Press Statement: MP Bakri was treated recklessly in MPM Draft Plan exihibition

The exhibition officer(left) called an enforcement officer(middle) to take away the Draft Plan while Er(right) was taking photographic record for it.
The Muar Municipal Council(MPM) held an exhibition on "Muar District Local Draft Plan 2002-2015(Revision)" at the 2nd floor of the council building. The exhibition started on 19th April to 18th May 2011. Mean while, MPM also set-up an exhibition for the said Draft Plan in Wextex Parade ground floor on 24th April for public reviewing. The development plan is drafted by Department of Town and Country Planning Johor (Jabatan Perancangan Bandar dan Desa Johor). The amendment is made under foundation of original "Muar District Local Draft Plan 2002-2015", The Draft Plan come in two booklets, in color printed with more then 250 pages.

YB Er Teck Hwa, MP of Bakri attended the exhibition on 26th and 27th of April this month to review the Draft Plan.

When YB Er went to the exhibition and went through the detail of the said Draft Plan, he used digital camera to capture some of the detail of the content for further study. But the photo image was hold back by an exhibition worker , who immediately called their JB office for instruction. The worker said, YB Er had to make a payment of RM350 to MPM to purchase the book if he wanted to make any further reference references.

Nevertheless, when YB Er requested to purchase the book on the spot, the said officer told him that they currently, at the material time, only had a few copies left for internal reference. For any purchase of the Draft Plan, one needed to fill-up a form. When YB Er asked when hecould obtain the book, the officer said it might take a few weeks and no specific date could be provided.

Due to the absence of the original Draft Plan for analysis purposes, YB Er had to bear with it and kept all his records for further study. The next day YB Er went again to the exhibition centre to capture some of the details of information in order to do a comparison to the previous version published on 2002. However the exhibition worker called the enforcement officer to come and the latter recklessly took away the Draft plan while Er was recoding. YB Er asked the officer why he tried to stop a Federal Level, people's representative who was actually performing his duty and, the enforcement officer even recklessly took away the Darft Plan when he was half way taking notes and doing the image recording? The said officer was not able to answer his question but said that he acted under higher instruction that had been given him and, that no taking of photographs was permitted the exhibition.

YB Er felt offended at the rude, improper action of MPM officer.YB Er said, he had asked the exhibition officer for some of the details in the Draft Plan and the said officer said he did not know much about the plan and would not able to answer YB Er's question. YB Er regarded that remark as unacceptable. If an exhibition officer could not explain this 250 page Draft Plan, how could one expect the public to understand the content?

Furthermore, taking of photographs was prohibited at the exhibition. If any person who was willing to pay for a hard copy of the Draft Plan, they could not get a copy there and then ,even if they wanted to purchase with cash. Does MPM expect the public to flit through the book and memorize the whole content? The Draft Plan is supposed to be open for public reviewing. MPM also has said in the local news that it will publish the content in the web. If this is a development plan open for the public to review and provide opinion, why should MPM use violence to stop a person to take photographs, even taking away the Draft Plan from a people'srepresentative by force?

The development plan is still under the drafting stage and it is only open for public reviewing and suggestion within one month's time with the closing date on 18th of May.This is extremely ridiculous if the public needs to pay such a high price to get a copy of the Draft Plan in order to provide opinion to the administration. Ones need to ask: How many people will pay RM350 to get a development plan which is still not confirmed? Who will patiently wait for a copy of this pre-order Draft Plan to arrive and he/she will only has merely two weeks plus to go through the whole 250 pages content and finally give their opinion by filling a feedback form? At the same time, if the revision is finalized, does the public need to come out with their money to get a copy of the "finalized" version of this developmentplan?

It must be considered that expenses in the drafting of this development plan comes from public funding and the ultimate purpose of this plan is to improve and upgrade local development."By the People, For the People". The local authority should provide a free copy of the said Draft Plan for any person who is interested or a nominal fee should be charged. If printing cost is taken into account,the local authority should distribute a free copy to local association/society and people's representative as the first priority. Furthermore, "e-Government" policy had long being taking by Federal Government. Why is the local authority still sticking to the conventional printing and not producing it in digital format for portability, or even provide a free download in its' website?

Concerning the issue where only a very few visitors attended the exhibition, the MPM expressed that they did not understand why the public was not interested in this topic and they thought the main factor was due to lack of advertisement to create public awareness and the poor location of the exhibition.

YB Er does not agree with this argument. He said that the local authority must be willing to accept and resolve to overcome the four important issues as stated above, then only can it be effective so as to interact with the public.

MP for Bakri
Er Teck Hwa

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