By INS Contributors

KUALA LUMPUR (April 8)--Media attempting to cover a public hearing on the Shah Alam City Council’s (MBSA) draft local plan 2021-2035 today were barred from covering according to a report by local news portal Malaysiakini.

Among the contentious points of the plan is the council’s proposal to convert the Shah Alam Community Forest (Rimba Komuniti Shah Alam) into a commercial development and a cemetery, the report noted.

Media personnel covering the event were stopped when they tried to enter the briefing room in Wisma MBSA in Shah Alam today and told they were not invited.

Invitations were only extended to residents and other members of the public who lodged formal objections to the draft plan that included a proposal to rezone Rimba Komuniti Shah Alam.

Malaysiakini said local government, public transport and new village development committee chairman Ng Sze Han confirmed that the event was private.

When met outside the event, MBSA councillor Pappa Raidu Veraman claimed that another session would be held for the press workers to lodge their “objections” to the plan, even after they informed him they were there to cover the hearing and not to participate.

Pappa Raidu said the planning officers insisted that they still have further hearings.

According to Malaysiakini, MBSA officials also directed the media to give up their recording equipment and warned residents who tried to record the hearing for the media that these were not to be reported.

The reaction on social media was swift and pointed, with many tagging Shah Alam MP and former Federal Territories Minister Khalid Samad, asking why Pakatan had apparently strayed from its commitment towards transparency.

Khalid had during his tenure as FT minister courted flak over gazetting the Draft Kuala Lumpur City Plan 2020 which contained at least 273 violations without public consultation, with the result being wide ranging changes to zoning and development approvals.

KL issues pressure group Selamatkan Kuala Lumpur had strongly disagreed with the government’s move to gazette the version of KLCP 2020 with its deputy chairman M Ali said Khalid had repeatedly stated that the plan was approved despite 273 violations.