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Update on High Court Hearing of Friday, 16th May 2008

 

Residents of Bukit Gasing with lawyer Derek Fernandez outside the Kuala Lumpur High Court. JAC for Bukit Gasing members Gary Yeoh (in white) & Victor Oorjitham (back row in blue). Also present in support of our cause is Selangor Exco YB Elizabeth Wong, MP PJ Selatan YB Hee Loy Sian & ADUN Bukit Gasing YB Edward Lee. 

  

Today’s hearing was to have been one of obtaining leave to proceed with a 2nd Judicial Review, arguments relating to Stay Order request, and time permitting the consolidation of the Judicial Reviews filed by 108 applicants against DBKL/Gasing Meridian on the proposed development. Alas, it was not to be.

 

After some 10 minutes of recapping and retracing the case from previous hearing, the hearing again got bogged down with DBKL and GMSB objecting to ‘leave to proceed’ with the 2nd Judicial Review request. Legal arguments on ‘time limitations’ were trotted out to prevent the 2nd Judicial Review leave being readily granted.

 

JACBG lawyers had wanted to present arguments on the legality of the 3 approvals given by DBKL to GMSB with respect to the Federal Territories Planning Act at the hearing of 25rd April. But was prevented from doing so by both DBKL and GMSB lawyers. They took issue to questioning about approvals provided by them in their affidavits on basis of it not being mentioned in the initial Judicial Review application. How does one mention matters that one has no knowledged of?

 

The 2nd Judicial Review filed on 5th May 2008 requests the High Court’s review on the legality the 3 approvals (sub-division of land, hoarding work and earthworks) given by DBKL as they appear to be attempts to circumvent the Federal Territories Planning Act. Given the tactics employed by DBKL and GMSB lawyers, this was a necessary to facilitate arguments on how DBKL is not acting in accordance to FT Planning Act to have the Stay Order granted.

 

Late affidavits from DBKL and GMSB, and consequential delay in affidavits-in-reply such as on 23rd & 25th April and 5th May 2008 had made smooth progress on hearings difficult.

 

The 5th May 2008 hearing was adjourned with what was to have been agreement by the parties that today’s hearing would now proceed with less ‘spoiling’ tactics and that progress and more efficient hearing might commence.

Yet, today, we see again DBKL and GMSB lawyers using the ‘time limitation’ legal argument to prevent hearing from continuing. Again, they filed affidavits with regard to this and other matters late to JACBG lawyers, i.e. yesterday and today. The issue on ‘time limitation’ raised by DBKL and GMSB lawyers appears to be based on the fact that the applicants did not object on a sub-division of land approval when informed back on 14th November 2007.

 

As a lay person, I am at a lost at the tactics employed by DBKL and GMSB. JACBG had written to both DBKL and Federal Territories Ministry to obtain copy of sub-division land approval details and information on any other approvals DBKL was processing. DBKL and Federal Territories Ministry did not respond to our request. Yet, DBKL and GMSB now claim somehow the clock on ‘time limitation’ should be applied on approvals that they have not deemed necessary to provide copies to residents despite requests. JACBG lawyers and residents were only provided copies of the 3 approvals letters (without any supporting drawings, conditions or referred to items within the letter) shortly before the 23rd of April 2008 hearing. 

 

Needless to say, the hearing had to be adjourned again, this time until Friday, 13th June 2008. Perhaps the legal manoeuvers of DBKL and GMSB lawyers are to prevent justice being heard. Is DBKL attempting to stall a proper court hearing such that they can continue to lie and deceive the people that they are appointed to serve for other interests?

 

It is amazing the length at which legal processes will be manipulated by DBKL and developers to protect their vested interests.  The public must rise up to end such games. We need Justice and we need to stand firm in demanding for it. Giving up is not an option if we care about our lives, properties and our next generation.

 

Gary Yeoh

JAC for Bukit Gasing (JACBG).

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. 

 

Stay Order and 2nd Judicial Review be held on Friday, 16th May 2008, beginning at 3pm. 4thLevel, Sivil 1. Kuala Lumpur High Court Complex.

 

 

For directions to Kuala Lumpur Court Complex Jalan Duta: http://www.mycen.com.my/directions/kl_court-complex_duta.html

Malaysians have over time lost their capacity to stand up for their rights. Time and again bullied into a studied silence, reminded at every occassion that ‘big brother knows better and rules with a big stick’ and that it is ‘not the Malaysian culture to challenge the powers that be,’ a vast majority of Malaysians have resigned into speechless, un-opinionated zombies. Not surprising therefore that when it comes to being proactive in community concerns and common responsibilities educated Malaysians rate rather poorly, apart from the 10 – 15 % odd that rise to the occassion. Is it right for the remaining 80% to be indifferent and unresponsive?
 
What can be the reasons for this? Perhaps ‘not wanting to get into trouble’ or ‘attracting unnecessary attention’ ? … yes the last 38 years may best be characterised as the very, very, sensitive years, when anything and everything seemed to be within the ambit of the OSA, which included highway concessionare contracts, atrocious road tolls increase, cracked bridges, spurious defence deals, judiciary in the docks, sports scandals, port building, destruction of green lung, scandalous railway projects, un-working steel mills, oil revenues unaccounted by the treasury, repeated bankrupting of banks, national car on life support, MAS on skidrow etc etc.
 
Perhaps Malaysians have gotten used to seeing disasters happen with clockwork regularity and their rights to protest emascualted, or see protesters marched off to jail … perhaps all these have lead to a pervasive sense of ‘indifference is the best policy’.
 
But things are changing … the elections clearly show that. If at this point we continue with the bad habit of indifference, learnt during bad times, then we will have no one else to blame this time around.
 
So please SPEAK UP! If you have to learn how to do that, come to our JAC Save Bukit Gasing meetings fortnightly at Maxwell Tower Conf Room. Next meeting is on Sunday May 18th at 8pm. Also kindly note our next hearing against DBKL for Judicial Review is on Friday 16th at 3pm, Jalan Duta High Court.

By Ashok Menon; JACBG

 —————————————————————————–

 

Time to speak up

Azira Shaharuddin, NST Streets, Thursday, 15 May 2008
http://www.nst.com.my/Current_News/Streets/Thursday/Stories/2240270/Article/index_html

 

 

 

KUALA LUMPUR: If you are unhappy with the air, the water, the streets you walk or issues related to the city, now is the time to speak out. After more than 20 years of preparation, the Kuala Lumpur City Plan 2020 is ready, and its draft copies can be viewed by the public from today.
The places to see the draft plans are City Hall (main lobby), Berjaya Times Square, TTDI Community Centre (library), KL Sentral (level 1), Gombak Community Centre, Carrefour Wangsa Maju (ground floor), Bandar Tun Razak Community Centre, Tesco Ampang, Kampung Kerinchi Community Centre, and Mid Valley City (level 1 and 2).
KLites have until June 30 to give their opinions on the draft plan to City Hall or voice their objections. After the deadline, the plan will be approved. Among the locations earmarked for development are Kuala Lumpur City Hall, Berjaya Times Square, TTDI Community Centre (library), KL Sentral station and Mid Valley City.
With the availability of the draft plan, the public can now have a good idea of how KL is going to be developed in the future. Seputeh MP Teresa Kok said she hopes the views and requests of the public are accepted by City Hall and incorporated into the plan. She urged members of the public to get a copy of the plan (which will be on sale from today), study it and voice their opinions.
Teresa said she was invited twice for meetings with City Hall to formulate the plan but she could not attend as the notice was given at the last minute. “It gives the impression that Kuala Lumpur City Hall doesn’t want to consult the MPs,” she said.
Cheras MP Tan Kok Wai said: “Members of the public should get a copy of the book as this has important consequences on our way of living in the future. He said the plan defines usage of land in the city and other important aspects of town planning such as public transport, basic amenities and green lungs.
He suggested that Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Zulhasnan Rafique allow all the Kuala Lumpur MPs to attend the meetings to study proposals and objections by KLites and residents’ associations. “We are representatives of the people, we know our areas well, he said.
Tan said he would meet soon with residents in Cheras and tell them what would happen to their neighbourhoods. “I will gather their feedback and give it to City Hall on their behalf.”
Local government and city planning expert, Derek Fernandez said the draft plan is a detailed zoning and development plan of Kuala Lumpur as required by law since 1984. “It’s an important plan to determine locations of the high rise projects, green lungs and many more. It’s like the architect plan of a house such as the location of the bathroom, bedroom but on a bigger scale,” he said. Derek said if the Kuala Lumpur Local Plan 2020 is approved with everything clearly spelt out, it would lead to fewer disputes with the residents and the local authorities.
“If the plan is too general, it can give rise to contentious issues. But once the plan is gazetted, there would be no more public hearing and the residents have to comply with everything in the plan,” he said.
He said city folk should ask for the right to be heard even after the plan was approved as even the Petaling Jaya Local Draft Plan 1 allows it.

Today (5th May 2008), the JACBG lawyers filed a 2nd Judicial Review to challenge the legality of the 3 approvals (i.e. Sub-division of Land, Hoarding Work and Earthworks approvals). The High Court hearing of 23rd and 25th of April had showned that DBKL and GMSB will persist in legal manoeuvers to prevent arguments that will show how they have been circumventing the regulations in the Federal Territories Planning Act (1982) as well as other laws to favour greedy developers and DBKL’s ongoing practice of non-transparency of approval processes.
 
To ensure that the Stay Order and Judicial Reviews of DBKL decisions can be heard and conducted more efficiently without DBKL/GMSB lawyers deploying delay tactics, JACBG lawyers had requested that a combined hearing of Stay Order and 2nd Judicial Review be held. Hence, today’s hearing was suspended and the High Court has fixed the date for such a hearing for Friday, 16th May 2008, beginning at 3pm.
 
GMSB has also began scare tactics by questioning JACBG’s lawyers’ wisdom in causing delays in hearing and threatening residents on potential damages from legal actions taken.  The facts are that DBKL had refused to provide any information of approvals requested by the residents after the 14th November 2007 meeting with DBKL Director of Planning (Tuan Haji Mahadi). On the contrary, despite assurances at that meeting, DBKL issued Hoarding Work approval on 16th November 2007, followed by earthworks approval on 31st December 2008. Details of approvals were first revealed by GMSB only 4 days before the 23rd April hearing. In defiance of High Court direction to provide information to the residents at least a month before 23rd April, DBKL only revealed issuance of approvals a day before that hearing.
 
DBKL and GMSB lawyers had also deliberately prevented the Stay Order (as as a consequence, the interim ex-parte Interim Stop Order) from proceeding speedily by a combination of late provision of affidavits and legal manoeuvers to stall JACBG lawyers’ arguments. GMSB quite conveniently failed to highlight that they have on a ‘goodwill’ basis stopped hoarding work nor the fact that earthworks have yet to begin.
 
GMSB proudly announced that they are part of the Santuary Gasing Group of companies. Their tactics now are reminisent of tactics used by Gasing Heights Sdn Bhd (also part of Sanctuary Gasing Group) in June 1991 legal action for damages against 7 residents that had filed for a Judicial Review against decision by MPPJ (as it were then). In August 1996, Judge Mahadev Shanker (one of the Judges in the Royal Commission for Lingam Tape episode), had ruled against Gasing Heights Sdn Bhd’s damages claim of RM34.8M against the residents.
 
It worth noting the words used by Judge Mahadev Shanker regarding a Sanctuary Gasing Group company in his judgement:
 
‘I struck this action out on the ground that the statement of claim did not disclose a reasonable cause of action and also on the ground that it was an abuse of the process of this Court.’
 
‘In the light of my other findings I do not think it is necessary for me to go into the developer’s motives for filing this action.’
 
‘Suffice to say in conclusion that I hope the award for costs against the developer in this case and a proper understanding of the law should persuade future litigants who wish to take up a plea of abuse of process that it would be in their best interests to avail themselves of the salutary provisions of O 18 r 19(1) of the Rules of High Court 1980.’
 
For those interested in learning more about tactics of GMSB, ala Sanctuary Gasing Group, do look at the following link:
http://hba.org.my/laws/CourtCases/1996/gasing_heights.htm
 
The 108 applicant for Judicial Review against DBKL and many more residents in the vicinity remain resolute in their pursuit of justice from the High Courts as DBKL will not act to protect their interests. They will not be intimidated by a greedy developer out to make money at the expense of their well being and wontan destruction of environment that should have been preserved for the benefit of the public in KL and PJ. 

Gary Yeoh
JAC for Bukit Gasing (JACBG)

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 2.30pm, 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

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