Despite the many disasters caused by irresponsible development on hill slopes and outrage voiced by many victims of irresponsible development, planning authorities seem to conduct their business very much as before.  Bukit Gasing is again back in the news in recent days.

Bukit Gasing – KL Side

The mayor of KL had made comments to The Star (dated 14th July 2010) wishing to gazette Bukit Gasing and talked about not allowing developments in Bukit Gasing. Upon closer examination, the proposal covered only 52.6 hectares out of 113 hectares of Bukit Gasing within its jurisdiction. The proposal seems to allow for all the developments set out in the Draft KL City Plan. Worst still, this is now less than the 54 hectares that was planned by DBKL in April 2006.

DBKL appears to be on the verge of approving a development of two (2) 26 stories condominium in Bukit Gasing as well.  This is not withstanding the fact the area where the proposed development was not even listed as for such a high density in the much disputed Draft KL City Plan. There were numerous objections submitted to DBKL regarding the Draft KL City Plan tabled in May 2008. The decision of the Hearing Committee for the draft KL City Plan has yet to be made public.

Bukit Gasing – PJ Side

As if competing for a new 1Malaysia “NKRA”, 91 plots of land on steep and unstable slopes of Bukit Gasing along Jalan 5/60 is now up for sale by Petaling Gardens Sdn Bhd. The current attempt to spur property development (sic) on the section of Bukit Gasing where Sivan and Sri Maha Kaliamman temples are situated should sound alarm bells to both residents of PJ and potential buyers.  Sri Maha Kaliamman was almost destroyed at end of May 2010 and Sivan Temple renovations/extensions resulted in a landslide in March 2008.

Petaling Garden Sdn Bhd is part of I&P Group Sdn Bhd, whilst I&P Group Sdn Bhd is a wholly owned subsidiary of Permodalan Nasional Berhad. Isn’t it amazing that with such a prestigious lineage, no “health warning” was posted with the plot notices?

Still, we hope that MBPJ (with the help of Councilor, Derek Fernandez) will exert the full force of planning controls before any building is  approved and residents will be given a full public hearing. Then again, maybe well meaning buyers may wish to contribute to the “NKRA” by buying the plots and then leaving them as green lungs for PJ and KL residents.

Distortions Galore

Most readers of this blog would have read about the many disasters caused by irresponsible developments on steep hill slopes across Malaysia. Yet, it seems time and time again approving authorities are unwilling to exert their planning responsibilities to ensure developments and controls are in place to ensure safe developments.

Increasingly, DBKL seems determined to win the “Oscars” for the least concerned authority for environmental matters and the well being of its residents. Despite the many concerns raised by residents around Bukit Gasing and NGOs on the need to stop development on Bukit Gasing, there has been no real change. When will DBKL walk its talk about responsible development and preservation of scarce green lung and open spaces?

Much has been said by some about land owners having the right to develop land they have purchased. Surely such rights must not to compromise the rights of the public to expect that developments will be safe for existing as well as future residents. It must be incumbent on approving authorities to ensure that developments are sustainable developments and are safe.

Residents affected by proposed development by Gasing Meridian Sdn Bhd will be at the KL High Courts to hear the High Court’s decision regarding the Judicial Review against DBKL for approving developments on Bukit Gasing on Monday 6th September 2010 (2:30pm). The proposed development is known as “Sanctuary Ridge”.  The developer, in its efforts to sugar wrap the nature of its proposed development, has recently created “Community Happenings” at Bukit Gasing website. It is no more than a masquerade for presenting “Sanctuary Ridge” to potential buyers.

According to Dr. Raffick (Bukit Antarabangsa blogger), there is yet more shenanigans afoot at Bukit Antarabangsa. 101 Guide to buy a house for dummies!” is a must read and yet another example of the “Malaysia Boleh” spirit of distortions and contortions of the mighty.

It should be clear to all that being silent and passive will not make developers and authorities step up to responsible and sustainable development.  We must continue the fight to regain our rights to have safe and sustainable developments in our nation.

Note: Do click the links embedded in the writing above for more information.

Gary Yeoh – JAC for Bukit Gasing.