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Ministry to draw up guidelines on "guarded community"

KUALA LUMPUR: The housing and local government ministry intends to come out with guidelines on the 'guarded community' housing estate concept. Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha said guarded community housing estates have been mushrooming, of late without proper guidelines. State governments and local councils have come up with their very own by-laws which differed from one locality to another.

He said, most of the time, the concept was spearheaded by a group of houseowners on their own accord.
"Of course, we have to come up with some guidelines due to some legal issues which have cropped up," he told Bernama.

Residents of a housing estate often take it upon themselves to employ security guards and fence their housing area in the name of crime prevention. However, some of these crime prevention measures have run into some legal entanglement they went against the Road, Drainage and Building Act 1974. The Act states that there should be no obstruction to any public road. The same ruling applies under Section 62 and 136 of the National Land Code 1965 and Section 80 of the Road Transportation Act 1987.

The law also states that it is unlawful to privately attempt to restrict or regulate public spaces or attempt to close, barricade or restrict access of a public road, drain or space without the approval of the relevant authority.

The act of fencing a housing estate would also contravene sections 46 (1) of Street Drainage and Building Act 1974, section 80 of the Road Transport Act 1987 and section(s) 62 and 136 of the National Land Code 1965.
In addition to this, provisions of the Town and Country Planning Act 1976 may also be violated where guard houses are built on public land or road shoulders.

Section 46 (1) of the Street Drainage and Building Act also prohibits a person to build, erect, maintain or issue permits to maintain any wall or fencing in a public place. It is also an offence for a person to cover or
obstruct any open drain or aqueduct along the street without consent of the local council.

However, Kong said, based on some safety issues highlighted by residents, state governments such as Selangor, through the state housing and property board, had drawn up a set of guidelines dubbed the Fenced and Guarded Community Scheme.

"There is no problem with private security patrolling public roads in a housing scheme under the employment of the residents associations or RAs but the local authority and the police should be consulted first," said the
minister.

Kong said, some guidelines issued by local governments for guarded communities included the setting up of a guardhouse and employment of private security based on the consent of residents in the area. For example, some local authorities allow guardhouses to be built as long as the application is made through the Residents Associations, with the consent of at least 85 per cent of the residents.

The RAs must also agree that the guardhouse does not have a barrier and the location does not obstruct traffic, meaning it must only be located on the road shoulder.

However, Kong said some local authorities allowed for some form of barrier so long as it has overwhelming support of the local residents and it did not deny access nor obstruct traffic.

"For gated communities, it is not much of an issue as they already have a legal management body being set up under the strata title as most of the apartments and condominiums fall under this community.

"However, for the guarded community, it is different as you cannot term them as gated community," he said. - Bernama
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