Controversial hillslope projects like this one may have to come to a stop.

Controversial hillslope projects like this one may have to come to a stop.

NST Streets Friday, 12 December 2008

Noel Achariam

KUALA LUMPUR: A decision on whether hillside developments will be allowed to continue is to be announced today by Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Zulhasnan Rafique, but a ministry source says there will be “good news.”

Good news for whom? It is presumed he meant good news for the people.

After a month of close monitoring and conducting tests on controversial developments like Medan Damansara 21 and two other hillside projects, it now looks like these projects will be put on hold.

A City Hall source said a report has been submitted to the Cabinet recommending that the projects be stopped.

Several authorities, including City Hall, Federal Territories Ministry and Public Works Department, have been carrying out tests on the sites.

Zulhasnan had also visited the areas thrice in the last one month, said a ministry official in rebutting complaints that the minister has been turning a deaf ear to their pleas.

On Wednesday, a resident said his association had written three times to Zulhasnan but had never received a response.

The official said: “The residents claim that the minister did not visit the area. He went there unannounced. He need not inform the people that he was going there. He did not go there for publicity, but on a fact-finding mission.”

He said the visits were made even before the Bukit Antarabangsa landslip last week.

Medan Damansara residents have protested against the hillside development for the past two years.

The official said that after his site visits, Zulhasnan had instructed City Hall officials to study all aspects of the development and present a report. It is believed the report has been submitted to the Cabinet for further action.

Two other controversial KL projects, on Bukit Gasing and Bukit Ceylon, are also expected to be halted.

The ministry’s sensitive areas environment committee will be conducting more tests on all affected projects.

Other details such as the ministry’s views on monetary compensation demanded by residents, and legal implications of the proposed decisions, were not available.

The Medan Damansara 21 project, by a unit of Selangor Deredging, consists of 21 bungalows priced between RM10 million and RM15 million each. A recent landslip there caused two families to evacuate.

The Gasing Hill development, by Gasing Meridien Sdn Bhd, sits on a 10-metre ledge facing Pantai Hill Park and Andalucia condominium, and involves the construction of 142 bungalows.

Residents living nearby believe the development is unsafe.

Residents of the Federal Hill green lung are protesting against a proposal to build a nine-storey block of police quarters, three-storey police station and three high-rise blocks of commercial offices.

Residents are also concerned about the safety of the Bukit Ceylon hillside development, comprising a block of 34-storey apartments and three blocks of 43-storey apartments.