World Journal of Engineering and Technology, 2014, 2, 55-60
Published Online September 2014 in SciRes. http://www.scirp.org/journal/wjet
How to cite this paper: Alias, A.B., Ali, A.S. and Othman, K.N. (2014) Land Development on High Land Areas: Comparison of
Process Implementation and Legislation Effectiveness between Malaysia and Hong Kong. World Journal of Engineering and
Technology, 2, 55-60. http://dx.do i.o rg/10.4236/wjet.2014.23B009
Land Development on High Land Areas:
Comparison of Process Implementation
and Legislation Effectiveness between
Malaysia and Hong Kong
Anuar Bin Alias, Azlan Shah Ali, Khairul Nizam Othman
Faculty of Built Environment, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, asafab@ um. edu .my, marxiz@yah oo.com
Received June 2014
The increasing of development failure on highland urges the professionals to develop solution on
mitigating the problems. This paper discusses on land development process and legislation on
highland development in Malaysia and Hong Kong. This study is focus on land use planning, laws
and regulations pertaining to land development process. Hence, this research is to review the
current development process including mechanism and legislation pertaining land development
on highland in Malaysia and Hong Kong. Hong Kong is chosen as an example based on the fact that
for its successfulness in managing highland developments. The main aim of this research is to eva-
luate the effectiveness of land development legislations and development approaches for highland
development. This research reveals the effects and consequences of implementation regulations
and development process on highland that have been used at Malaysia and Hong Kong. In Malaysia,
land development process on highland is still in questionable; why present property laws and
regulations are fail to achieve highland development standards as compared to Hong Kong. There
are weaknesses that need to be overcome such as on the implementation and the intensity of the
provision in property laws and regulation that can ensure the achievement of required land de-
Development , Highl and, Legisl atio ns, Process , P rope rty
In Ma laysia, t he planni ng and contro l of devel opment of l and use s is based from the various a nd suffic ient le g-
islations which provide strategies and approaches for development process. It is to ensure living well-being
whilst promoting economic growth and the creation of sustainable development areas. Developments plans
which are include Local Plans, Structure Plans and National Physical Plan are considered as an important tool in
A. B. Alias et al.
translating government policies into action and also undermine full consideration on the quality of life, com-
munic ation and transport system, socio-economic, environment protection, urban forms and infrastructure. The
development encroachment towards high land and steep slope area has created massive development issues
whic h occ ur fro m ego disa ste r inci de nts such a s la ndslide and debris fall. Those incidents causes lost of life and
damaged to properties. However, it has affected the property development and economic growth as a whole.
Continuous Geo disaster incidents need to be addressed accordingly. Public has stated the issues and c once rn on
safety, land use planning, law and regulation, management, maintenance, accountability, funding and profes-
sionalism pertaining to development sustainability on high land and steep slope areas. It is crucial to examine
and seek the possible solution in order to ensure devlopment on high land and hill slope area can be under taken
to optimise and stimultaneously acheiving the highest and best use. However, safety and sustainability aspects
are still consider perplexing eventhough the plan has taken into consideration of con-current guideline and re-
quirement for high land and hill slope development.Therefore, this research is crucial to seek to reveals answer
and to develop understanding for these questions below:
1) How is the land development approaches differ between Malaysia and Hong Kong?
2) What are the fundamental mechanism and legislation for development on high land and steep slope area?
3) What are the needs for sustainable development on high land and steep slope areas?
Therefore, the main aims of this research are to examine the issues and problems of land development on hig h
land and steep slope areas and, to evaluate the effectiveness of land development legislation for high land and
steep slope development. A hybrid mode that consists of qualitative and quantitative methods are used in the
data colle ction that comprises of perception stud y (quantitative method), observatio n study (qualitat ive method)
in case study. A struct ure inte rviews for perception study with rele vant parties involve in land develop ment on
high land and steep slope areas consist of as the government organisation, developer, property owners, profes-
sionals etc. The interviews will determine the fundamentals needs and mechanism land development on high
land and steep slope areas.
2. Discussion and Findings
2.1. Property Development System in Malaysia
Develop ment plan syste m are consis ts of four level of plan ning whic h are Na tional P hysica l P lan, Structure P lan,
local Plan and Special Area Plan. All the plans are referring to the Town and Co untry Planning Act 1976 (Act
172) which based from the National Development Planning Framework that consist in three levels such as na-
tional, state and loc al level (Figure 1). Those plans provide an integrated top down de velo pment pl an and str at-
egies which mainly focus on physical, environment, economic and social aspects towards national development
objective that stipulated in the vision 202 0 (Bruton, 2007) .
At the federal stage in respect o f property development system, there are four other national councils oversee
the property development namely, the National Council for Local Government (NCLG) under article 95A, the
National Land Co uncil (NFC) under Article 91, and the Na tional Finance Council ( NFC) under Article 108 and
National Physical Plan Council (NPPC) under chapter 2, Act 172 are chaired by the Prime Minister or his ap-
pointee. Representatives from the federal and state governments are also included in these committees (Bruton,
2007) . T he governmental machinery which lies on Federal Constitution provides further avenues of federal
influence over the state governments. Such influence is exercisable over matters that are even listed under the
state list of the Co nstitution (Hamzah, 2009 as cited in (Ali et al., 2012) .
Figure 1. Ma lay s ia de ve l opeme nt pla nni ng system (Source: Rosly, 2011). 
NATIONAL M ISSION
Ninth Malaysia Plan
National Urbanisation Policy
National Physical Plan
State Structure Plan
Regional Growth Development
Special Area Plan
National Planning Physical Council
Chairman ; Pri m e Minister
Secretariat : DG TCPD
State Planning Committee
Chairman ; Chi ef Minister
Secretariat SD TCPD
State Planning Committee
Local Planning Authority
Chairman ; Chi ef Minister
Secretariat : SD T CPD
State Planning Committee
Local Planning Authority SD or
Town and Country Planning Department
A. B. Alias et al.
In April 2007, the Malaysian government under the Ministry of Housing and Local Government (MHLG) in-
itiated a One Stop Centre (OSC) approval process in an effort to improve the delivery system and procedures at
all state municipalities. The main purpose is to ensure that Malaysia stays globally competitive in the property
and real estate sectors (MHLG, 2008) . OSC is an independent body that acts as a facilitator for the planning
process for submission of plans at the local authority. Currently the OSC forms part of the local authority lo-
cated in every state in Malaysia. Prior to the introduction of the OSC, submission for approval was done sepa-
rately and in sequence. Only upon approval of the layout plan the building plan can be submitted for approval
with the rest of the drawings to follow suit. With the implementation of the OSC, the consultants have the optio n
to submit all five (5) drawings, namely the layout plan, building plan, road and drainage plan, earthwork plan
and landscape plan simultaneo usly (Abdullah et al., 2011) . All pla nning a ppro vals is subj ect to t he planni ng
permission process referred to under Section IV, Town and Country Planning Act, 1976 (Act 172) . Gener-
ally, the local a uthor ities woul d only offer a n initial c onditio nal appro val. The s ubmitting p arty, that is t he plan -
ner (appointed by the developer), shall then make the necessary amendments in compliance with to the require -
ments stated in the letter of cond itional approval issued by the various tech nical departments.
2.2. Legislation Regulating Highland Development Activities in Malaysia
Since 1970’s, Planning and Development Guidelines and acts has been used regarding to hill land and steep
slope areas. Those guidelines and acts was formed in policy, legislations, regulations, guidelines and implemen-
tation procedures that ensure a sustainable high land and steep slope areas. The current legislations and planning
guidelines that have been develo ped since 1997 until 2010 which are:
1) Ampang Jaya Dr aft Structural Plan 1995-2020, 1997
2) National P hysical Plan, 2005
3) High Land D evelopment Guidelines, Ministry of Environmental and Resources, 2005
4) Draft Guidelines for the Conservation and Development of Environmental Sensitive Area and its Sur-
rounding Area, 2005
5) State of Selangor Structure Plan 2020, 2007
6) Planning Standards Guidelines Selangor of Selangor, 2007
7) Ampang Jaya Draft Local Plan 2020, 2009
8) Development and Planning Guidelines for Hilly and High land Area, Ministry of Housing and Local Gov-
9) Development and Planning Guidelines for Hilly and High land Area, State of Selangor 2010
(So urce: Oth man et al., 2011) 
2.3. Development Process in Hong Kong
One of the responsible departments that involve in land development in Hong Kong is Planning Department.
The Planning Department is responsible for formulating, monitoring and reviewing urban and rural planning
policies and associated programmes for physical development of Hong Kong. It is also deals with planning at
the territoria l, sub-regional a nd district le vel and also service to The Town Planning Board.
(So urce: Liu et a l., 1997) 
In early 2007, the Government of Hong Kong has launc hed the “Be the Smart Regulator” program. The aim
of this program is to streamline licensing process and reduce compliance cost to business. Two important sectors
of Hong Kong is the construction industry and the real estate sectors are the key of the pr ogram. In this r egard, it
remains an on-going initiative of the Government to actively seek improvement opportunities to enhance the
procedures for processing various applications and approvals related to the whole property development cycle.
The concept of the One Stop Centre is to provide a centralized office for receiving submissions of plans and re-
lated applications (such as those for excavation permit, telephone line connection, technical audit for drainage
and water supply connection works), as well as coordinating joint inspections to be conducted by different gov-
ernment departments. It aims to provide convenience to the industry by offering a single point of contact. It
should also save the time to developers and their authorized persons or representatives in making applications to
different departments a nd utility companies as well as contacting differe nt pa rties for inspection (Figure 2).
(Source: Ef ficiency Unit, 2013) 
A. B. Alias et al.
Figure 2 . Process of OSC in Hong Kong.
2.4. Legislation for Highland Development in Hong Kong
Legisl atio n is the frame work within which a so ciet y func tions. The r ights a nd obl igatio ns of i ndivid uals a nd or-
ganizations in a society are determined primarily by legislations. Legislation that has been used in land devel-
opme nt in Ho ng Kong a re the Town P lanning Ordina nce, H ong Kong Standa rds and Gui delines a nd the Build-
ing Ordinance. The existing Town Planning Ordinance was first enacted in 1939. Apart from some major
amendments made in 1974 relating to the planning permission system and those made in 1991 relating to plan-
ning enforcement and the setting up of planning committees and the Town Planning Appeal Board, the Ordin-
ance ha s r emai ned large ly i n it i s ori gina l for m. I n 19 96, the G over nment pub lis hed a White Bill o n Town Plan-
ning to seek public views on the proposal to overhaul the planning system. Having considered the public com-
ments received, the Government introduced the Blue Bill into the Legislative Council (LegCo) in 2000 (HKSARG,
The Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guidelines (HKPSG) is a Government manual of criteria for deter-
mining the scale, location and site requirements of various land uses and facilities. As planning standards and
guidelines could affect the allocation of scarce land and financial resources, they should be applied with a de-
gree of flexib ility. T rade-offs may be necessary so that the community at large could benefit most fro m the de-
velopme nt . HKPSG is applicable in four aspects:
● Forward Planning—it provides an equitable basis for allocating scarce land resources and location guidelines
for various types of land uses and facilities.
● Devel op ment Co ntro l—it pro vides guidance on the scale, i ntensity and site requirements of developments as
well as the supporting facilities require d.
● Plan Implementation—it provides a yardstick to measure the sufficiency of land for various uses and ade-
quacy of facilities to serve a planning area.
● Raising Quality of Life—it provides guidelines on environmental planning and conservation of our natural
landscape, habitats, cultural heritage and townscape (Source: HKSARG, 2013) .
Other than tha t the le gisla tion t hat is re sponsib le to go verni ng of bui ldin g contro l in Ho ng Kong i s the B uild-
ing Ordinance. The administration of the Building Ordinance is vested in the Building Department which is
headed by the Director of Building, who is referred to as the Building Authority (BA). The objective of the
Building Ordinance are to provide for the planning, design and construction of building and to make provision
for rendering dangerous buildings and land safe. In this ordinance, there are three “authorized person” a nd have
been register under Section 3(1) they are namely; architect, engineer and surveyor. Under the Buildings Ordin-
ance, any person who intends to carry out building works must appoint:
● an authorized person as the coordinator of building works or street works
● a registered structural engineer, where structural aspects are involved and it is also required under the Build-
ings O rdinanc e
● a registered geotechnical engineer where geotechnical elements are involved and if so required under the
Buildin gs Ord inance
● a registered contractor to carry out the building works
A. B. Alias et al.
(Source: Estate Agents Authority, 2007) 
2.5. Comparative Study between Malaysia and Hong Kong
The Malaysia legislations made holistic provisions for the highland development in Malaysia. In the effort to
achieving developed nation status by year 2020, the government recognized the need to improve the quality o f
life o f the ci tizens . The National La nd Co de, T he To wn a nd P lanning Ac t, T he Conse rvati on Act, The E nviron-
ment Quality Act and Forestry Act acknowledging and accepting the social concept of development; sees high-
land development as a result of environmental and social barrier and not the physical impairment of the lands.
Therefore, highland development is much more of environmental barrier and hindrances that affect full partici-
pation, interactio n and effecti veness of lo cal author ities. However, highland development model adopted in Ma-
laysia is a top-down approach where government establishes policies and initiate developments for private sec-
tor to follow (Hussein & Yaacob, 2012) . The Act also interprets and adopts the concept of uni versal d esign
in an effort to meet up with international standard in Malaysia. Table 1 describes a constructive comparative
analysis of relevant legisl ati ons for highl and development betwee n Malaysia and Hong Ko ng.
This paper has presented a review of the literature on the comprehensive study between Malaysia and Hong
Kong. This paper focused more on legislation and development process which provide strategies and approaches
in land development process. Even though with property laws and regulations are in place, land development
process on highland is still questionable pertinently why present property laws and regulations fail to achieve
highla nd deve lop ment sta ndar ds. Ther e ar e weakne sse s that nee d to be ove rco me suc h as o n the i mple me ntation
and the int ensi ty o f the pro vis ion in p ro per ty laws and reg ula tion t hat ca n en sur e the a ch ieve ment o f land d evel -
opment process. There fore, it is important to conduct resear ch in the future to find out th e best result to this re-
Table 1. Highland development laws in Malaysia and Hong Kong.
Country Act Key Emphasis
National Land Code
The National Land Code provides regulation pertaining to land matters. It encompasses the
determinations for allocation, administration, access to information and consent concernin g
on land use rights, interests and restrictions. It includes development approval and land use
conditions, title creation, restriction and interest’s creation.
Town and Planning Act
Town Planning Act has been made for proper control of town and country planning in local
authority areas. It is also has been stipulated that land development may be controlled and
initiated through the formulation and identification of a structure plan and a local plan.
Land Conservation Act
Specially to con s erve hill lands, prevent soil erosion and control salu tation. The main
provis ion of this act is to pr ovision relating to the dec laration of areas a s hi ll la nd by the
state authority and the provision prohibiting the use of hill land for any purpose other than
for limited agricultural purpose and mining.
Environment Quality Act
The Environment Q uality Act 1974 has emphasized the very important r ole i n carefully
controlling and facilitating the importance of environmental protection from being
destroyed in the land development process.
National Forestry Act
The p urpose of thi s act is to classify every per manent reserved forest. The classifi catio ns
lend themselves particularly to the protection of wildlife habitat, forest sanctuary, virgin
jungle reserv e, amenity forest, education for est and r esearch forest.
Town Planning Ordinance Town Planning Ordinance has been made for providing a quality living environment,
facilitating economic development and promoting the health, safety and general welfare of
the community by guiding and controlling development and land use.
Hong Kong Planning
Stan d a r ds an d Guide line
The Hong Kon g P lanning Standa r ds and Guidelines is a government manual of cri teria for
determi n in g the scale, location an d site r equ irement s of va rious land uses an d facilities .
The purpose of the HKPSG is to provide general guidelines to ensure that during the
plan ning proces s .
The Building Ordinance
The Building Ordinance is to provide the planning, design and construction of building and
also to m ake provision for ren dering dangerous building and land saf e.
A. B. Alias et al.
We would like to acknowledge our sincere thanks to National Institute of Valuation (INSPEN), Ministry of
Finance Malaysia for supporting this research under the NAPREC Grant No. Naprec (R&D) 7/12. We also wish
to thank the anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments.
 Abdullah, A.A., Harun, Z. and Abdul Rahman, H. (2011) Planning Process of Development Project in the Malaysian
Context: A Crucial Brief Overview. 1, 74-81.
 Ali, N.H., Alias, A. an d Othman, K.N. (2012) EIA in Malaysia: Preliminary Review on the Implementati on Issues and
Challenges Towards Sustainable Development.
 Bruton, M.J. (2007) Malaysia the Planning of a Nation. PERSADA, Mal aysia (Persatuan Pegawai Perancang Bandar
dan Desa MALAYSIA).
 Efficiency Unit (2013) http://www.eu.gov.hk/english/osc/osc.html
 Estate Agents Authority (2007) A Study Guide to Estate Agency Law and Practice.
 Hong Kong Special Administration Region Government (HKSARG) (2013) Information Services Department Hong
 Hussein , H. and Yaacob, N. (2012) Development o f Accessible Design i n Malaysia, Asia P acific Internati onal Con fe-
rence on Environment-Behavior Studies, Giza, E gypt.
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Council Secretar iat, Hong Kong.
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System and Development Plan Process and the Implementation of the One Stop Centre. 2nd Edition, Pusat Bandar
Damansara, Kuala Lu mpur, Mal aysia.
 Othman, K.N., Alias, A. and Ali, N.H. (2011) Property Development Prospect on High Land and Steep Slope Areas—
A Case Study in Bukit Antarabangsa, State of Selangor.
 Rosly, D. (2011) Advancing the Sustainable Development Agenda through Aligning Malaysia Plans & Policies. Fed-
eral Department of Town & Country Planning, Peninsular Malaysia.
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