process took about a year with residents meeting representatives of the local police and MBPJ for approval and the district land office to obtain a TOL for the area on which the security post would be installed.
More than 80 per cent of residents consented to the security installation.
So, for four years, there was peace. No sleepless nights. Residents felt reassured of their safety.
And then one day on Oct 3, the residents committee received that contentious directive from MBPJ. No prior notice. No decency at all.
It seems a set of new guidelines on security for residential areas has been enforced and Jalan 16/7 security installation is in violation of these guidelines. The council’s letter to the committee stated that the security post at Jalan 16/7 is on reserved drainage site and that the security installed is for a “micro guarded community”.
Shouldn’t the MBPJ have engaged the committee to discuss an alternative plan whatever it may be? None whatsoever. It’s just wham bam and take it down.
Should the the guidelines not have a retrospective effect on Jalan 16/7 security installation? Besides, these are guidelines. They are not the law.
And then the residents committee was reminded of a complaint a newbie neighbour had made a few months ago against the security post that he described to be an “eyesore” that was built too close to the gate of his house.
It is understood that in response, the committee pointed out to this newbie that the original location of the gate of his home is on Jalan 16/6. The original homeowner had relocated the gate to face Jalan 16/7.
It is not certain whether or not that complaint had anything to do with council’s decision.
The residents had gone through a tedious process of making sure everything was done lawfully. They hold a Temporary Occupation Licence (TOL) for the itsy bitsy site on which the security post stands. The MBPJ, of course, can legally take down the post. But what does it say of a council that would do that without engaging the residents. And on an issue of security and safety to boot?
As for the MBPJ’s contention of a “micro guarded community” — this is where the council officers should “turun padang” and inspect the area. A macro security to serve the larger community of Section16 is simply impractical and in fact, impossibles because of the location of Jalan 16/7. Because of the physical lay-out of Section 16 itself. It is an old area not meant to be a massive guarded community. The roads and lanes are narrow except for the main road that is Jalan 16/6 that connects Jalan Dato Abu Bakar to Jalan 17/1.
Logically and this is no rocket science – why would residents in, say Jalan 16/20 that is on the hilly side of section 16 way the other side, need to give their consent to a security installation for residents in Jalan 16/7?
You see, much can be achieved in an engagement, in discussions between MBPJ and the residents. Surely.
Clearly, MBPJ’s decision was rash, unjustified and smacked of arrogance and a show of might and bully.
On Friday, the residents held a meeting in the presence of Bukit Gasing assemblyman Rajiv Rishyakaran who told them that the security post will remain where it is pending a decision by the MBPJ.
The Jalan 16/7 residents are retired senior citizens who, it should be mentioned, decided to not take up the government allocation of RM10,00 for RAs to set up security features because they figured – “just a post and a gate and a monthly fee for our safety, for us all to have restful sleep and let that allocation be for another RA that may really need it.”
They had asked for very little from MBPJ – just a consideration for their safety and security.
The MBPJ saw it fit to take away that sense of safety that they had enjoyed the past four years. The MBPJ had clearly shown that they care not for the safety nor the welfare of these residents.
Or had the MBPJ been negligent in issuing their directive. Or did they bungle?
So, straight to the point. A heartless bullying council that has no interest of this community at heart.