Why Do We Need A Land Use Zoning Law?

In Malaysia, land use zoning helps one determines if the land can be used to develop a residential, commercial or industrial development. Under land use zoning, developers would have to follow a set of rules such as the plot ratio, the number of green areas needed, and the density of the development.

Land use zoning for each different state is regulated through the respective state’s development plans provided under Part III of Act 172 (covering Sections 7 to 17). The plan comprises a State Structure Plan (Rancangan Struktur Negeri) and a series of local plans (Rancangan Tempatan prepared) for each district, municipal and city council in the respective state.

A local plan is prepared by a team of multi-disciplinary professionals, usually led by town planners, which include other professionals and specialists in urban design, landscaping, heritage conservation, environmental management, engineering, transport, agriculture, land valuation and organizational management. These experts would come in to give their professional advice on what works best for the land.

After the plan is prepared, the public can give their feedback or objections via email or written feedback before it is tabled for final approval by the State Planning Committee.

Landowners who want to change the land use (for example, from industrial use to commercial use) would have to apply for planning permission to do so. The final decision will also be subject to approval from the State Planning Committee.

For property developers, in order for the approval to get the planning permission, amongst the information needed to be submitted under the development proposal report (LCP) include the layout plans, a description of the land including its physical environment, topography, landscape, geology, contours, drainage, water bodies and catchments and natural features thereon as well as particulars of land ownership and restrictions, if any.

Before purchasing any property, property buyers should ask the developer a few pertinent questions including the land planning permission and development order, which shows the approved layout plan, building design and infrastructure plans, as well as the prevailing gazetted local plan, which comes in either a hardcopy or softcopy from the local authority. The information is important to property buyers to understand what are they buying into and what to expect of the surrounding development in the future.

Meanwhile, zoning is also crucial to the overall township development as it provides opportunity to the local and national authorities to control the development type and timeline in a specific area.

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