Thursday, June 7, 2012

In need of burial grounds


SELANGOR is running low on burial grounds and some of the local councils are in the process of seeking more land to accommodate the need.

Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim who chaired a dialogue session with residents in Petaling Jaya on Tuesday night said there was a need to increase cemetery trust fund in the state to acquire suitable land for burial sites.

In March, Khalid announced the increase in rate from RM62.50 per lot to between RM300 and RM500, depending on the location of the residential lots to reflect the present land value.

“It is difficult for residents when they move into areas where there are no burial grounds. Then you have residents associations requesting for burial grounds to be built in the area,” he said.

He added that some developers would rather contribute to the burial trust fund than to offer land for burial grounds.

Eager to know: Residents signing up at the counter outside the hall before the dialogue session.
“We have to discuss this issue, it is not as simple as you think. We must let the residents know where the proposed areas are for future burial grounds.

“We do not want people to move into their homes and find that the lot next to them is a burial ground,” said Khalid while addressing the residents at the PJ Civic Hall.

In a report presented to the residents, Selangor Town and Country Planning Department (JPPD) deputy director Norasiah Bee Mohd Haniff said as of 2010 four councils — the Subang Municipal Council (MPSJ), Ampang Municipal Council (MPAJ), Selayang Municipal Council (MPS) and the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) did not have enough land for Muslim cemeteries.

She added that MBPJ was also one of the affected councils, when it came to burial grounds for non-Muslims, as most parts of the city had been taken up for development.

Mingling: Khalid (left) speaking to the residents after the dialogue session.
JPPD came up with two concepts to solve the issue — regional burial grounds and integrated burial grounds.

Norasiah said regional grounds meant development of burial grounds at a designated area that could accommodate the needs of several neighbouring local councils.

While integrated burial grounds is the development of cemeteries for all religions such as Islam, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism and others within the same area.

The identified spot would also see other facilities included such as crematoriums and columbariums.

She explained that all 11 local councils in the state would be divided into three zones; north, east and south.

MBPJ, MPSJ, Kuala Langat District Council (MDKL) and Sepang Municipal Council are listed under the south zone, where the proposed burial grounds for residents in these councils will be placed within the Sepang Municipal Council area.

Four spots have been identified and they are Lot 3366 in the Labu District , Lot 5756 in the Sepang District, a plot of land near the Rubber Research Institute Malaysia (RRIM) and the integrated burial ground in Hulu Langat.

A total area of 300.63ha has been identified as regional and integrated burial grounds for the state.

During the session, Section 6 RT chairman Rajesh Mansukhlal told Khalid that it was the responsibility of houseowners in the state to contribute to the cemetery trust fund and not those owning leasehold as freehold owners would be the one utilising the services in the future.

To this, Khalid said everyone had to pay the same fee regardless of whether they are leasehold or freehold houseowners.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Caring for the dead


LANDOWNERS have to now pay a higher contribution to the state’s cemetery trust fund.

Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim said this requirement was applicable to those seeking to transfer the ownership or convert the land use to residential or mixed development.

He said the fund was for the state government to acquire suitable land for burial sites.

He added that the old rate of RM62.50 per lot had been increased to either RM300 or RM500, depending on the locations of the residential lots to reflect the present land value.

“Previously, for residential development below 100ha, the contribution was RM62.50 per residential lot.

“However, the amount is too little compared with the current land value which increases every six months according to the Selangor Valuation and Property Services Department.

“Therefore, we are fixing RM500 for each residential lot in Petaling, Klang, Gombak, Hulu Langat, Sepang and Kuala Langat and RM300 for Kuala Selangor, Sabak Bernam and Hulu Selangor,” he said during the recent state assembly.

He said this in response to a question raised by Subang Jaya assemblyman Hannah Yeoh.

When met later, Yeoh said the question was asked based on the experience of Bukit Gasing residents, who were required to fork out RM500 for the fund when they wanted to renew their leasehold titles.

“They wanted to know what the money is used for.

“Some of them, especially non-Muslims, have already bought private burial plots, so they questioned the need for the contribution,” she said.

Yeoh said she would push for a meeting in Bukit Gasing for Khalid and the Land Office to explain the fund to the people.

“According to Khalid’s explanation, this contribution will be a long-term solution to the problem of insufficient cemeteries in the state.

“If the state government cannot afford to acquire land for cemeteries, it will be more expensive for the people to buy burial plots in the future,” she said.

Meanwhile, Khalid revealed that RM16.8mil had been collected for the fund as of December last year.
He added that all district land offices had been told to identify suitable sites that could be acquired under the Land Acquisition Act to be turned into cemeteries.

“The cost will be borne by the trust fund or relevant landowners or developers,” he said.

It was reported in 2003 that those owning 202ha of land or more must provide cemeteries for Muslims and non-Muslims in their development.

The then state executive councillor Datuk Mokhtar Dahalan was quoted as saying that those who could not do so had to provide alternative land, or contribute RM62.50 to the cemetery trust fund for each residential lot approved.

The fund will enable the government to buy land for cemeteries.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Protect Klang Gates Quartz Ridge and Selangor State Park from the proposed KL Outer Ring Road (KLORR)

To: The Malaysian Federal and Selangor State Government

We, the undersigned, are troubled by the proposal to align the Kuala Lumpur Outer Ring Road across the Klang Gates Quartz Ridge and through the Selangor State Park.

We would like to draw your attention to the following concerns.

The Klang Gates Quartz Ridge is a world-class geological monument that is internationally recognized for the size, scale and splendour of its quartz dyke - the longest in the world - and, if not disturbed any more, stands every chance to be declared a World Heritage Site. The site also harbours a unique vegetation with five species of plants that are found nowhere else in the world, and our endangered wild goat (serow).

The former state government gazetted nine forest reserves as the Selangor State Park in 2007 in recognition of the need to protect their immense natural heritage value for present and future generations.

The many rare and threatened plant and animal species found in these increasingly rare lower altitude forests attest to its value. They include the merawan kanching tree, the gaharu tree, the tiger and the Malayan tapir, and eight threatened species of birds.

The proposed expressway will fragment and disturb habitats making it more difficult for threatened plant species to propagate and for animal species to hunt and forage for food, and to mate. It will also lend poachers easy access to coveted wildlife. Poaching remains a serious threat to our endangered animals.

The forests also provide a vital ecosystem service by serving as a catchment for clean water, a critical resource which is already in short supply in the state. Building and maintaining road infrastructure in the catchment will contaminate and reduce our clean water supply.

Other important ecosystem services that we receive from the Park include flood mitigation, slope protection and landslide prevention, and the presence of landscapes of great aesthetic and spiritual value. A highway will diminish all of these services.

We believe that better planning of townships and choice of transport infrastructure can provide a holistic long-term solution to the overcrowded roads and traffic woes that constantly beset us.

We, therefore, appeal to you and the authorities to protect the Klang Gates Quartz Ridge and the Selangor State Park from the proposed expressway and all other threats.

If you'd like to sign the petition, you may do so here:

Friday, December 23, 2011

MBPJ to hire 98 new contractors for cleaning services

By Aida Ahmad

THE Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) will hire 98 new contractors for cleaning services next year.

Some 34 new officers will also be hired to monitor 77 zones in Petaling Jaya following an public outcry on the poor rubbish collection services in the city.

Petaling Jaya mayor Datuk Mohamad Roslan Sakiman said each officer would be in charge of four to five zones.

“We need look into hiring more labourers to collect rubbish since the local councils have taken over the duties from Alam Flora.

“Our biggest problem now is the lack of workers and monitoring,” Roslan told reporters after the MBPJ full board meeting.

“We are well aware of the problems now and will outsource or hiring more workers to do the job,” he said.

The council has taken over garbage collection as of Oct 16 from Alam Flora. Those with complaints can call the council’s hotline at 03-7954 2020, SMS to 33213 or e-mail

During the full board meeting, councillor and Petaling Jaya Selatan MP Hee Loy Sian raised the issue of rubbish collection.

“Residents in Section 18, 17, 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 in Petaling Jaya said the rubbish had not been collected for more than a week.

“Every time a wakil rakyat meets the grassroots we get bombarded by numerous complaints about the rubbish situation. The council needs to take action quickly,” said Hee.

Hee said there was also the problem of potholes especially along Jalan Universiti, Jalan Semangat and Jalan Utara.

“This is a problem that should be looked into. The authorities should not wait until it is close to the general election to do something about this,” he said.

On another issue, Roslan said the council would foot the outstanding electricity bill of RM188,000 for residents along Jalan PJS 1/52, who had been coping without streetlights for the past 10 months.

“We will pay the outstanding bill, for the sake of the well-being of the public and order the developer to reimburse the council later. In future, the council will be more stringent in ensuring the developers are trustworthy and reliable,” said Roslan.

During the meeting, councillors Derek Fernandez and Chan Chee Kong were opposed to the idea of footing the bill as it was the responsibility of the developer.

At the start of the meeting, the council offered its sympathy and condolences to the family of Bukit Gasing assemblyman Edward Lee Poh Lin who succumbed to colon cancer on Dec 20.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Appellate Court reinstates suit by three BN assemblymen against Selangor government

PUTRAJAYA: Three Barisan Nasional Selangor assemblymen succeeded in their appeal Friday to reinstate the civil suit that sought declaratory relief concerning the legality of the Selangor State Committee on Competency, Accountability and Transparency (Selcat).

A three-member Appellate Court panel, comprising justices Datuk Wira Low Hop Bing, Datuk Abdul Malik Ishak and Datuk Clement Allan Skinner, unanimously set aside the Shah Alam High Court's decision to strike out the suit filed by Sungai Air Tawar State Assemblyman Datuk Raja Ideris Raja Ahmad, Morib assemblyman Hasiman Sidom and Kuala Kubu Bharu assemblyman Wong Koon Mun.

Low, who chaired the panel, said the court was unable to agree with the High Court judge that their originating summons did not have sustainable cause of action.

The court ordered the suit be reinstated and remitted back to the High Court. The case would be heard and dispose off the merits before another High Court judge.

The assemblymen filed the originating summons naming Selcat chairman Teng Chang Kim, six Selcat members, namely Haniza Mohamed Talha, Mohamed Azmin Ali, Saari Sungib, Edward Lee Poh Lin, Sulaiman Abdul Razak and Ismail Sani, Selangor state assembly speaker, Selangor state assembly secretary and Selangor Government as defendants.

They filed the suit, seeking among others, a declaration that the formation of Selcat and/or its proceedings were null and void and had no effect, whatsoever.

The assemblymen also wanted the court to declare the committee was in breach of standing orders, state laws and federal constitution, and had acted in excess of its jurisdiction; and did not reflect the balance between the parties within the state assembly.

The High Court on March 22 had struck out the suit under Order 18, Rule 19 (1) (a) of the Rules of the High Court 1980 on grounds that it (the suit) disclosed no reasonable cause of action.

Lawyers Kamarul Hisham Kamaruddin and M. Athimulan represented the assemblymen while counsel Tommy Thomas represented the respondents. Bernama

Choo-chooing in for seventh year

IN A bid to spread light and warmth to the lives of the underprivileged, the charitable year-end project of Hilton Petaling Jaya — the Hilton Christmas Train — is returning for the seventh year.

Aiming to raise funds for the National Kidney Foundation of Malaysia (NKF) and to enable an educational trip to Aquaria KLCC with the children from Rumah Hope, the miniature train exhibit and icing setting will be showcasing at the hotel lobby from now until Jan 8, 2012.

Bukit Gasing assemblyman Edward Lee pulled the train lever during the launch which saw the attendance of NKF chief executive officer Chua Hong Wee, Rumah Hope chairman Jacob Mathew, Hilton Petaling Jaya business development director Manu Koshy, children from Rumah Hope and corporate sponsors. Apart from the Christmas carol sung by the children, the hotel engineering and pastry teams gave a short brief on the design concept to the guests and children.

It’s official: Lee (right) pulling the train lever with (from left) Manu, Chua and Mathew.

Staying true to the spirit of giving and caring during the festive season, the hotel has spearheaded this renowned Hilton tradition since 2004. Hilton Christmas Train brings together different parties by raising fund through offering advertising space on various wagons, hot air balloon and billboards and donation from diners to promote the cause and benefits to the community.

“We have received continuous support from various stakeholders such as corporate clients, suppliers, restaurant diners and the local community since our first Hilton Christmas Train. It’s a great opportunity for companies to play their role as responsible corporate citizen yet at the same time leverage on advertising mileage by having their company logo visibly branded on the train exhibit,” Manu said.

This year, the launch of the train is a significant moment for Hilton PJ because the train was constructed entirely in-house.

“We are proud to say that this is solely our very own year-end charity project as it is assembled completely by our engineering and pastry teams. It is amazingly incredible, magnificent and, in fact, better than expected. Despite its smaller scale compared to previous years when we outsourced experts and college students, the satisfaction gained when you see the smile on children’s face and compliment from guests are simply cannot be put into words,” said Manu.

The Hilton Christmas Train 2011 features a winter setting at the North European Village with royal icing mountains, royal icing tress as tall as 30 inches, traditional buildings made of gingerbread, bridges, billboards, tunnel and hot-air balloons. At least two locomotives that can pull up to six wagons each, 30 pieces of 4’ x 8’ plywood, 30m of wires, 500kg of icing sugar, 500kg of flour, 200kg of butter, 200kg of sugar, 50kg of ginger and 50kg of spices comprise the magnificent display.

Chugging through the winter wonderland is a series of G scale trains, 22 times smaller than the actual train. They will be passing through tunnels, steaming over bridge and stopping to take on more passengers at the little town station. The display covers a space of approximately 35sq m.

Besides obtaining support from corporate companies, the hotel will be running a fundraising campaign. Guests are invited to contribute through the donation boxes placed at the train exhibit and dining outlets.

More pictures here:

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Positive response at briefing

Writer: Gan Pei Ling

PETALING JAYA: Homeowners unsure of how to extend their 99-year leases were delighted to be able to renew titles during a briefing and registration exercise on Tuesday.

Lee, 60, told Selangor Times she came from Perak to renew the lease for her mother’s house in Section 1, Petaling Jaya.

“The lease is expiring in 12 years’ time, of course I must take advantage of this good opportunity to renew it,” the homemaker said.

Azizah Rashid, 52, complimented the authorities for organising the public briefing at the Arena Sports Complex as the new Petaling District Office in Shah Alam U5 is out of the way.

“This is much more convenient for us,” said the home- maker, who owns a house in Section 3, Petaling Jaya with her husband.

She found out about the registration exercise via a flyer distributed in her housing area as this Private Residential Ownership Scheme initiated by Selangor was not widely reported in the mainstream press. Under the scheme, property owners can opt to pay RM1,000 instead of the full premium to extend their leasehold titles, and are only required to pay the remaining premium when they sell or transfer their properties.

This is to encourage private residential owners to keep their properties.

Alternatively, owners can choose to pay the full premium within six months of their application approval and receive a 30% discount.

Petaling chief assistant district officer Yahaya Hassan said property owners can find out whether their applications are approved after a month.

“After we receive their applications, the Department of Land Evaluation will determine the premium based on the land’s market price,” said Yahaya.

He added that a similar registration exercise had been conducted last week on Sept 21 and 22 at the same venue, which attracted a few hundred people to inquire about the scheme, and 80 applications for lease extension.

The public briefing-cum-registration exercises were organised by the Petaling District Office and the offices of Bukit Gasing assembly person Edward Lee and Taman Medan assembly person Hanizah Talha.

Hanizah said they plan to organise it again next month on a weekend for the public’s convenience.