malaysia

Putrajaya seeks to compel states to get federal nod for land works

In the Bill that was tabled for the first reading in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday, Putrajaya proposed to introduce a new provision to be called Section 20B and a sub-clause called 20B (2). — Picture by Yusof Mat IsaIn the Bill that was tabled for the first reading in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday, Putrajaya proposed to introduce a new provision to be called Section 20B and a sub-clause called 20B (2). — Picture by Yusof Mat IsaKUALA LUMPUR, Oct 18 — Citing “national interest”, the federal government has tabled a Bill that will require state governments to get its approval before embarking on future land development projects.

Land matters are currently under the purview of the state governments, but with the proposed amendment to the Town and Country Planning Act 1976 — also known as Act 172 — all states in the peninsula will be required to first obtain advice from a federal council before carrying out land reclamation works, highway and airport construction as well as other “national interest” developments.

In the Bill that was tabled for the first reading in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday, Putrajaya proposed to introduce a new provision to be called Section 20B and a sub-clause called 20B (2), saying the amendments were necessary due to the potential environmental, social and economic impact of development projects on a national scale.

It also requires social impact analyses to be included in all development proposals submitted to the council.

Among the examples listed in the Bill were: coastal reclamations, railway transportation networks, power stations, dams, seaports, toxic waste disposal sites, and inland ports.

The only exception is for construction of jetties.

“At the national level, the Council will be able to give advice on the development proposals within the framework of the national policy in particular terms of the coordination between the States and the optimisation of the use of natural resources and finance,” the amendment Bill read.

The proposed amendment does not identify the federal council from which the state governments and their agencies are required to consult.

However, the only federal council which currently monitors such land developments is the National Physical Planning Council chaired by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Sabah and Sarawak will not be affected by the proposed Bill.

The Bill will is scheduled to be tabled for a second reading tomorrow.

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