By : Danutcha Chelliah

NST Online: 2008/03/18

Save bukit gasing 

Bukit Gasing residents thanking lawyer R. Sivarasa (right) as they leave the Kuala Lumpur High Court.  

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court yesterday granted a leave for judicial review to 108 Bukit Gasing residents, allowing them the right to express their concerns for a development project in the area.

The residents were also granted leave to quash the decision of the Kuala Lumpur mayor not to hold a public hearing on the application by Gasing Meridian Sdn Bhd (GMSB) for a development order.

The mayor’s decision was conveyed to the residents in a letter dated Dec 31, last year.

Judge Lau Bee Lan directed the mayor, who is the respondent in the case, to forward a copy of the reports and documents pertaining to the application by GMSB to the residents at least a month before the next court hearing.

The documents would include reports from a geological survey, soil structure and soil stability evaluations, proposed geohazard monitoring, hydrology report, environmental impact assessment (EIA), traffic impact analysis and social impact analysis from the authorities.

Also to be submitted are proposed site and lay-out plans, the earthwork plan with sections, the development report and documents produced by experts or consultants engaged by GMSB.

In their grounds of application, the residents, represented by counsel R. Sivarasa, said the mayor had erred in law and acted in excess of his jurisdiction when he wrote the letter stating that the procedure for hearing objections would not be implemented as it would violate existing rules and regulations.

The residents claimed the mayor had failed to take into account that they had a right under common law to be given due notice and to be given a chance to voice their opinions in the decision-making process of planning.

They stated that the mayor had acted in contrary to the policy and intent of the Federal Territory (Planning) Act 1982 (Act 267).

The Act required the preparation of a local plan for Kuala Lumpur, which would have given not just adjoining owners, but all persons in the Federal Territory, a right to be heard in respect of the development plan for their area.

The residents said the proposed development of 71 bungalows would be on steep hill slopes.

They also claimed that the 13 major landslides which had occurred in the Klang Valley and nationwide since 1993 provided ample proof of the real dangers in carrying out development projects on such steep slopes.

According to the residents, there had been a few landslides in the area.

These included a landslide which was apparently caused by hill slope development in 1971 which severely damaged six government owned bungalows along Jalan Tanjung, Bukit Gasing.

They said the existence of a 23 million litre water reservoir situated just above the proposed development site and a large underground pipeline on its western boundary, coupled with large scale earthworks from the development project, could weaken the soil structure and cause potential danger to the retaining structures at the reservoir.

The residents claimed that the proposed development would result in 15.52ha of hilly and secondary forest to be cleared and re-sculpted with an estimated 760,000 tonnes of excess earthwork to be relocated.

Lau set April 23 for an inter-parte hearing for the residents’ application to stop all further proceedings and actions by the mayor in respect of the application for planning permission by GMSB, pending the disposal of the inter-parte hearing for judicial review.