The Town and Country Planning (TCP) Act 1976 provides for the setting up an Appeals Board in each State to hear and decide on cases referred to it by appellants dissatisfied with the decisions of local planning authorities.
The Penang State Appeals Board (Planning) was set-up and gazetted in 1989 and heard its first case in June 1992. It is the only such Appeal Board established in Malaysia to date (January 1996).
The TCP Act 1976 provides that under the following circumstances, a person may submit an appeal :
Appeals must be submitted to the Appeals Board.
The Act provides that an Appeals Board shall be established in each State (s. 36(1)).
For the purposes of the Penal Code, the Appeals Board is considered a court of law (s. 36(14)). The Board may summon and examine witnesses and compel the production of any document that it believes to be relevant and material to the case (s. 36(10 & 11)).
The Board members are appointed by the State Authority (s. 36(2)) with the concurrence of the Minister.
The Chairman and Deputy Chairman of the Board must have a legal background (judge, advocate and solicitor, judicial officer) while not more than 12 other members maybe appointed at the discretion of the State Authority.
The appointment of all Board members are for a duration of 3 years but maybe revoked at any time by the State Authority without the need to give reasons.
The Board when in session sits as a 3-member court comprising the Chairman and any other 2 members selected by the Chairman. If for any reason the Chairman is unable to perform his duties, the Deputy Chairman assumes the duty and position of the Chairman of the Board.
Every decision of the Board is made by the Chairman in consultation with the other 2 sitting members. The Chairman is however not compelled to concur or agree with the views of any of its members. In other words the final decision rests with the Chairman but the Chairman must record the reasons for disagreeing with other members of the Board (s. 36(9)).
The decision of the Board is final and cannot be challenged in any court of law (s. 36(13)). However, the Board is not immuned from judicial review if the decision is contrary to the law. This may arise if the Board contravenes rules of natural justice, acts on invalid laws, acts outside of its jurisdiction, makes decisions based on irregular or improper evidence or grounds, makes a wrong interpretation of the law or does not take into account matters which it is required to take into account .
The Penang Appeals Board is headed by former Federal Court judge, Tan Sri Chang Min Tat as Chairman while Rumi J. Manecksha (lawyer) is the Deputy Chairman. There are 10 other members comprising mostly lawyers and doctors and eminent citizens of the state.
The Registrar of the Penang Appeals Board is an Assistant Director of the Penang State Town and Country Planning Department located at Level 19, KOMTAR, 10000 Penang. The Registrar functions as the secretariat and administrator of the Board.
More than 60 cases have been filed with the Penang Appeals Board since 1991. About 20% of the cases were withdrawn for various reasons. Of the cases decided by the Board, about 30% were successful (appeal allowed), 6% of the appeal cases were referred back to the local planning authority for reconsideration, and 64% were unsuccessful (appeal rejected).
By law, the local authority is the local planning authority (LPA). In case of Penang Island, the local planning authority is the Municipal Council of Penang Island (commonly referred to by the Malay acronym MPPP).
The following is a brief account of the cases decided by the Board for the MPPP area (arranged according to chronological order of decision):
(NOTE : This section is still being developed)
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Copyright by Lee Lik Meng, USM. Last Updated on 10 January 1996