A comment had been put up by A.L. in response to the collapse of retaining wall at Medan Damansara/Damansara 21 that seems to be in defence of developers and Redha.

Is A.L. somewhat confused about the reality of hillslopes and engineering? Whilst he notes fallen trees on the way to Fraser Hills, he fails to note that “engineering” has been unable to counter the tendencies of nature to react. If anything, he has provided further evidence supporting development on steep hillslope as risky, despite the capabilities touted by developers.

A.L. should understand that because of the many disasters on hillslope, guidelines on hillslope development were made. Current hillslope guidelines specifically prohibits developments above 25 degrees. The disaster at Medan Damansara would have been avoided if DBKL had applied the rules. Highland Towers would not have fallen if MPAJ had not approved further development up on steeper hillslopes.

Medan Damansara disaster is a result of the developer rushing to cut down trees on steep hillslope before adequate mitigation measure are taken. Has A.L. not seen the shamefull sheets of plastic masquerading as hillslope mitigation measures? To allude to the current disaster as a result of delays because of residents opposition is simplistic. A.L. should have taken note that the developer did not provide for adequate sedimentation ponds even at the earliest stage. Such is the rush to make profit!

The issues here relate to irresponsible developers and approving authorities. Rules have been ignored and required thorough studies and conditions were not made. If A.L. had, but consider the record of of developers rushing to build on hillslopes for profit or how inadequate approving authorities had been, he would not be so quick at turning a blind eye to the real danger of further hillslope development.

Past errors cannot justify continuing ignorance of our need to conserve limited forested resource in KL and Klang Valley.  It is our tendency to pursue economic and material gains that have led us to our current state of globe warming and diminishing water retention capacity provided for by forested areas. In Klang Valley, our rush to convert greens to concrete has resulted in flash floods, landslides and loss of lives. Our lack of provision for adequate infrastructures (e.g. drainage, transportation and other utilities) before building of all kinds are allowed to sprout cannot be allowed to continue.

It is time we cease to be deluded by developers’ claims of responsible, safe and sustainable development. What we need is responsible planning authorities that will look after the interest of many as opposed to that of the privileged few. Developers’ lack of care may result in tragedies years after they have sold their properties to the unsuspecting home buyers. It is time we have transparent approval processes with compliance with the requirements of hillslope development. We are not so short of land resources to justify steep hillslope development. Our municipal, city and state authorities must plan more professionally to control greedy developers.

Our pass ignorance must not be continued. Let sustainable development begin. Our future generation will judge us by our complicity in further destruction of our already limited green lungs.

Gary Yeoh
JAC for Bukit Gasing.