Unfettered Development in Canning

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By Fathol Zaman Bukhari

Two wrongs don’t make a right. It is illogical for one to commit not one or two but many wrongs and yet be considered right by the authorities…

Just as the furore over the proposed columbarium in Ipoh Garden East subsides, another issue pops up which will give City Council some anxious moments. This has nothing to do with the dead or the maimed or the disabled but has much to do with the living. It is about the way some very arrogant residents go about doing their business without a thought for the feelings and safety of their neighbours. It is about the insensitivity of some whose only concern is their bloated egos. It is about the “tidak apa” attitude of the authorities and about some pitiful souls being given the run-around.

Canning Garden is synonymous with the growth of Ipoh. The wealth of its populace is often associated with the areas they live and work. If you live and commute from Thompson Road (Jalan Tun Dr Ismail), Tiger Lane and Jalan Golf Club you are from the privileged class. If you are from Canning Garden and Ipoh Garden you are next in line and if you are from Buntong and Kampong Kepayang, well, you are nowhere near those from Thompson Road and Tiger Lane. This is a norm and although no longer relevant in this time and age, the lingering doubt is never easy to erase. Ask any Ipohite. Chances are he or she will cringe if you say you are from Buntong and lights up when you say you are one of those from the gated communities of Meru Valley.

Built in the late 1950s, Canning Garden is located in a preferred zone with easy access to downtown Ipoh and the commercial centre of Greentown. It has all the facilities that a resident would wish for – hospital, clinics, boutiques, salons, market, post office and most of all, hawker centres that cater to the gastronomical needs of the masses. I am referring to Hollywood and Woolley, where the food happenings are.

So being a resident of Canning Garden is something to gloat about. Like they say, if you cannot have the best, the next best is desirous. I know of many who would give an arm and a leg to be in Canning. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs best describes the ascending needs of humans. When one need is being satisfied it no longer motivates the person, the next higher need takes its place. Having an abode in Canning may be self-actualization, the apex of Maslow’s Theory of Needs, to some.

Now let us move to the issue in hand. Residents of Canning are up in arms, literally, over the propensity of the moneyed to renovate their properties beyond the norms. Renovation in Canning Garden terms is not about building a decent porch or extending the living room or the kitchen. It defies logic when one builds a three-storey building that obstructs residents’ views and reshapes the whole neighbourhood. Greed, and maybe vanity, could be the underpinning reason. But it is downright outrageous for some to turn their backs on their friends just because the person down the road has built a mansion for himself. It is an open season for completion. Unless the authorities step in, there is no telling what will come next?

The Local Government Act 1976 and, to some extent, the Town and Country Planning Act 1976, are explicit about provisions regarding the renovation of properties, collection of levies (assessment), the prohibition on development without permission and the ensuing penalties. I wonder why Majlis Bandaraya Ipoh (MBI) does not come hard on those who contravene these by-laws with impunity.

Could ignorance be the reason? Or is there an element of complicity involved? I will not delve into the nitty-gritty. Suffice to say that little or nothing is done to correct the wrongs. Two wrongs don’t make a right, as the proverb goes. It is illogical for one to commit not one or two but many wrongs and yet be considered right by the authorities.

The ball is now at the feet of those wronged (by the actions of the few) to take up the issue with MBI. Take a cue from the residents of Ipoh Garden East. They made their woes known and in the process reaped the harvest. Keeping mum is not an option. The responsible and concerned few should take the lead. Period.

8 thoughts on “Unfettered Development in Canning

  1. The responsibility of approving planning permission in UK is decided by the Local Council. Plans get published in local papers and in Council Notice Boards for Awareness/Objections. Immediate people affected e.g. neighbours will receive letters from Local Council on proposed application, and a time-frame objections given. If there are objections,the approval is usually turn down. To an extent this is similar with MBI. At the end of the day, professional and society greed, NO Accountability and Responsibility by MBI, and bribery with $$$ takes priority – This is Malaysia, our wonderful country! Lots of $$$ does not always buy happiness or does it!- hmmn, you decide! Anyhow, live and be happy – unless the government and it’s people behaves differently, this kind of situations will ALWAYS exists. Have a Great Day!

  2. Many people especially the “new rich” have this fascination for B-I-G houses, very probably to show off their wealth. Together with cars, houses are the most visible ways to show off.

    Building a big house is not wrong but should be built at a suitable place. Having a monstrous 3- or 3½-storey house among single-storey houses is inappropriate and “vulgar”. Instead of Canning Garden, these owners should build their houses along Tambun Road, Gopeng Road, Thomson Road, the area near Ipoh Turf Club, etc, where all the big houses can usually be found.

    Many of the monstrosities in Canning Garden are often built almost to the perimeter of the properties. Having a tall building next door causes some privacy loss as the neighbour is able to peer into one’s inner parts of home because of the close proximity.

    Nobody is against these owners from building their dream homes. But like most things in life, there is a right place to do it.

    @christkw: As many may know, there are no back lanes in Canning Garden. My family has a link-house in Canning Garden and the back neighbour renovated their house to build up the backyard. Believe it or not, this neighbour actually made a door that opens up into our backyard so that they can escape in case of a fire!

  3. About those ‘monster’ houses built along the area is not really the MBI fault, is the owner’s fault and usually ‘kaw tim’ those technician working
    in the dept.
    Do you all notice some of the detached bungalows especially the ‘tersusun’ type, there have no rear set back and in fact can built up a door to access to your neighbour house?

  4. Natasha, I think the author qualified his statement, and you made the same mistake you accused the writer of making. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

    Btw this is not the issue of the article. Canning Gardens is a quiet residential area with generally single storey houses. New built of two storeys may be acceptable but three storey on a 4k ft land! Something has to be done before its too late. This monster house mentality has to stop.

  5. I am really surprised with your article. If you want to write about Canning Garden unfettered development in Canning just talk about that area. Don’t look down on other area in Ipoh. Although the lingering doubt is ever to erase but please ‘jaga’ the feelings of those who are staying in Buntong or Kg Kepayang. Please update your facts as the people in Buntong are far more richer than your privileged area only that they not flaunting their wealth and they don’t have clubhouses there.

  6. Exactly my sentiments. How that house received its building approval is beyond me. That it affected the neighbours enormously can never be exagerated. I know because I owned a neighbouring house and it completely turned around and delayed my renovation plans indefinitely. Everytime I take a drive and see that house, sticking out like a sore thumb, my curse goes out to the owner and MBI.

  7. Guess it is money that talks loudest in Ipoh. The biggest, the highest, the glitzy-ist, as usual with no real character. Money talks but the language it uses is very crass. Pity, isn’t it ?

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