Abandoned bungalows in the midst of piliing 

A letter was been published by NST on 30th Jan 2008, supporting Gasing Meridian’s proposal to build high-end bungalows on Bukit Gasing (KL-Side) as a solution to keep squatters away. The writer proposed that opposition to the proposed development is not objective and misguided. Immediately following this, a letter of 1st Feb 2008 supported the argument and suggested that squatters will increase crime, giving rise to danger to children.
 
As residents living near the proposed steep hill slope development by Gasing Meridian, we view the number of press reported fatalities from 14 major landslides as legitimate and objective fears. Steep hill slope fatalities from development since Highland Tower of 1993 (approved and supervised by authorities) in Malaysia is recorded as 142. From Klang Valley alone, the total recorded is 68 deaths with extensive properties destroyed and damaged. 

We live within sight of squatter settlement in the area. The level of squatter housing in Pantai Dalam and Bukit Gasing (KL-side) has been stable over many years. It is spurious for the writer to suggest that “Over the last 3 years,numerous squatter huts have been put up”. In the recent year a few sheds and stalls, on the flat land at the edge of developer’s property, had been put up. Isn’t this more indicative of opportunists hoping to gain some payment from the developer?
 
To us, the squatters are wise about the dangers of attempting to build living quarters on steep hill slopes and unstable ground. They have never ventured to build up the steep hill slopes. 
 
It is ludicrous to think that squatters have the capability to build on Gasing Meridian’s proposed development site. According to the developer’s figures, approx 50% of slopes are above 25 degree gradient, with 86.4% of the hill above 15 degrees. 3 high-end bungalows were abandoned on Bukit Gasing (PJ-Side) in the midst of piling works in recent years. Extension work by Sivan Temple near Fraser Towers in March 2007 caused a significant landslide. Mitigation work is still ongoing and there have been 2 further slope damage adjacent to the original landslide. 

 

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March 2007 – Sivan temple landslide:

We find the writer’s objectivity suspect. To attempt to justify dangerous development on steep hill slopes as means to curb squatters is misguided. To champion Gasing Meridian’s development as a means to contain an imaginery further incursion of squatters is hardly a sign of an objective mind.
 
Supporting letter justifying unsafe and environmentally damaging developments as a means to curb squatters lacks imagination. A proper argument to contain squatters would be for DBKL to accelerate its plans to improve housing in Pantai Dalam and kampongs in the area as in the Kuala Lumpur Structure Plan 2020. 
 
It is sad that we no longer look to fighting rising crime as a responsibility of authorities to understand the underlying causes of crime and implementing preventive measures. Equally disapponting is our reduction of expectation that our police should be doing more to provide proper policing. Shouldn’t the police and DBKL be the better answer to reduce squatter problems and rising crime?  Surely a few multi-millon dollar hign-end bungalows (at RM 5.1 million/plot excluding building costs) would be more likely to attract crime? What if proposed development was abruptly abandoned for economic reasons? Would this not present a major threat to safety and an act of environmental vandalism?  Let us not forget that the area has Rukun Tetangga actively operating. 
 
Residents of Gasing Indah

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