Wed, 08 Sep 2010

By Teoh El Sen

PETALING JAYA: Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar is upset with the Kuala Lumpur High Court’s decision yesterday to allow developer Gasing Meridian Sdn Bhd to proceed with the construction of 70 bungalows on the hill slopes of Bukit Gasing. She said the court had “ruled against the people of Bukit Gasing” and that Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) mayor had broken his “promise” that Bukit Gasing would be gazetted as a forest reserve.

“The world is moving towards a new era of being green by developing sustainable neighbourhoods, yet DBKL has taken a step back by allowing an unscrupulous developer to ransack a pristine green lung that belongs to the people of KL,” said the MP.

“The (previous) mayor (Ab Hakim Borhan) had promised the people that Bukit Gasing would be gazetted as a forest reserve.

“The current mayor (Ahmad Fuad Ismail) said that he would take hillside developments seriously and that he would not agree to the developments of four hills, namely Bukit Gasing, Bukit Nenas, Bukit Tabur and Sungai Besi. Where is the mayor then and where is the mayor now?” she asked.
A tale of two KLs

Nurul Izzah said with the construction of the bungalows, city folks, hikers and joggers, will be forever deprived of a breathing space. And on top of that, the area could face more landslides.

“The consequence of this inaction by DBKL is enormous. Three months ago, a landslide hit the Sri Maha Kaliaman Temple (in Bukit Gasing) where 20 devotees were in the midst of prayers.

“This was in addition to the countless landslides that have occurred there in the past 30 years,” she said, adding that each bungalow would cost between RM2.6 and RM6.3 million.

“Where is sustainable living that DBKL promised the people living in this city? Where are our ministers? Isn’t it time for them to act accordingly? The time to act is now and not later.

“This is a tale of two KLs where the state’s unelected local authority transgresses the rights and interest of those they are supposed to serve. Whose rights and interests are they protecting?” she asked.

Only rich can afford nature’s gift

Nurul Izzah said Bukit Gasing has been likened by World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to a green lung in the middle of an urban jungle.

“The hill has more than 10 hiking tracks. One can still see monkeys and various types of birds. This is an ideal place for people to relax and exercise while enjoying nature’s scenery.

“Families and friends congregate on this hill frequently especially during the weekends. Sadly this panoramic view of KL and PJ will soon be inaccessible to our children,” she said.

“The colorful plants, flowers, and fruits will be diminished among the eyes of the general public and only those who can afford it would be able to access nature’s gift,” she added.

Nurul Izzah said she hoped the residents of Bukit Gasing would appeal against this ruling for the benefit of all those who live in Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya.

“I hope the mayor of KL would remember his pledge to the people. I hope that the developer would develop a conscience and leave this pristine hill untouched. Finally, I hope that the people would continue to voice their support to protect Bukit Gasing.

“We would not benefit most from this fight but rather our children, and the future generations to come that would grow up and appreciate this green space that is left for them,” she said.

Yesterday, High Court judge Aziah Ali dismissed a judicial review application by 108 Bukit Gasing residents to quash the development order to build 70 bungalows at Bukit Gasing.

The development order was issued by the then Kuala Lumpur mayor Ruslin Hassan.

The project, Sanctuary Ridge Kuala Lumpur City, is to be built on a 15.4 ha site in Bukit Gasing.