March 17, 2008 21:52 PM  KUALA LUMPUR, March 17 (Bernama) — Bukit Gasing residents today obtained leave to seek a judicial review of the Kuala Lumpur mayor’s decision not to conduct hearing of their objection to a development project.

Judge Lau Bee Lan who presided over the case in the High Court (Appellate and Special Powers Division) here, also set April 23 for an inter-parte hearing of the residents’ application for a stay of all further proceedings and actions by the mayor in respect of the project pending the judicial review.

According to the Save Bukit Gasing website, Gasing Meridian Sdn Bhd plans to build 71 bungalows on Bukit Gasing.

However, a number of premise owners and residents of nearby areas have protested against the development, saying that it will clear 15.52 hectares of secondary forest and re-sculpture the natural features of the hill by removing almost 800,000 tonnes of earthworks.

Their request for a public hearing on the project was turned down by the Kuala Lumpur City Hall in December last year, hence they filed the application for judicial review.

A total of 108 people were named as the applicants.

They argued that Kuala Lumpur mayor had erred in law and acted in excess of his jurisdiction when deciding that the procedure for hearing objections would not be implemented for the application by Gasing Meridian for the development order as it would violate existing rules and regulations.

They also said that the mayor had failed to take into account that they had a right under common law to be given due notice and to be heard in the decision making process of planning.

They contended that such a duty arose from the local authority’s obligation to act fairly towards adjoining owners of a proposed development as decided in a a previous High Court ruling.

The applicants also said the mayor was acting contrary to the policy and intent of Parliament enshrined in the Federal Territory (Planning) Act 1982 which requires the preparation of a local plan for Kuala Lumpur and which would have given not just adjoining owners but all persons in Kuala Lumpur a right to be heard in respect of the development plan for their area.

The applicants claimed that the proposed development would be on steep hill slopes and based on 13 major landslides in nationwide since 1993, there was ample proof of real dangers in respect of development of such steep slopes.

They further claimed that there had been several incidents of landslides and geologocal structure difficulties within the vicinity of Bukit Gasing including one that Occured in 1971 where a landslide precipitated by hill slope development severely damaged six government-owned bungalows along Jalan Tanjung on Bukit Gasing.

The applicants contended that a reservoir with 23 million litres of water now sits on Bukit Gasing just above the proposed development and a large underground pipeline on its western boundary and such a large scale earthworks could weaken the soil structure and causing potential danger to the retaining structures.