Sivan Temple Landslide; Bukit Gasing 2007

21st. January 2008 – We, the owners and residents in the neighbourhood of the proposed development on Bukit Gasing by Gasing Meridian have been campaigning and making representations to the Prime Minister, FT Ministry  and DBKL since knowing about Gasing Meridian Sdn Bhd’s proposal to further develop Bukit Gasing. 

As members of the Press, you would know that the owners and residents held a massive protest on 19th November, 2006 at the foot hill of Bukit Gasing (Gasing Indah side). Since then the Joint Action Committee for Bukit Gasing (JAC) and various owners and residents have had numerous meetings with officials from the FT Ministry, the JPPKSAS (Jawatankuasa Penyelarasan Pembangunan Kawasan Sensitif Alam Sekitar Wilayah Persekutuan) and DBKL Planning Department. 

DBKL on 14th November, 2007, invited the JAC to a meeting relating to an application from Gasing Meridian for sub-division of land. We understand that Gasing Meridian had requested approval for sub-dividing their land to 142 lots. DBKL had clarified that they were only considering the matter of sub-division of land and had not approved the development proposed by Gasing Meridian. 

Alas, despite our efforts, we begin the year with DBKL informing us that our petition for a Public Hearing will not be granted. At the meeting with DBKL on the 14th November, 2007, a total of 18 concerned owners of properties turned up. We made DBKL aware of our many safety concerns relating to the proposed development at Bukit Gasing with almost 50% of the slopes above 25 degrees (total of 86.4% of the project site exceeding 15 degrees gradient). 

We highlighted landslides and unstable soil structures conditions in the vicinity of the proposed development (i.e. around Bukit Gasing area) as follows: 

i)          In 1971, a landslide precipitated by hill slope development severely damaged 6 Government bungalows along Jalan Tanjong on Bukit Gasing. All the 6 bungalows had to be demolished subsequently

ii)         In March, 2007, extension work on Sivan Temple resulted in a landslide measuring about 80 feet at the top and about 25 feet at the base with a fall of about 300 feet. To date and almost 10 months after the landslide, discussions are still on going with  MBPJ and IKRAM to ensure mitigation work is done to good safety standards. Amelioration works are still on-going.  Sometime last week, we noticed a further landslide about 10 meters from the site of the March, 2007 landslide.

iii)         A landslide along Jalan 5/62 occurred sometime ago and caused it to be abandoned.

iv)        3 bungalows along Jalan 5/64 were abandoned abruptly in the midst of piling works.

v)         A  new  reservoir with 23 million litres of water was constructed since Gasing Meridian’s earlier application for development in 1996 and DBKL’s approval then on strict 2 stage development approval process in 1999.

vi)        Soil and geological experts and surveys have specifically cautioned against development on the steep hill slopes of Bukit Gasing. 

We also challenged DBKL that the Kuala Lumpur Structure Plan 2020 (KLSP) must be taken into account. Gasing Meridian’s proposed development falls within the Strategic Zone of Bukit Jalil – Seputeh (KLSP reference: Section – 17.6). Under the approved KLSP, the following must be considered by DBKL:

 i)          Bukit Gasing and its surrounding areas are designated as “Stable Area” or “Green Areas”“Stable Areas” being “Areas with established development and activities, in which minimal changes in development are anticipated over the plan period i.e. up to year 2020.”“Green Areas” being “Green areas” generally covered with natural or planted vegetation, consist of open spaces, recreational areas, utility and infrastructure corridors, buffer zones, forest reserves, agriculture areas, cemeteries, nurseries, shrubs and residential compounds.” 

The proposed development constitutes a “change of use”. The developer must not be allowed to violate the KLSP without due process being invoked. (KLSP reference: Section 17.6.2). 

ii)         The KLSP has specifically provided that “The natural features of parts of Bukit Gasing shall be protected and developed as parks for recreational purposes.” The proposed development is a full scale re-sculpturing of the portion of Bukit Gasing visible to all commuters in and out of Kuala Lumpur on its southern section. Approving the development is a blatant disregard to the KLSP 

Our meeting with Tuan Haji Mahadi Che Ngah (Director of Planning at DBKL) was very encouraging. He reassured us of DBKL’s intention to take into consideration our many concerns on safety and views. He stated that DBKL would abide by all the prevailing rules and regulation and policies adopted by the government. We were informed that DBKL had on 3rd October given their  approval to Gasing Meridian merely for sub-division of land application. The approval was given only for 71 lots and not the 142 lots applied for by Gasing Meridian. 

Both DBKL and the DBKL Appeal Board had turned down the Developer’s request for a single-stage development in 1999 and 2000 respectively because of the steepness of the project site. In view of the presence of a new reservoir, which shares a common border with the proposed development, and the massive landslide which occurred about 10 months ago in an area about 100 meters away, it does not make sense if DBKL should  approve the development now.   

As residents living under the threat of a “Highland Towers” disaster, we have been appealing to DBKL to clarify and provide updates on their considerations on Gasing Meridian’s application for development. We are very concerned that DBKL’s only significant response to our many concerns have been to inform us that a Public Hearing is not applicable. 

We are absolutely united and firm in our belief that our demand for the right to live without fear of landslides is a basic right of all citizens of this country. 

We already have limited green lungs. We will be failing our children if we do not stand against the  development of multi-million ringgit residential properties on Bukit Gasing that will permanently remove a beautiful landscape for both the residents in the area as well as fellow travellers in and out of the congested city of KL. 

The residents intend to mount further campaigns to encourage DBKL to give due consideration to our concerns. We will challenge any approval to the proposed development. We invite the civil societies and politicians that believe in our right to live without fear of landslides and in a “first world” living environment to support us by equally raising their concerns with DBKL and the Government. 

Press Release on behalf of Owners and Residents that are affected by Gasing Meridian’s proposed development.