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NST Online » Local News, Saturday, April 26, 2008
KUALA LUMPUR: Gasing Meridian Sdn Bhd, the developer of Sanctuary Ridge on Bukit Gasing on the city side, moved to get an approval from City Hall in May 2005, the High Court was told yesterday. However, the approval, which was granted on Oct 2 the same year, was only for the layout plan for the sub-division of the 71 bungalow lots.
Counsel R. Sivarasa, who appeared for the 108 residents of Bukit Gasing, said the approval did not include any earthworks and hoarding. A separate application should have been made for that.
“In the approval granted for the layout plan, it is clearly stated that no other development work, including earthworks, is allowed. There is a need to obtain development order and approvals from the land office as well as from other relevant departments.”
He said any work carried out without planning permission was deemed illegal.
“Hoarding may not amount to much but it is specified in the act, that to erect hoardings is a form of development. So the work that GMSB wants to do, which is to erect hoardings and conduct earthworks, constitutes development under Section 19, 20 and 22 of the Federal Territory (Planning) Act 1982 (Act 267).”
As such, Sivarasa said a stay on any work on the land should be issued automatically to prevent works which were prohibited by law.
On March 17, the High Court had granted the residents leave for judicial review, allowing them the right to express their concerns for a development project in the area, and also granted leave to quash the decision of the Kuala Lumpur mayor not to hold a public hearing on GMSB’s application for a development order to build 71 bungalows on 15.52ha.
GMSB says the land has been privately owned since 1899, has never been part of the green lung nor is it a natural forest.
Sivarasa was assisted by Derek Fernandez while Romesh Abraham appeared for the Kuala Lumpur mayor.
Joslyne Goonting represented GMSB.
Hearing before judge Lau Bee Lan resumes on May 5
Comment by Ashok Menon JAC Bukit Gasing…
Yet another article in NST about yesterdays High Court hearing. Though the newsreport makes GMSB appear to be at fault, the real culprit is DBKL as they had issued permissions, DOs and what not with the intent to hide information and mislead the public (if they ever wised up), while all along having the luxury of denying having issued DOs and concurrantly enabling the developer to tear the hill apart.
‘Shiver me timbers!’, the bandicoots are being flushed from their confort zones!!
TheStar Nation, Saturday April 26, 2008
KUALA LUMPUR: The stay order granted by the High Court to halt all action pertaining to the hillslope development in Bukit Gasing will continue to be effective until May 5.
Justice Lau Bee Lan allowed the extension, pending continued hearing of an application for a judicial review to quash an order by the mayor not to hold a public hearing on the application for a development order by developer Gasing Meridien Sdn Bhd (GMSB).
At the outset of yesterday’s proceedings, lawyer R. Sivarasa, representing the 108 residents of Bukit Gasing, said the planning permission was only meant for sub-division of the land and not hoarding.
“The hoarding process that GMSB had conducted was illegal, as it was also defined as development under Section 22 of the Federal Territory (Planning) Act 1982, and needed a separate planning permission,” said Sivarasa.
Romesh Abraham, counsel for the mayor, argued that the approval granted by DBKL was for minor works and that the alleged hoarding was only “protective fences”.
On March 18, the court granted the residents leave for judicial review, allowing them the right to express their concerns for a development project in the area.
By Gary Yeoh; JAC Bukit Gasing
Sivarasa Rasiah; Legal Counsel for JAC for Bukit Gasing talking to the media after the High Court hearing
Our lawyers Sivarasa Rasiah & Derek Fernandez at the High Court. Bukit Gasing State Assemblyman, YB Edward Lee was also present.
KUALA LUMPUR: Today’s hearing, which is a continuation of the Wed. 23rd April Stay Order hearing, did not reach a conclusion as we ran out of time. The court has set Monday 5th May 2008 at 2:30pm for continuation of the hearing.
Our lawyer Sivarasa Rasiah (supported by Derek Fernandez) opened the hearing with a re-cap of our ‘prayers’ (legal term for points that we are asking the court to rule) that had been accepted by the High Court to be heard. Madam Lau Bee Lan (the judge that granted us ‘leave’ to proceed with our Judicial Review application) preceded over the hearing.
The Stay Order is to prevent DBKL from issuing development orders or allowing any development orders (if it had been issued) to be acted upon. If development orders are not ‘stayed’, it would result in Gasing Meridian (GMSB) being able to start destroying the hill and put our lives and property at risk. The main arguments for Judicial Review was to compel DBKL to give us a public hearing. A public hearing would quickly put paid to any claims by DBKL that GMSB’s plans for proposed development are safe and that DBKL is fulfilling its responsibilities to the citizens in KL and affected residents.
The substance of our lawyers’ argument was on the need for Stay Order to be granted. It forms an essential part of making the accepted Judicial Review meaningful. That is to say, if development were to start before conclusion of our Judicial Review, our ‘winning’ the High Court’s judgement to have a public hearing enforced on DBKL would be in practice meaningless. The hill would be destroyed and our lives will already be put at risk.
Sivarasa highlighted DBKL’s lack of response to the court’s direction that they provide us with information and the late filing of affidavits by DBKL. Affidavits from GMSB, dated 15th April and received just 4 working days before 23rd April revealed some details of the 3 approvals issued by DBKL to them. DBKL did not provide any information until the day before the hearing of 23rd April.
Sivarasa presented to the court that the approvals, consisting of Sub-division of Land, hoarding work and earth works, are in effect attempts to circumvent the Federal Territories Planning Act (1982). He proceeded to present certain legal points on what DBKL should have considered, and began to elaborate on how approvals by DBKL are in effect Development Orders, such as to bring into focus the need for Stay Order to be granted.
As those who were at the court on Wednesday would know, the late filing of affidavits and DBKL/GMSB tactics caused Wednesdays hearing to adjourned and resumed today. DBKL and GMSB lawyers did the same again today. They argued against allowing Sivarasa to continue his arguments by arguing along certain legal principle of Judicial Reviews. Essentially, they were rattled by Sivarasa’s argument that all the approvals given by DBKL are legally part of the Stay Order argument.
As many would have read in the Press, DBKL had admitted to being wrong with regard to ‘no development orders had been issued’ and admitted that earth works development order had been issued. Some poor DBKL legal hack has to be made a scapegoat for the deception of the Deputy Federal Territories Minister and us by DBKL.
We do not expect DBKL and GMSB to be interested in justice and fairness. We can expect that they will continue along the certain legal niceties to obscure the fair arguments our lawyers will be presenting to the Judge for a just decision on the Stay Order.
Fundamentally, our case is strong. Corruption cannot be always kept under cover!
Attention all supporters of Save Bukit Gasing Campaign & residents of Fraser Towers,Cameron Towers,Maxwell Towers,residents of Gasing Indah(PJ side); Gasing Indah (KL side),members of the Media, NGOs and all interested parties.
High Court hearing is today at 3pm, 4thLevel, Sivil 1. Kuala Lumpur High Court Complex.
This hearing concerns all of us.
For directions to Kuala Lumpur Court Complex Jalan Duta: http://www.mycen.com.my/directions/kl_court-complex_duta.html
PEARL LEE and NAJIAH NAJIB, MalayMail, Friday, April 25 2008
THE proposed development on the Bukit Gasing hill slope has only received initial work approvals from City Hall, but the developers have not yet been allowed to actually erect any buildings at the site. This was the clarification given by City Hall urban planning department director Mahadi Ngah, who yesterday explained that several development orders have to be given out on a stage-by stage basis for any project.
He said that a statement made by City Hall’s legal adviser last week that no DO had been granted by City Hall to the developer was not accurate.
He admitted that the first Development Order (DO) was granted to the Sanctuary Ridge Kuala Lumpur City project developer Gasing Meridien Sdn Bhd (GMSB) on Oct 2, 2007 for its layout plan to subdivide the area for development – a purely paperwork submission process.
Subsequently, hoarding works permission was granted on Nov 16, 2007. Then, City Hall issued an approval letter to GMSB allowing the developer to begin earthworks for one year from Jan 31.
However, Mahadi said no DO had been granted for the erection of buildings on that piece of land.
“GMSB can make further applications for building erection and we would consider their application before issuing another DO.” It has become the practice for City Hall to issue separate DOs at different stages of a development project.
Joint Action Committee of Bukit Gasing chairman, Derek Fernandez, said City Hall was trying to manipulate the situation by claiming that it takes more than one DO for a development project.
“It doesn’t make any sense for City Hall to grant a DO for subdivision of land and approvals for hoardings and earthworks to GMSB, and then say that subsequent plans for erection of buildings would be subjected to approval.
“This is because by granting the “first” DO and approvals, the developer is already allowed to carry out works on the land, be it with conditions.
“The residents’ main issue here is to not allow the developer or any other party, for that matter, to conduct any form of works on the land at all,” said Derek, who is also acting co-counsel for the residents.
Comment by Ashok Menon JAC Bukit Gasing…
This is like the expression ‘being partly pregnant’ — DBKL’s way of creative truth telling, to get away with outright lies. Only morons will try to insult the intelligence of the public with stupid phrases like the ones highlighted in the report above.
DBKL had issued an approval for Earth Works dated 31st January 2008, despite assurances given to us by the Director of Planning Tuan Haji Mahadi bin Che Ngah on 14th November 2007, to consult and have a public hearing before development order is given
- On 14th April 2008, City Hall and the Deputy Federal Territories Minister (Datuk M Saravanan) had stated to the Press that only 2 “planning approvals” (dated 2nd October 2007 and 16th November 2007) has been issued.
- This line was repeated to the Press on subsequent days’ reports.
- JAC received an affidavit from GMSB on 19th April 2008 ( Affidavit dated 15th April 2008, posted 17th April 2008 ) that they have received an Earth Works approval dated 31st January 2008.
- DBKL hand delivered an affidavit yesterday, 22nd April 2008 confirming the Earth Works approval and their opposition to the Stay Order and Interim Stop Order (granted by the High Court on 2nd April 2008).
- Despite High Court’s direction during the 17th March hearing that DBKL provide information to us at least 1 month in advance of the 23rd April 2008, Stay Order hearing, we have received no documents (approvals or any technical reports) until receipt of the affidavits mentioned.
- DBKL had deceived even the Deputy FT Minister.
DBKL is running against the Prime Minister’s public statement and request to government servants and officers to be transparent and to listen to people’s concerns.
Bukit Gasing have again showed itself to be an extremely unstable area. Since March 2007 when extension work at the Siva Temple on Bukit Gasing (PJ Side), precipitated a 80 feet by 25 feet drop landslide, the following have happened:
- On Saturday 19th April 2008, a landslide of approx 60 ft by 15 feet had occurred not far from the entrance into Hutan Pendidikan Bukit Gasing.
- We were been given photos taken on 19th April 2008 of deterioration and poor maintenance of berms/drainage running from the 23 million litre reservoir on top of Bukit Gasing and along the boundary of Maxwell/Cameron Towers, by Datuk Dr. Wong Sai Hou (President of Association of Backpackers Malaysia). The photos showed hoarding work by GMSB contractors done close to cracked berms/drainage and erosion of soil caused by the clearing of shrubs and vegetation, cutting of young trees and digging of holes. Steep slopes near the top of Bukit Gasing (KL Side) and the reservoir were noted to be very soft. A warning sign of possible landslips and landslides.
Contrary to DBKL’s statement to the Press that “the hill is safe for hillside development”, GMSB plans to build on steep slopes, with almost 50% of the slopes above 25% gradient. What will it take before DBKL accepts the signs that any building on Bukit Gasing is an invitation to tragedy?
DBKL accepts no responsibilities on any safety measures and has made the developer responsible for such.
We question DBKL’s commitment to its responsibilities in ensuring safety of the public and residents in the vicinity of the proposed development.
The High Court today extended to Friday, an ex-parte interim injunction to 108 Bukit Gasing residents to halt all action pertaining to the hill slope development which was earlier approved by the Kuala Lumpur mayor.
Justice Lau Bee Lan allowed the extension of the injunction given on April 3, to give ample time to counsels representing the mayor and developer Gasing Meridian Sdn Bhd (GMSB) to look into the affidavit in reply.
The court was told that it was only yesterday afternoon that the affidavit was served to the counsels.
On Friday, the high court will hear an inter-parte injunction on the application by the residents to stop all action approved by the mayor, in respect of a developer’s application for planning permission.
At this juncture, Joslyn Gooting appearing for GMSB, gave an assurance that his client would not continue with the erection of hoardings or begin any earth works in the area, pending hearing of the stay application.
Romesh Abraham appeared as counsel for the mayor.
On March 18, the high court here granted a leave for judicial review to the 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 GMSB for a development order.
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 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).
Statement to the media by YB Nurul Izzah Anwar; MP Lembah Pantai
Derek Fernandez & Sivarasa Rasiah – Legal Counsel for JAC for Bukit Gasing & Bukit Gasing State Assemblyman YB Edward Lee at the Kuala Lumpur High Court
Kuala Lumpur, 23rd. April 2008 – More than 50 Bukit Gasing residents turned up at the High Court hearing today.
Also present were the elected representatives from DAP and PKR. Sensing the media spotlight and intense public interest in this very controversial case (DBKL and the Developer were trying to set aside the ‘stop work’ stay order) the judge initially sought to hear the case in chambers.
The respondents requested for a few days to review the new affidavits submitted by our lawyers, and the judge fixed a new hearing date – 25th April (Friday) at 3pm.
On Friday the judge will decide if the stay order will be extended further, until a decision can be arrived at on the matter of DBKL granting us the Public Hearing.
MPs & ADUN present at the court hearing:
YB Elizebeth Wong; Selangor Exco / Bukit Lanjan State Assemblyman
YB Nurul Izzah Anwar; MP Lembah Pantai
YB Hee Loy Sian; MP PJ Selatan
YB Sivarasa Rasiah; MP Subang
YB Tian Chua; MP Batu
YB Edward Lee – Bukit Gasing State Assemblyman
This is an important hearing as we will be asking the court to rule that DBKL must not issue any development order until our Judicial Review is heard by the High Court in due time.
Many of you have seen the devastation caused by Sivan Temple and have heard about and/or seen a recent landslip at Cameron Towers. I have just met with a trekker today and he showed me some photos of Gasing Meridian’s contractors working along the Cameron/Maxwell borders. They do not look good for our safety. Drainage outside of the boundary are in very poor condition. Putting up of hoarding will aggravate and increase the potential of more landslips.
Please support our fight for justice and safety. Whilst we may have elected representatives that strongly supports our cause, we must do our part in taking on DBKL. Remember that the mayor of DBKL and the FT Ministry are not answerable to our elected representatives. We must stand our ground and provide the basis for our elected representative and friends to continue their support for us.
Please make every effort to be at the High Court Complex at Jalan Duta (near to Matrade Building) for a 9am start. We need a very strong showing to demonstrate our strength of feeling and concern to the courts and DBKL.
Last Sunday, over 150 people braved the rain for our cause. Will you do your part?
Please visit https://savebukitgasing.wordpress.com for more details of what the press and others have been doing to assist in our fight against DBKL and Gasing Meridian. Please keep others informed.
We can win this fight. We need as many residents and supporters as possible to join us in the fight.
Many thanks and regards.
JAC for Bukit Gasing
For directions to Kuala Lumpur Court Complex Jalan Duta: http://www.mycen.com.my/directions/kl_court-complex_duta.html
A Ramachandran – JAC for Bukit Gasing Member
Gary Yeoh – JAC for Bukit Gasing Member/Chairman Maxwell Towers Owners Association
Derek Fernandez – Legal Counsel for JAC for Bukit Gasing
Ashok Menon – JAC for Bukit Gasing Member/Chairman Maxwell Towers JMB
Our friends from Save Ampang Hills – Christa Hashim & Wei Yen
JAC Bukit Gasing would like to Thank the video production crew especially EY Khoo (Camera Operator) and Grace Kok(Editor). DVCam courtesy of Mark Fallander / Wildsnapper Sdn. Bhd.