img high Court April 2009

The Star Metro – Monday April 27, 2009

By YIP YOKE TENG

RESIDENTS of Bukit Gasing are delighted that the High Court has granted them leave to proceed with an application to nullify the development order on a Bukit Gasing project issued on Oct 2, 2007 by the then Kuala Lumpur mayor Ruslin Hassan.

The application for leave was filed by residents and the Joint Action Committee of Bukit Gasing (JACBG) in an effort to seek a public hearing on the said development.

The next hearing has been set for May 27.

“We clearly believe that our call for justice has been heard by the judge,” said JACBG committee member Gary Yeoh.

“We demand from the City Hall our right to be heard, especially after the tragedies at Bukit Antarabangsa, Bukit Ceylon and Jalan Semantan. We are talking about 890 units in three condominium blocks, a 23million-litre reservoir and Bukit Gasing that has a history of being geologically unstable,” he added.

Another resident Kamar Mohamed urged the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) and new mayor Datuk Ahmad Fuad Ismail to act in accordance with the Prime Minister’s call of “people first” and “performance now”.

“We hope they won’t waste any more of the court’s time and show us transparency in approving and executing projects,” he said.

Lawyer R. Sivarasa, who represented the residents, said the judge had ruled that the case was not vexatious and had therefore given the green light.

“Justice Lau Bee Lan sees this as a serious issue that needs to be debated, agreeing that we have a point and the residents deserve to be heard,” he said.

He said the issue to be raised at the next hearing would be whether residents in Kuala Lumpur had the right to be heard when a development project took place near their houses.

According to him, the local authority had denied the request for a public hearing based on the Federal Territory Planning Act 1982, which stipulated that such action was not required when the development did not involve change of land use and density.

“However, the rest of the country has the right to do so as stated in the Town and Country Planning Act 1976 (Amendment) 2001, regardless of the change of land use or density,” he said.

In a press statement, the developer, Gasing Meridien Sdn Bhd (GMSB), said it was concerned that Justice Lau “had left opened a matter of whether the complainant had legal interest to apply for a judicial review of the development order”, adding that it would work with its counsel to make additional presentations at the next hearing.

It reiterated that all approvals, including the Development Order, Hoarding Permit and Earthworks Permit, had been obtained and that the project had been reviewed by the Sensitivity Committee of the Federal Territories Ministry, which comprised 13 agencies (including the Malaysian Public Works Institute (Ikram), Selangor Department of Environment (JAS), Mineral and Geosciences Depart­ment (JMG), Drainage and Irrigation Department (JPS) and JKR Cerun).

“Our development is not part of the forest reserve. Our land has been privately titled with the express land use condition of ‘Bangunan’ since 1977 (well before any of the complainants came to live in the area). We highlight that there has been no change in use or density,” the statement reads.

“The geology of the area is safe and sturdy. For almost two decades, it has sustained not just many bungalows but even condominiums weighing over 64,000 tonnes each.

“We highlight that in comparison the load per bungalow is less than 180 tonnes each.”

http://thestar.com.my/metro/story.asp?file=/2009/4/27/central/3770241&sec=central

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