Dear Friends,

A week ago, the tragic events at Bukit Antarabangsa brought home the dangers of uncontrolled and poorly regulated planning approvals. Predictably, as in a well rehearsed “black comedy”, a chorus of sadness, regret, studies and promises for action followed. As night follows day, finger pointing and passing the proverbial buck quickly trot along. And so, we Malaysians, conditioned by many years of powerlessness to challenge the mighty forces, shake our collective heads and look the other way.

Yet, shouldn’t we pause and ask if each one of us can contribute in some way to stopping the rot that is slowly killing our ability to enjoy the life and the country we have? One need not be a martyr to be able to contribute to change. Each of us has the capacity to assist with the struggle for change.

Looking back to 26th January 2008, a group of some 300 people in our area (Gasing Condos/Gasing Indah/Petaling Gardens) gathered at the local community hall and collectively gave support to the JAC for Bukit Gasing to challenge DBKL. The donations collected and pledges made on that day amounted to RM28,000.  That meeting encouraged the JACBG to reach out and succeeded in getting 108 people to file a Judicial Review against DBKL’s refusal to hold a public hearing. See => and

In taking legal action in the face of seemingly unstoppable powers of DBKL, Bukit Gasing is still dressed with cover of trees. We still have one of the main reasons why we all choose this place to be home. Still, it could easily have become like the Medan Damansara horror show. How easily could another time bomb be planted in our vicinity.

As a result of the Judicial Review court hearings, we found that earthworks approval had been given on 31st January 2008. Yet, on the 14th November 2007 at a meeting with DBKL, we were given the impression that no development order had been given and only a sub-division of land approval had been given. We were lead to believe that DBKL valued our inputs regarding the “proposed development” and our fears for our lives and homes. Even more amazingly, DBKL’s line of defence through out the hearing is that they had the right to proceed with approvals without due consideration of our fears for our lives and homes.

Despite the tragedy of Bukit Antarabangsa and Ulu Yam deaths, Amanah Raya/CIMB Building retaining wall collapse, and the reported landslip at Bukit Damansara today, the FT Minister and DBKL are still not prepared to come clean to call a halt to hillside developments. For residents in Gasing Indah, Gasing Condos and Petaling Gardens, there is to be a delay in making any decisions based on a somewhat questionable reason of legal suit. Medan Damansara residents will continue to live under uncertain times without clear cut decision to rehabilitate and restore their steep hillslopes.  To cap that, the “mighty forces” have filed defamation suit against the 4 office bearers of their RA. I am sure many others elsewhere are aware of similar action take by forces against accountability.

At this juncture, it seems the “nothing will ever change” and prophecy of powerlessness of “small people” are proven. Yet, do you expect the beast to lay down and be dispatched forthwith? Surely, you would expect it to fight back. The really question is are we prepared to continue the fight. Defeat follows when we give up. Battles can be lost, but the war need not be over. Success in stamping the rot is achievable and can be reached if we each lend a hand.

Residents Associations are beginning to mobilize to challenge forces that have too long had their way at residents’ expense. Safety of homes and risks to lives are increasing. The big question remains how many of you will be part of the change and not allow the light lit to be blown out? Visible and constructive support when called for and financial contributions are ways that each one of us can choose to give. If each give whatever is in their capacity to give, the struggle can be won.

Each one of us can contribute to making a difference. If not for ourselves, then for the generation to come. It is when someone should and nobody did that tragedy and pain continues. Will you act?

Many thanks and regards
Gary Yeoh
JAC for Bukit Gasing