In response to the “Law Ignorant Property Owner” on 30 April 2009



Which Planning Act applies in Kuala Lumpur?


Dear Law Ignorant Property Owner


The Town and Country Planning Act 1976 (“TCPA 1976”) is an Act for the proper control and regulation of town and country planning in Peninsular Malaysia.  Each state government has the option to adopt all OR parts of the TCPA 1976: the effective dates and parts adopted are different for each state.  However, the Federal Territory (which includes Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan) has its own set of planning legislation i.e Federal Territory Planning Act 1982 (“FTPA 1982”).  In many respects, the TCPA 1976 and the FTPA 1982 are similar.  However, Parliament obviously felt in the 1980’s that the capital city of the country ought to have some different rules. This approach is similar to other countries such as China which has separate legislation for its 4 federal cities.


The TCPA 1976 has been amended several times by a series of amendment acts.  The most recent such amendment act was in year 2001, known as the Town and Country Planning (Amendment) Act  2001 (“TCPAA 2001”). Unlike previous amendment acts, this TCPAA 2001 and its specific provisions was adopted by the Federal Territory, as it enabled the Federal Government to play a part in the country’s development via the Regional Planning and National Physical Plan.  It should be noted that only TCPAA 2001 was adopted by the Federal Territory, and not the TCPA 1976.  This is possible because the stand alone provisions of the TCPAA 2001 are complementary to the provisions of the FTPA 1982.


The FTPA 1982 has also been amended several times over the years.  All development in the Federal Territory has been and continues to be approved in accordance with the provisions of the FTPA 1982 including all its amendments.    


It will be most interesting to see how the High Court will rule in the Bukit Gasing case.  If the Court decides that the TCPA 1976 should be enforced in Kuala Lumpur, it could mean that all approvals (at least since 2001) by City Hall have been issued in accordance with the wrong Act and thus illegal! 


WF Lam, Esq.