PETALING JAYA: The billboard that was the subject of contention between its owner and the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) was finally brought down last night in a six-hour operation.
Technomacy Sdn Bhd's billboard, located along the Sprint Highway near the Damansara toll of the NKVE, was put up three days ago, without an approval from the council.
The company engaged in a standoff with the council earlier, allegedly using Works Minister Datuk Seri Shaziman Mansor's name in a bid to stop MBPJ from tearing down the structure.
But a team of some 30 officers from MBPJ's enforcement division, building maangement and planning department put an end to the matter when they started work at 9.30pm, under the watchful eye of councillor Derek Fernandez.
The enforcers were approached by Technomacy representatives who showed MBPJ officers a letter of approval from the Malaysian Highway Authority.
However, it was later pointed out that the letter of approval also subjected the company to a go-ahead by the council.
"They did submit an application to us but we rejected them based on our guidelines that the location is unsuitable for a billboard due to various reasons such as the gigantic billboard will be blocking other billboards placed in the area from both directions," Fernandez said.
He added the council's guidelines also provide that each billboard have a 300 metre distance between each other.
Technomacy's billboard, would be too close to road signs in the area, Fernandez said, adding that residents and other building owners in the surrounding area had rejected the idea.
"The nearest billboard is hardly 50 metres away so there is no way another billboard can be placed in this location."
Billboard structures are subjected to vetting and approval by a committee comprising of representatives from Selangor Residents Association Coalition (APAC), the Outdoor Advertising Association of Malaysia (OAAM), MBPJ councillors and representatives from the councils engineering department and the building planning and management department.
"The committee made the decision, but even after being rejected the company went ahead with the structure and three days ago when we came to inspect the area the structure was already placed," Fernandez said.
MBPJ will seek damages from the company to ensure that Technomacy pays for the costs of structure removal and other forms of expenses including transportation, storage and for equipment rental like the crane that was used in the operations.
Fernandez said action will also be taken against the company for not abiding by the rules and regulations.
Earlier MHA agreed with MBPJ that the company should abide by local and federal regulations before putting up the structure.
Its director-general Datuk Ismail Md Salleh had told The Malay Mail "the company had not followed procedures".
"We had granted it approval to construct the structure there, but the company should have also obtained the approval of the local council," Ismail said.
"We have rejected the operator's application and the billboard is illegal. The company should know that MHA approval alone is insufficient. They must under the law, get the local authority's approval.
"Operators must understand the limited right the MHA has in relation to buildings on state land. They need approval from both federal and local authorities," he said. "If either authority does not grant approval, the billboard cannot be put up."