Press Release

Press Conference held by the Joint Action Committee for Bukit Gasing(JAC) to announce to the press that a judicial review has been filed at the High Court to compel DBKL to hold a Public Hearing.

Kuala Lumpur 16th February 2008 – We, the owners and residents in the neighbourhood of the proposed development on Bukit Gasing by Gasing Meridian have on Monday 11th February, 2008, filed for a judicial review by the High Court to compel DBKL to hold a Public Hearing on the proposed development application by Gasing Meridian Sdn Bhd on Bukit Gasing (KL-Side). 

DBKL’s letter of 31st December, 2007, denied the affected owners and residents in the vicinity a Public Hearing on Gasing Meridian’s proposed development on Bukit Gasing (KL-Side), we were forced to take legal action to demand transparency of actions by DBKL. 

Gasing Meridian’s proposed development will be on steep hill slopes and unstable geological structure. Our request for information on the proposed development, technical reports and studies that should be conducted on such high risk proposed development, have been ignored by DBKL. We are asking the High Court to direct DBKL to make these available. 

At the Public Meeting for concerned owners and residents on the 26th January, 2008, the meeting unanimously supported legal action against DBKL to defend our right not to live in fear of landslides. Although the Public Meeting was called at short notice and on a Saturday morning, approximately 300 people attended the meeting.  

Within less than 10 days after the public meeting and just before Chinese New Year, 108 owners of properties adjacent to the proposed development signed up to be joint applicants to file for a Judicial Review by the High Court to quash the decision by DBKL not to grant a Public Hearing. 

Our Judicial Review requested the High Court to rule that::

 ·        DBKL had erred in law and denied affected owners’ their rights under common law;

 ·        DBKL had acted contrary to the intent of Parliament enshrined in the Federal Territory (Planning) Act 1982 (Act 267), requiring local plan/s for KL that would have given the affected owners the right to be heard in respect to the proposed development;

 ·        although DBKL had gazetted the Kuala Lumpur Structure Plan 2020 (“KLSP’) on 19th October, 2004, it had failed to prepare draft local plans for the area as required by the Federal Territory Planning Act;

 ·        DBKL had not acted in accordance with a number of other key requirements stated in the Federal Territory Planning Act which are key material considerations;

 ·        DBKL had not acted with good practice, natural justice and fairness in applying a narrow view of their duties to the public and affected owners;

 ·        DBKL had not acted in accordance with many policy prescriptions in the gazetted KLSP that has the force of law, as well as the principle and philosophy of Local Agenda 21 requiring partnership between DBKL and the public they serve within the context of sustainability;

 ·        DBKL erred in law in not meeting fair expectations of the applicants to a public hearing based on assurances of various officials of DBKL and Federal Territory Ministry;

 ·        DBKL failed to understand that the proposed development could have consequences similar to Highland Towers and should not be considered only from the perspective of the developer. 

In the affidavit filed in the Court Action, we have provided full details of the dangers involved if approval is given to develop Bukit Gasing. We fear for the loss of our lives and homes. 

We requested the High Court to grant a stay of all proceedings by DBKL in respect of Gasing Meridian’s proposed development application until the outcome of the full hearing of our application for judicial review is known. 

As affected owners and residents, we fear the lack of transparency of DBKL.  It is vitally important to us that DBKL do not permit any works to be carried out by the developer until the High Court has considered our judicial review request. 

Gasing Meridian’s proposed development will clear 15.52 hectares of secondary forest on Bukit Gasing. They also plan to re-sculpture the natural features of Bukit Gasing (KL-Side) by moving almost 800,000 metric tonnes of earthworks.  In addition to our fears of a disaster of Highland Towers’ proportion, the scale of earthwork and bio-mass removal from the proposed development will present safety and health risks to all residents in Gasing Indah, Petaling Gardens, Gasing Condos and Pantai Dalam.   

We are sad that DBKL, as a flagship authority of Federal Government, had not given us fair consideration nor taken any steps to address our safety concerns. It is not enough for DBKL to claim that their experts have considered the safety issues, when the reality is that many of the fatalities were caused by landslides occurring after authorities have approved and monitored developers’ constructions.  

Our Government have been championing transparency and have required all authorities to listen and respond to public concerns. Yet, there seem to be a “close both eyes” when DBKL blatantly seek to avoid addressing our concerns. 

In recent months, we have heard of concerns raised by residents all over Klang Valley over decisions of planning authorities. In particular, Taman Melawati, Taman Hijau in Ampang, Kota Damansara and Bukit Damansara development approvals. All these relates to development on hill slopes, limited green reserves and wanton destruction of pleasant neighbourhoods without consultation of affected residents.  It is time that the public in general raise their voices against authorities that refuse to involve or respond fairly to the community they claim to serve.  

We need to have more accountable authorities that will weigh concerns of residents against greed of developers. We need planning authorities to act and demonstrate their commitment to sustainable and safe development by being transparent. They need to appreciate that not all opposition to development are just “not in my backyard” (NIMBY) complains.  Our opposition to Gasing Meridian’s proposed development are based on genuine fears for our lives and homes. There are abundant signs that Bukit Gasing is not safe for development. Yet, DBKL seeks to avoid answering our concerns. 

Due to DBKL’s reluctance to be transparent and their lack of interest in addressing our safety fears, we have no option but to seek justice at the High Court.  

The residents intend to mount further campaigns to encourage DBKL to give due consideration to our concerns. DBKL aim to turn KL to a world class, tropical garden city. Their actions so far fall desperately short. We will not cease to fight for our right not to live in fear of our lives and homes. 

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.