Sadly, we have 2 fatalities resulting from the landslide at Ulu Yam during early morning on Sunday. Reports suggests that the bungalows were built 8 years ago. This is yet another warning of how our planning authorities’ failures to impose adequate controls on hillside developments can cost lives. As many of us now know, the “trust us, we are professionals and follow regulations” mantra of planning authorities and in particular DBKL rings hollow in the light of recent disasters.

What will it take for DBKL and all other local authorities to wake up to the fact that there have to be a pause on hillside and steep hill slope developments? How many more families grief stricken over loss of their beloved will it take before the authorities accept and act to review and implement proper evaluation and controls on such developments? Evidence, especially from DBKL, show that they care less than 2 sens about safety and the environment, and are more interested in protecting rights of the developers.

It is indeed sad that many still do not seem to accept that there are few developers that are diligent in their approach to having developments that are safe for both the buyers and residents in the neighbourhood. Authorities seem to allow buildings before establishing if the environment is safe. We can only hope that this tragedy helps to demonstrate that the fears of residents in Medan Damansara, Bukit Gasing, Taman Hijau, Tanjung Bungah (Penang) and so many others across the country are well justified.

PS: The Judicial Review action against DBKL by residents near to the proposed at Bukit Gasing (KL Side) is set to continue on 2nd Jan 2009. The lawyer acting on behalf of the developer (Gasing Meridian Sdn. Bhd) appears to have much more to say despite being given more time on 28th Nov 2008. After 11 hearings, we are no closer to concluding the inter-parte “leave” for the Judicial Review hearing. It’s perhaps not surprising that most residents often find it hard to go against vested interests and developers as they seem to have deep pockets and would not hesitate use legal processes to their dubious advantage.


Gary Yeoh

JAC for Bukit Gasing