Lawyers Derek Fernandez & YB Sivarasa with residents of Bukit Gasing after the hearing. 

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Whilst Medan Damansara residents live in fear  and residents near to hill slope developments clean up and count the costs in Penang,  residents living in fear of development by Gasing Meridian Sdn. Bhd. (GMSB) on Bukit Gasing where at the  at High Court KL today (9th September, 2008).

 

Our lawyer, Sivarasa Rasiah, opened with usual prologue of parties involved, previous hearing (or non hearing” of 13th June 2000) and agreed exchanges subsequently. A list of various filings and affidavits were highlighted for court attention. The main issues for today’s hearing appear to be: i) 2nd Judicial Review filing (pertaining to the 3 DBKL approvals), and ii) Stay Order (interim stop order) on development orders.

 

Sivarasa then presented certain chronology of events, including GMSB application to be 2nd respondent. Various points made relate to the meeting between Bukit Gasing residents with DBKL on 14th November 2007 on “Sub-Division of Land”. References were made regarding minutes of the meeting presented to DBKL by JAC for Bukit Gasing and DBKL’s version of the meeting. Significantly, the commonalities between the minutes were that “no DO was issued” and that DBKL had only approved the sub-division of land to GMSB.

 

 The court was told that despite various requests to DBKL for a copy of sub-division of land approval and layout plans, DBKL did not provide any information until 15th May 2008. The first sight of the approval was made available by GMSB on 16th April 2008 and not DBKL. It was via GMSB’s affidavit of that instant that residents came to know that 2 further approvals were given. The additional approvals were hoarding works (16th November 2008) and earthworks (31st January 2008).

 

 Various references were made to DBKL’s minutes of the meeting of 14th Nov07 that stressed on  no development order was given and sub-division was only a planning approval. Hence, claims by DBKL and GMSB of Judicial Review being out of jurisdiction of the court on “limitation of time” rule do not apply.  Other public statements by DBKL (Director of Planning DBK, Tuan Hj Mahadi admitting error in information) and Deputy FT Minister stating adamantly that no DO was issued speak in support of applicants’ position that Judicial Review request is right and proper.

 

 DBKL had informed residents that sub-division of land is only a planning approval and no development would be approved without thorough studies. Tuan Hj Mahadi had made statements that the 2 phased condition of lapsed DO of 1999 will be studied and perhaps more stringent conditions could result in consideration of applicable regulations. In fact, when the sub-division of land issued by DBKL was examined in full, it contradicts itself by first stating it’s for planning purpose and then sets out other notices that lead to the hoarding and earthworks approvals being processed as “administrative” (scribe’s own understanding) consequences.

 

As a layman, I am puzzled by DBKL’s speaking with forked tongue.  Is this a precursor to Bukit Gasing residents having to suffer the same fate as Medan Damansara and hundreds of other residents near hill slope developments in Penang?

 

 DBKL and GMSB position remained that of challenging jurisdiction of the court on “limitation of time” that had been rebutted by Sivarasa. A number of other legalities beyond the understanding of the scribe were thrown in as well.

 

Some exchanges between lawyers and the bench ensued. The clock ticked on.  As 5pm approached, exchanges turned to setting of the next hearing.

 

The hearing concluded that a further hearing on Friday, 24th October 2008 is to be held starting at 10:30am.  Given the expressed opinion of parties involved, the next hearing is set to continue into the afternoon.

 

Residents of Bukit Gasing and the many following this case wait as “In search for Justice” continues.  

 

Gary Yeoh

JAC for Bukit Gasing

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