Gated or Guarded Communities. News articles in the Star yesterday

tigermania's picture

I am upset when I read articles like these (the Star yesterday) and see communities trying to do something about their own security but are facing opposition. Nothing wrong with wanting to feel safe. Then I look at ourselves the Puchong Hartamas community, and I see we already have a perimeter wall and a guard house (albeit ill-located). Yet, some of us refuse to take security into our own hands and continue to whine about being cheated. Two wrongs do not make one right and cutting our nose to spite our face is not the way forward.

Please read:

TTDI residents wrangle over gated concerns

A tug of war is brewing in the posh neighbourhood of Taman Tun Dr Ismail (TTDI) as one group is out to create a gated and guarded community while the other disagrees.

The TTDI Facebook page, its Google group and the local media has been abuzz with debates on the pros and cons of the guarded community concept.

A few months ago, a young man was held at knifepoint for a mere RM12 and a handphone. The five thugs on two motorcycles sped off within minutes and that was the last straw for the youth’s father Mohd Hatim Abdullah, the project co-ordinator of the TTDI guarded community committee.

Keeping an eye out: The guards in TTDI are equipped with motorcycles to patrol the area as well.

According to him, there were 60 cases of robberies and snatch thefts a month within the TTDI neighbourhood alone.

“A group of us decided to approach the resident’s association to set up the guarded community but we were told we could do it only if we do so for the whole of TTDI,” he said.

Initially, their plan was to set up the guarded community at high-risk areas like Rahim Kajai and Jalan Aminuddin Baki.

The response at Jalan Rahim Kajai was good but the rest of the TTDI residents were not in favour of the idea, although residents of Jalan Aminuddin Baki did join in later.

The group first put up barriers on Aug 16 but, three weeks later, were told to remove them by the police.

They were given verbal consent to go ahead as long as the guards only monitored cars driving in and out.

On Sept 15, the committee and the TTDI RA were called for a meeting with the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) to resolve the issue.

“We were told to write in with the proper planning and we hope to get a good boom gate to watch the cars,” Hatim said.

The RA and Hatim’s committee were told to get at least 85% support from the residents before putting up the barricades.

For now Lorong 5, 6, 3 and 2 of Rahim Kajai are monitored while Lorong 5 is blocked by barrels as the road is the common path used by snatch thefts to escape.

Hatim said once approval was given, it would allow the guards to stop cars and see the faces of the drivers before allowing them to proceed.

The residents have been given car stickers and the rate is RM50 a month to pay the guards.

From 10pm onwards, the two lanes are narrowed into one lane as not many cars pass through the road and at 6am the roads are opened as usual.

“Since we implemented the system, there have been no cases of crime but the people are still not convinced,” Hatim claimed.

The committee is also planning on providing different coloured stickers for those who are residents but are not paying for the services.

The stickers would allow them to move in and out of the area without being stopped.

Hatim added that when snatch thefts occur, neighbours and friends may witness the incident but they are too afraid to come out and help.

One of the residents who is against the guarded community said crime prevention was a task for the police and not the residents.

“You cannot barricade a road, it is against the law, people can take you to court and you would lose,” said the resident who declined to be named.

He added that in the case of safety, residents could place a guard inside their houses as it private property but placing them on the roads was not going to help.

The concerned resident added that if the guarded community porject goes on, within a few years all the streets would be crawling with security guards.

“These guards and their companies may turn out to be the villains if the demand for guards dwindles as the situation improves.

“They might start harassing the residents or resort to crime to secure their positions,” he said.

He believed the robbers were smart enough to figure out another way to start committing crimes again in spite of the added security.

He also said that if they do get the 85% approval from residents, the committee would have to inform the general public as well.

“They do not like others breaking the law but they themselves are breaking the law now, they should think about it,” he added.

The resident said instead of closing some of the smaller roads, they should consider monitoring the main entry points leading into the neighbourhood.

Another worrying issue for the resident was that the guards all seemed to be foreign workers.

TTDI RA president Datuk Abdul Latif Mohd Som commended the efforts of the residents but he was wary of the legal implications.

“In light of the increasing crime rate, beefing up security is definitely good but I feel that it is a job for the DBKL and the police,” he said.

He added that under the law, residents had no power to block a public road.

Latif added that when the residents have taken such an initiative, the RA would love to support them but it had to look into the regulations.

“The RA would be liable for law suits, especially the office bearers. They should come up with a law to safeguard RAs,” he said. He added the Parliament should review the policemen’s salaries and working conditions to encourage more to join the force.


Residents suggest leasing roads from the state

SOME residents in Petaling Jaya are calling for the Selangor state government to consider leasing roads to the residents’ associations to gate up their communities.

The issue was brought up during a town hall meeting at the BU3 community hall in Bandar Utama, Petaling Jaya, with Bukit Lanjan assemblyman Elizabeth Wong and Subang MP Sivarasa Rasiah.

Wong said that the meeting came about because there have been many requests, complaints and suggestions from residents regarding gated and guarded communities.

Keep out: More and more housing areas in the Klang Valley are taking up the gated and guarded security scheme but only about 50 residents (below) turned up for the meeting.
About 50 people attended the meeting.

Gated and guarded communities have been a widely debated issue as many residents’ associations have started to put up barriers and guard houses to secure their housing areas. Under the Street, Drainage and Building Act 133, it is illegal to put up barriers that obstruct access to public roads.

Several residents posed the question of leasing the roads from the state government and asked if they would be charged the market rate or a nominal rate.

Wong said that the matter would be discussed at the state level in a meeting on Nov 2.

Among the issues raised was the difficulty of getting residents to commit to the scheme.

Bandar Utama Residents Association (BURA) chairman Datuk Manpal Singh Sacdev said that the key objective of barricading roads was to make their homes safe and he suggested that the local councils grant allocations to RAs who could not get enough support from residents.

“It is hard to get more than 90% as some houses are rented out to tenants,” Manpal said.

He also suggested councils look at approving developments with less exit points to prevent quick getaways by criminals.

“Currently, the barriers are allowed from midnight to 6am and that is not solving the problem because many crimes happen during the day,” said Manpal.

Resident Dali Sardar from D’Villa Avenue in Kota Damansara said that the problem was that residents could not rely on the police to ensure safety and many residents were allowing foreigners to guard their houses.

He added that the local council should make it legal for gated communities to collect maintenance fees since RAs were having trouble collecting the fees from all residents.

Manpal suggested that RAs should set out a written contract with the obligations of the security company that they hire.

“Create a standard operating procedure for them. You should also list down when and how you can terminate their services so that they don’t continue to insist on payment,” Manpal said.

Taman Mayang Jaya residents association chairman Liew Wei Beng said that as many areas started to set up barriers, the criminals would move on to areas which have not been secured.

To overcome the legal issues, Liew suggested that RAs have mobile security patrolling the area instead of barricading the roads.

Liew, who is also All Petaling Jaya Residents Association (APAC) chairman, reminded residents that gates and barriers are a temporary measure that should be removed once crime rates are lowered, especially after Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced a RM1b allocation to beef up the police force and reduce crime.

Several residents from housing areas sold as gated communities by the developers also raised the predicament as they have had to pay maintenance fees for services within their area while also having to pay assessment to the local councils.

Notably absent at the meeting were residents who were opposed to the guarded schemes.

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