19 March 2023. Sunday
ISKANDAR PUTERI (March 19): The Johor state government will harmonise the guidelines for hillside development and preserve its topography to avoid disasters.
Chairman of the Johor housing and local government committee Datuk Mohd Jafni Md Shukor said there are currently guidelines at the Ministry of Local Government Development (KPKT) level, but they are not uniformly practised by the 16 local authorities (PBT).
He explained that development on hill slopes could threaten housing and villages at the foothills since planning permission for development was only focused on the area to be cleared.
Because of this, Mohd Jafni said other development such as the expansion of reservoirs, monsoon drains and culverts also do not take current and future development into account.
“Basically, there are [guidelines], but we have to re-assess projects on the hillside, as to what His Majesty (Johor Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar) ordered and tighten guidelines.
“His Highness ordered us to scrutinise the hill slopes due to climate change which involves flooding and pollution, so these issues will be reviewed and we will hold workshops (with PBT),” he said.
Mohd Jafni added that there must be coordination between the 16 PBTs in the state as there are differences in how the status of townships, cities and districts are being classified.
“From the workshops, we will size up the standard operating procedures currently being practised in every PBT. After that, we will formulate where the differences are and harmonise them,” he said.
He gave examples of the coordination between PBTs including the approval of hawker licences, in addition to the implementation of CCTV and smart parking.
During the opening of the second session of the 15th Johor State Assembly sitting at Kota Iskandar on Thursday, Sultan Ibrahim reminded all PBTs to ensure that any development on hilly terrain or highland areas must preserve the original topography as much as possible.
The sultan said a developer should not be allowed to flatten the entire surface and hill clearing must be controlled and done minimally.
Thus, he wants the mayors and heads of all PBTs in the state to conduct research first before approving any land work in hill slopes or highland areas.