Substation too close for comfort

Source: the Star July 21st

SOME 120 residents in Ara Impian and Ara Idaman protested against the development of a main substation in Jalan PJU1A/19 Ara Damansara, Petaling Jaya recently.

Their concerns about the Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) substation included noise and sound pollution, health fears over possible radiation exposure and a drop in property values.

Some of the residents said they were not aware that a main substation would be built in the area when they bought their houses 10 to 15 years ago.

The Ara Impian Residents Association (AIRA), representing its residents, have written to the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) since 2013 to voice their displeasure.

Despite the residents’ objections, AIRA chairman Jonathan Bong said TNB had organised a meeting on April 3 and announced that it had received a development order (DO) for construction works from the council.

However, the RA’s requests to view the DO from MBPJ and TNB have been fruitless.

Bong wants MBPJ to issue stop-work order to TNB and its contractors and to work with TNB to identify a more suitable site for the substation.

“There is only one access road to this neighbourhood,” said Bong, adding that there were 385 houses in Ara Impian and more than 400 houses in Ara Idaman.

Their other grounds of objection include increased traffic congestion and inconvenience to residents should the road be used to facilitate construction works.

Bong added that while they understood the need to upgrade the power supply in view of new developments in the vicinity, the residents could not accept that the substation needed to be constructed in the middle of a residential area.

Residents are also unhappy that hoarding has been installed around the project site without any signboards to inform the public about the project.

Bong said that they had also written a letter of objection to the office of Selangor Menteri Besar Azmin Ali but had not received a response to date and expressed disappointment with their councillor, TNB and the council.

Ara Idaman Residents Association pro-tem chairman Albert Lau said that they had been working in tandem with AIRA.

“As far as we are concerned, we do not want it around,” he said.

“In any development taking place anywhere, the views of the people or residents must be obtained,” said Kota Damansara assemblyman Halimaton Saadiah Bohan, who was also present.

“In this case, the residents are voicing several concerns including possible risks to their health, so I think that the state government or council must take an initiative to do the necessary research before allowing any developments to take place,” she said, adding that the safety, health and comfort of residents can be affected.

Halimaton added that if for certain reasons, MBPJ does not take action, she will take action through the state government.

When contacted, MBPJ councillor in charge of the area Suriase Gengiah said the land had been gazetted for TNB.

Suriase added that residents can visit the Petaling District Land Office to view the DO while the council should not be blamed for the development as the land belonged to TNB.

“It is important to supply power to the area as it is a developing one,” he said, adding that there are many developments coming up, including condominiums.

He added that he was looking into the concerns of residents and was in the midst of collecting more information from MBPJ’s Planning Development Department about the project and expected to obtain it after the Hari Raya festivities.

In an email response, TNB corporate affairs and communications senior general manager Datuk Mohd Aminuddin Mohd Amin said TNB had received the DO from MBPJ in Nov 2014 and subsequently, a Building Plan for the main substation (PMU) in March 2015.

“The DO has been shown during a briefing to residents on April 3,” he said, adding that based on MBPJ’s advise, copies of the DO were not released.

“Only MBPJ has the authority to release the copies to anyone.

“We were allocated 1.2ha of land and only this area was identified in the development plan,” said Mohd Aminuddin, adding that the residents were fully aware of the substation’s construction through numerous briefings held by TNB.

“Currently, the preliminary works being carried out include installation of hoarding and initial groundwork to properly install the project signboard by July 30, 2015.

“No major significant works will commence until all the requirements set by MBPJ are fulfilled and the construction is being done in accordance with conditions set by MBPJ as per the issued DO, which addresses noise and pollution,” he said.

He added that the electromagnetic field (EMF) measurements was at a safe limit for human exposure as indicated by the World Health Organization (WHO) while four dialogues were held with residents concerning these matters between 2013 and 2015.

“During the construction, the access will be through TNB’s existing right of way which has been approved by the Forestry Department.”

Mohd Aminuddin said that residents’ access road to the neighbourhood will not be used during the construction stage and will not cause any constraints or inconvenience to them.

“The land was given in 1997 by the developer of this residential area as a site for a substation which was finally endorsed and gazetted by the state.

“There is a very urgent need to build the substation due to the increasing electricity supply demand at Ara Damansara,” he said, adding that power supply to the area was presently “borrowed” through cables from substations located outside the Ara Damansara vicinity.

“These substations have reached maximum supplying limit to cater to their own surrounding areas.

“As such, the existing electricity supply needs to be diverted and reconnected to the customers surrounding these substations.

“In order to ensure residents of Ara Damansara receive reliable power supply without experiencing blackouts or shortages, the development of this substation is highly critical,” he said.

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Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri

We wish our Muslim residents Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri. May this occasion be a happy one for you and your family.
Do drive safely if you are going out of town.

We wish all other residents happy holidays and enjoy the long weekend break.

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A poisoned pond

The ponds at the park bordering Ara Vista and Ara Impian are in a deplorable state. These water retention ponds are designed to prevent flooding when during a heavy down pour, the sudden surge of water often overwhelm the existing network of drains. With some of the drains feeding into them, the ponds are able to temporarily expand in size raising the water level by several inches and sometimes as much as a foot. Once the storm has passed, the ponds take their time to drain the water out at their own pace.

There are actually 3 sections of the retention ponds at the park. The upper pond is located at the park near Ara Hill where a monsoon drain feeds into it. The middle pond separates the semi-Ds and Calarosa’s double-storeyed linked houses with a second monsoon drain feed. The middle pond then feeds into another pond which is at a much lower elevation. A bridge serves as the demarkation point between these two ponds.

The ponds are currently not well maintained and the uncontrolled growth of weeds has created a very ugly sight. On the flip side, the ponds are home to many schools of fishes. The most common is ikan Tilapia but ikan Haruan can also found. In the evenings, a number of anglers can be seen trying their luck and a couple of times, they got away with the rare ikan Haruan.

Over the last weekend, it was a pity sight though. Dozens of fishes were found belly up floating in the ponds. They were of different sizes, both large and small.

What caused their death? Was something toxic in the water? Did someone intentionally, accidentally or unknowingly pour something toxic in the drains? Surprisingly though, some other species survived! Dozens of them can be seen especially near the monsoon drain at the middle pond. The species that survived are black or grey in colour whilst those who died were the silver ones.

The rain in the late afternoon will help. Whatever toxicity in the water, hopefully will be diluted by the rain and the species that survived will continue to thrive.

Good luck, survivors!

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Some residents sceptical over new initiative

Source: the Star Mar 26

DESPITE Petaling Jaya City Council’s (MBPJ) initiative to make public complaints more transparent through the use of Facebook, some resident leaders are sceptical over this new system.

Though they welcome this new effort, they rather stick to their existing complaint system which is via the WhatsApp group chat on their smartphones.

Consisting of residents, cleaning contractors and MBPJ supervisors, this simple group chat platform is more interactive and the response to complaints is prompt.

“I seldom check Facebook so I do not think I will end up using it.

“I am very happy and comfort-able with our WhatsApp group chat,” said Section 6 Kota Damansara Residents Association representative Al Padzul Abu Hassan.

With their group chat, all residents have to do is alert their cleaning contractors to a problem and it will get tended to immediately.

“Last Saturday, I made a complaint in the group about uncollected rubbish outside my house and it was collected in under two hours.

“If the complaint was made via the Aduan MBPJ’s Facebook page, I would have to wait for a while longer,” he said.

“This is because it will take about an hour for the official complaint number to be given after a complaint is lodged, and execution will take between four hours and a week,” he pointed out.

Using a similar complaint platform is Ara Idaman Protem Committee chairman Albert Lau, who said contractors in Ara Damansara were very active on the group chat.

“The MBPJ supervisor introduced the contractors to all residents and then formed the group chat for us to lodge complaints.

“I think this is a more effective way than Facebook. I have nothing against the Facebook complaints system but frankly there are better methods which can be put in place,” he said.

He added that an effective complaint system would be to have more proactive people on the ground engaging with residents.

Section 5 Residents Association president Mohamed Rafiq is also sceptical if this new method would work.

“We have been promised a better complaint system numerous times over the years but it is still the same.

“I do not see how this can be different unless the internal staff are monitored and managed properly,” he said.

He is worried that this Facebook complaints page would end up the same as the older systems, where there was absolutely no progress after a complaint number was issued.

Rafiq urged MBPJ to come up with proper service standards and an intelligent computer system in place.

“This service standard should be applied to all complaints and help ensure they are tended to and completed within the specific time frame.

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Boom gates in residential areas legal, rules Federal Court

Source: the Star Mar 26

PUTRAJAYA: The Federal Court has ruled that the use of boom gates across public roads and guardhouses in residential areas is legal.

A five-member panel, chaired by Chief Judge of Malaya Tan Sri Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin, said regulated access to a defined area was not an obstruction in law, particularly if it was for security purposes.

“It is so only if one is denied access to a public place. It is not a barricade that is placed across a public road that denies access altogether to all who wish to enter,” said Justice Zulkefli in his 18-page judgment delivered on March 19.

He said guardhouses and boom gates were authorised structures under the Town and Country Planning Act 1976, the Street, Drainage and Building Act 1974 as well as the Local Government Act 1976.

“It cannot be disputed that guarded communities are schemes implemented to improve public safety and security in defined residential areas,” he said.

The panel dismissed an appeal brought by Au Kean Hoe, a resident of the D’Villa Equestrian housing estate in Kota Damansara, Petaling Jaya, Selangor, who had commenced legal action against the D’Villa Equestrian Residents’ Association.

Au claimed that the guardhouse and two boom gates built in the housing estate ought to be demolished because they were illegal structures, a nuisance and amounted to an obstruction.

Justice Zulkefli said the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ), as the relevant local authority in the present case, was fully empowered to approve the guardhouse with the boom gates in accordance with MBPJ guidelines for guarded communities issued by the Urban Planning Department in May 2011.

He said the developer of the housing estate obtained approval from MBPJ for the construction of the guardhouse.

Justice Zulkefli said both the High Court and the Court of Appeal had correctly concluded that Au’s claim of inconvenience caused by the presence of the guardhouse and boom gates was not an actionable nuisance.

In Aug 2010, Au ceased to be a member of the residents’ association of the housing estate and stopped paying maintenance and security charges of RM250 per month, which was later reduced to RM200.

Au lodged a police report and an online complaint on the MBPJ website after the association issued a circular on Oct 25, 2011, notifying residents that those who had not paid the security and maintenance charges would have to open the boom gates themselves without the assistance of the security guard on duty.

He subsequently commenced legal action on the grounds of nuisance while the association made a counter claim for arrears of security and maintenance charges and also sought an injunction order to restrain him from harassing the association and the security guards at the guardhouse.

The High Court dismissed Au’s claim but allowed the association’s counter-claim and issued the injunction order. Au lost his appeal in the Court of Appeal.

Au was represented by a team of lawyers led by Datuk Malik Imtiaz Sarwar while the association was represented by a team of lawyers led by Datuk Dr Cyrus Das.

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Mugged, beaten and bruised

Source: the Star Mar 23

PETALING JAYA: Three friends were mugged and one severely beaten by four robbers armed with taser guns and motorcycle locks after their car broke down in Ara Damansara.

Although they shouted for help, passing motorists merely slowed down to look before driving off.

One of the victims, Fiqa Liyana Chong, 25, said their car stalled after they drove out of a shopping centre after supper early Saturday morning.

She stayed in the car while her two male friends, aged 28 and 30, waited outside for a tow truck.

At about 3am, four men wearing motorcycle helmets rode up, threatening them with taser guns and swinging motorcycle locks.

“It all happened very fast. We emptied our pockets and gave them our phones and wallets.

“I managed to hide my phone under the car seat,” Chong said, adding that she ran out of the car when one robber tried to harm her.

“A car passed us and my friend asked for help. But they just looked and drove away.

“He shouted to three or four cars but no one came to help,” she said, adding that one of the robbers used a motorcycle lock to hit her friend on the head and left hand.

She said the suspects grew scared and rode off after a car finally made a turn back to help them.

Chong said her friend required 17 stitches.

Petaling Jaya OCPD Asst Comm Azmi Abu Kassim confirmed the reports, saying that police were trying to identify the suspects.

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Ara Damansara residents hold joyful CNY do

Source: the Star Mar 10

RAIN failed to put a damper on Chinese New Year (CNY) celebrations at Ara Damansara’s Alissia and Atilia housing development projects. There was a large turnout of over 400 for the event which was organised by the residents association (RA).

The evening started with a traditional lion dance performance, followed by a buffet dinner and a 20-minute fireworks display at the central playground along Jalan PJU 1A/1H to round off the evening. Children were happily seen enjoying snacks at the popcorn and ice-cream stand.

RA chairman Theodore Tan said the CNY celebration, held annually, was a way of giving back to residents.

“We started organising this six years ago, a couple of years after the RA was officially launched. Any surplus from the RA subscription fees goes to the celebration.”

“Some members sponsored the fireworks,” said Tan, who has served as chairman since its founding.

This year, he said, the turnout was slightly lower, which he attributed to the poor weather.

Mahendra Mohan said he enjoyed attending the CNY do with his wife and newborn.

“Events like these help us get to know our neighbours better,” Mahendra said.

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Accident near Maisson

There was an accident along Jalan 1A/3 near Maisson Ara Damansara at around 11am today. A man with dark skin was seen lying in the middle of the road and motionless. A small crowd has gathered around the site and two police car were parked nearby.

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Nasty accident at Damansara Idaman

Another notorious junction where probably someone was trying to beat the red light. This happened around noon yesterday.

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Happy Chinese New Year

2015 is the year of the Goat. People born in a year of the Goat are generally believed to be gentle mild-mannered, shy, stable, sympathetic, amicable, and brimming with a strong sense of kindheartedness and justice.

They have very delicate thoughts, strong creativity, and perseverance, and acquire professional skills well. Although they look gentle on the surface, they are tough on the inside, always insisting on their own opinions in their minds. They have strong inner resilience and excellent defensive instincts.

Though they prefer to be in groups, they do not want to be the center of attention. They are reserved and quiet, most likely because they like spending much time in their thoughts. Goats like to spend money on fashionable things that give them a first class appearance. Although goats enjoy spending money on the finer things in life, they are not snobbish.

We wish all residents and friends Happy Chinese New Year. May this year of the Goat brings you luck, happiness and success.

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