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This was a seminar that would have greatly benefitted the slumbering citizens of KL. It exposed the numerous occassions that DBKL (and the ex Selangor State government) had made concerned citizens and environmental groups run in circles, and from pillar to post when seeking help from the very authorities who should have been there to assist them and who instead, played a very elaborate game of deceit and concealment so that they could proceed with their agenda of defrauding the nation and its taxpayers through stealthy ‘development projects.’

Many of us heard for the first time of the ‘Bukit Sungei Puteh Forest Reserve’ (adjoing the Tmn Cupecs in Cheras and the State boundary), which is a 15 minute drive from KL and which of course no more – more than 1000 acres of a 100 million year old forest that the British gazetted in 1930, and which the Selangor State govt shamelessly de-gazetted for ‘development.’ For sure there were valliant attempts by a small group of activists, but the State and Federal machinery that had a strong hold on information dissemination through media, made sure that Malaysia citizens would remain blissfully ignorant of the massive destruction to heritage and environment.

Yes, long before Bukit Gasing became an issue, there were other rich pickings to plunder, and when all that was done with, the attention is now focussed on ‘mopping up’ operations … like Bukit Gasing, Federal Hill, Medan Damansara, Bangsar etc.

Ashok Menon

JAC Bukit Gasing


Monday June 16, 2008

http://thestar.com.my/metro/story.asp?file=/2008/6/16/central/21561683&sec=central

YIP YOKE TENG

The Coalition to Save Kuala Lumpur may eventually challenge the legality of the draft Kuala Lumpur City Plan 2020 in court as more residents associations and NGOs are convinced that it is fundamentally flawed.

Objection against the draft plan 2020 grows more intense with more parties recognising that it has failed to conform to the policies of low density in the National Physical Plan, National Urbanisation Plan and Kuala Lumpur Structure Plan 2020.

However, the coalition will seek intervention from the Prime Minister, the Cabinet and parliamentarians before heading to court.

Concerned ones: Panel of speakers at the KL Green Lung seminar organised by Malaysian Nature Society, (from left) Malaysian Nature Society executive director Dr Loh Chi Leong, Sri Bukit Persekutuan representative Charles Tan, Bukit Kiara representative Dr Pola Singh, MNS vice-president Datuk Dr Hashim Abdul Wahab, Bukit Sungai Puteh representative Dr Anne Munro-Kua and Bukit Gasing Joint Action Committee member Gary Yeoh.

The society, following the conclusion of the KL Green Lung seminar it organised on June 14 at Rimba Ilmu building in Universiti Malaya, is submitting a report to the Federal Territories Ministry and the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) to show its stand.

The report would also point out the need to strengthen existing laws to prohibit the de-gazetting of forest reserves as past experiences showed that green lung encroachments started with the local authority doing that without public knowledge.

An e-forum would be formed to bring together people wanting to save green lungs and to save Kuala Lumpur from becoming an all-choked-up city, while expanding the network of the Coalition to Save Kuala Lumpur.

“The gazetted open spaces, recreational and sports facilities in KL in 2000 accounts for 6.52% of the total KL land use,” said the society’s vice-president, Datuk Dr Hashim Abdul Wahab, who is also the organising chairman.

“However, if we were to add in the unused green areas or ungazetted land, the figure would increase up to 36% – this will be most suitable towards reaching a world-class city status,” he added.

The seminar was attended by residents’ representatives and was received warmly.

It was learnt that the DBKL was invited to the seminar and had confirmed attendance but pulled out a day before.

Meanwhile, the coalition has prepared a letter to alert the Prime Minister and his Cabinet about the draft KL City Plan 2020’s violation of the policies in the three plans.

It was penned by the alliance’s head Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahman and supported by all 22 organisations under the coalition.

“If necessary, the coalition, through the MPs, would seek to move a motion in parliament or to order a commission of inquiry into the planning of Kuala Lumpur to see if there was abuse of power,” said the coalition’s legal adviser Derek Fernandez.

The attendees opposed the draft plan’s intention to increase the city’s population by 600,000 in 12 years, calling that “a self-imposed criteria”, as it would only worsen the already serious problems of traffic, flooding, pollution and cost escalation.

They felt that the direction was fundamentally flawed as the National Physical Plan and National Urbanisation Plan had spelled out that developments should be spread across the identified conurbations, which should cover Seremban, Putrajaya and parts of Selangor in the case of the KL conurbation, to reach the ideal density of 25 people per hectare.

“Although the density in KL has exceeded that, we want the average density for the whole conurbation to be 25 people per hectare.

“KL is fully saturated, its density has to be reduced, it should not absorb the 600,000 people as the government’s intention is for them to be spread across the conurbation,” he said.

He added that the National Physical Planning Council had set a target of open space coverage of 2ha per 1,000 people for KL as compared with merely 0.36ha now.

The open space coverage per 1,000 people for major cities are London (4ha), Melbourne (2ha), New York (2ha) and Toronto (2ha).

Fernandez also emphasised that DBKL officials should not use “pre-approved development” to justify their leniency towards developers as Section 24 of the Federal Territory Planning Act 1982 clearly stated that all Development Orders expire in one year.

Attendees expressed their frustration resulting from DBKL’s manner in dealing with their objections towards hillside developments, citing “the push-around treatment, officials’ false statements, empty promises and utter arrogance”.

They reckoned that new paradigms should be adopted to deal with the authorities, hence the need to further inculcate awareness and encourage involvement through ICT, as well as to be green voters. It was also unanimously agreed that an elected local government would be the remedy for many of the problems.

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In their effort to creatively conceal the fact that the KL Draft Plan 2020 grossly violates the ‘National Public Planning’ laws enacted in parliament on population density controls, DBKL has introduced its latest obfuscation called the “private open spaces’, which unfortunately must have been coined to fool idiots. Perhaps they have equally atrocious other tems up their sleeves like “really private public spaces” (this could be your living room) or “really, really private public spaces” (your bathrooms) etc.

This is the sad, sad state of affairs with DBKL.

Ashok Menon

JAC Bukit Gasing

 

 

 Surprisingly, the part of Bukit Gasing earmarked for 68 bungalow lots has been named “Gasing Indah” in the draft plan, said Bukit Gasing Joint Action Committee member Gary Yeoh

 

TheStar MetroCentral, Monday June 16, 2008

http://thestar.com.my/metro/story.asp?file=/2008/6/16/central/21561682&sec=central

The term “private open space” introduced in the draft Kuala Lumpur City Plan 2020 had experts, residents and environmentalists scratching their heads at the KL Green Lung seminar organised by the Malaysian Nature Society on Saturday at Rimba Ilmu, Universiti Malaya.

A table in the draft plan indicates that the city aspires to increase the ratio of public parks and open space to population (sq m per person) from the current 7 to 11, which is almost double.

The area required to achieve this target is 2,418ha but the total land allocated for public parks in 2020 is 1,882ha (at present 1,543ha).

So, where does the rest of the open space come from?

According to Malaysian Nature Society executive director Dr Loh Chi Leong, the answer he received from the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) and the draft plan’s consultants in a recent briefing was that the rest would be “private open space”.

“They said developers would in the future be required to set aside 30% of their development area as open space.

“However, we wonder how is that going to be implemented as these so-called private open space will be private areas, which are not obliged to be open to the public,” he said.

Moreover, the ratio of 11 was still far from the National Physical Plan’s target of 20, he added.

Dr Loh also pointed out that even though the draft plan had listed out the environmental protection zones, there were still more open space in the city, such as those in Hartamas and Damansara, that ought to be protected.

He added that despite the technical complexity of the draft plan, it did not show clearly how much of the remaining 36% open space and unused green areas in the city had been earmarked for development.

“Even though it does not show how much land will be touched eventually, encroachment into Bukit Gasing is already a clear sign to this,” he said.

Residents from affected areas were invited to share their experiences of seeing green lungs raped by unsustainable development.

Bukit Gasing

Surprisingly, the part of Bukit Gasing earmarked for 68 bungalow lots has been named “Gasing Indah” in the draft plan, said Bukit Gasing Joint Action Committee member Gary Yeoh.

“On top of that, even though it is said clearly in the draft plan that areas above 100m of Bukit Gasing would be protected, the planned development will in fact cut through the hill’s peak at 135m,” he said.

More worryingly, the planned development is just next to a 23mil litre capacity reservoir that supplies water to Petaling Jaya and Shah Alam.

The hill’s soil combination of sandstone and shale has been confirmed by academicians as not fit for development and a landslide ocurred last year just at the doorsteps of the Sivan Temple, but all these have not stopped developers from eyeing its lucrative returns.

Federal Hill

To the shock of residents, the stretch of Federal Hill earmarked for the much-opposed development has been changed from an institutional land to commercial.

The piece of “commercial land” will house a police station.

“It is the first time we are hearing of a commercial police station,” said Sri Bukit Persekutuan representative Charles Tan.

Bukit Kiara

Despite having been gazetted as forest reserve, Bukit Kiara has not been spared from damage with some parties chopping down trees and clearing land to create a 25km-long horse trail, said speaker Dr Pola Singh.

Under maintained water points for horses are becoming mosquito-breeding grounds, not to mention a string of consequences of the horse trail such as soil erosion and muddy land surface.

Bukit Sungai Putih

The “death” of Bukit Sungai Putih in Cheras started with the local council secretly de-gazetting the forest reserve that was gazetted in the 1930s.

Speaker Dr Anne Munro-Kua said the residents found out about the “crime” the hard way when a jogger spotted land-clearing and was beaten up by the workers.

Strong protests over 12 years, including lodging complaints with the Anti-Corruption Agency, could not stop the local council from granting approvals to unscrupulous developers.

For more photos click on image:

 

2008 06 14 MNS KL Green Lung Seminar

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