KLSP2040 gazetted but people’s recommendations not included

Letter to Editor

THE Kuala Lumpur Residents Action for Sustainable Development Association (KLRA+SD) is very concerned about the way the Kuala Lumpur Structure Plan 2040 (KLSP2040) was pushed through by the authorities as reported by the press recently.

According to an MP, “DBKL had fulfilled its obligations by engaging with MPs and NGOs as directed by the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.”

However, the objections from Save KL and from KLRA+SD are not about whether DBKL has fulfilled its obligations.

Civil society organisations gave feedback because we are concerned about some serious issues that affect the development of KL and the wellbeing of all citizens. For example, despite the frequent landslides and flash floods, there appears to be no attempt to stop hillside developments, destruction of green lungs or the approval of indiscriminate development projects in KL.

When public engagement sessions were conducted, we expected DBKL to be sincere and to handle feedback professionally.

Citizens, as the primary stakeholders, deserve to be told why their feedback is not incorporated into the final plan. It is not acceptable for Anwar’s aide Azman Abidin to say that “DBKL is following the rules”, and “we cannot please everyone”.

The public engagement exercise should not be viewed as an attempt to please any party. It should be a two-way process whereby concerned citizens are given valid and cogent reasons why their suggestions are not incorporated into the plan.

In particular, since Azman said, “Some objections were rejected after considering the importance of development in Kuala Lumpur,” it would be incumbent upon DBKL to inform us what those important development-related considerations are.

It is unacceptable for a democratic government to simply claim the importance of their so-called development plans without giving any facts to support that claim.

Indeed, to say that they have considered the people’s feedback without proper evidence of that amounts to lip service only. Independent professionals, with their wealth of expertise, have raised valid concerns encompassing urban planning, environmental sustainability, and the overall impact of KLSP2040 on the city’s landscape and sustainability.

Unfortunately, these concerns have not been taken into consideration and are not reflected in the recently gazetted KLSP2040.


(Photo credit: The Star)


In view of the written responses provided to DBKL by KLRA+ (which consist of 150 detailed recommendations) during and after the six public engagement sessions from May 18 to June 26, 2023, DBKL should have the courtesy of providing feedback to us.

One of the most glaring examples of DBKL ignoring feedback is how the gazetted plan sidesteps the recommendation by KLRA+ regarding development on hillslopes where the land consists of Class III and Class IV slopes.

Indeed, the previous KL Structure Plan (KLSP2020) specifically states, “CHKL shall not permit development on hillside with slope that exceeds the allowable level, rules and regulations set by the Federal Government.”

Further, the 2010 planning guidelines for hillslope and highland area development issued by the Ministry of Housing and

Local Government government has explicit restrictions on Class III slopes and a complete prohibition on housing development on Class IV slopes. However, the criteria in schedule M6.8 of the gazetted KLSP2040 flout both the KLSP2020 and the above Ministry guidelines.

Moreover, in light of increasingly frequent landslides and flash floods, KLRA+ had requested DBKL to include a requirement for EIA reports to be submitted for proposed developments on all hillslopes and highland areas, regardless of land size, in line with the Environmental Quality Order (Prescribed Activities) (Environmental Impact Assessment) Order 2015. This was also ignored by DBKL.

Another omission by DBKL is the recommendation by KLRA+ to establish a working committee or task force that is inclusive and transparent (with representation from DBKL, elected KL MPs, residents associations, civil society members and professional bodies) to track the implementation, progress and achievement of KLSP2040.

This is an important mechanism so that any deviations or problems in implementation can be detected early with a view to finding solutions and making this plan successful.

The implementation of a structure plan entails the drafting and adoption of a local plan based on the relevant structure plan. In light of previous experience with the implementation of KLSP2020 and the disputed gazettement of the KL City Plan 2020, this recommendation by KLRA+ is highly pertinent.

KLRA+ also recommended that DBKL establish an effective and efficient feedback system with an audit trail function to ensure transparency and accountability so that ratepayers and citizens are assured that DBKL staff will act on and resolve complaints and feedback in a transparent, traceable and timely manner. This was also ignored by DBKL.

From the way the KLSP2040 is pushed through, it appears that the Madani government is not really committed to transparency and accountability. This is why citizens are increasingly demanding local government elections, especially for Kuala Lumpur, which is the most important city in our nation.

If the government is sincere and committed to democracy, they must acknowledge that planning must be done collaboratively, respect the concerns and aspirations of ratepayers and residents, and provide reasons and/or explanations as to why the people’s recommendations are not included in the final plan.

DBKL should not just look at physical aspects of development. The recommendations for processes and mechanisms for public engagement and accountability to be included in the KLSP2040 are equally important and should be included in any structure plan because proper implementation depends on adequate monitoring as well as effective check-and-balance mechanisms.

Therefore, it is crucial for the successful implementation of this plan for DBKL to establish a working committee or task force as mentioned above. Kuala Lumpur citizens should be given effective access to information and channels to ensure there are no deviations from the plan.

The Kuala Lumpur Structure Plan 2040 has the potential to shape Kuala Lumpur into a vibrant, sustainable, and inclusive city.

To realise this vision, it is imperative that the authorities actively listen and respond to the concerns of the community, including valuable input from independent professionals.

We stand ready to collaborate and work towards a shared future where the aspirations embodied in the KLSP2040 align with the values and expectations of the people it seeks to serve. – Nov 29, 2023


Kuala Lumpur Residents Action for Sustainable Development Association (KLRA+SD) is a registered NGO that advocates for a sustainable and liveable Kuala Lumpur by providing a platform for KL-lites to act collectively.

The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.


Main photo credit: NST

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