Sanctuary Gasing cutting trees

One of the workers cutting down trees despite the pending court case between the residents and the developer.

Azira Shaharuddin, NST – Streets, Thursday, 03 April 2008

THE fears of Taman Gasing Indah residents were realised last Friday. They were shocked to find newly-felled trees and workers at the foothills of Bukit Gasing.  Just two weeks ago, the court had ordered the Kuala Lumpur City Hall to organise a public hearing on development of the area by Gasing Meridian (M) Sdn Bhd to build 71 bungalow lots.Taman Gasing Indah protem committee chairman Johnny Yew, said the developers are not supposed to touch Bukit Gasing before the hearing is held on April 23. “They are blatantly raping the hill and chopping down trees,” said Yew. He claimed that the developer started work on Thursday when some of their workers cut some trees to clear the path. “We are living at the bottom of the hill. Now with that piece of land being cleared, it is more prone to landslides.”There have been seven landslides in the area with two incidents last year. “We are constantly living in fear. How are we to live like this every day with so much stress?”Yew was also concerned about the future state of the reservoir storing 23 million litres water on top of the hill. “If they disrupt the already-sensitive area, we are afraid it would fall down on us,” he said.He added that there should be a sign informing the residents of the proposed development and provide a time frame for objections. “Not one sign was put up and City Hall never gave us a chance to raise the issue.”

The battle over Bukit Gasing between City Hall and the residents has been going on since 1995. In that year, the first public hearing was held. The second was in 2002 and both hearings resulted in the cancellation of developments in Bukit Gasing.

“Bukit Gasing is too steep for development. Plus there is a huge water reservoir up there,” Yew said.

City Hall director of Public Works, Siti Saffur Mansor, said as far as her department was concerned, they had approved the earth works for the construction of the bungalow lots. “This is because they fulfilled the requirements. “We are building it phase by phase and not in massive quantities,” she said.

Siti Saffur added that earth works have not yet commenced. A spokesperson for Gasing Meridian said the company was only putting up a hoarding to fence the area for development.

“In fact, we sent a letter to every mailbox in Taman Gasing Indah informing them that hoarding will be put in place,” the official said. She also said that most matters related to this issue depends on the City Council and the upcoming court proceedings.