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Thursday June 16, 2011

By TAN KARR WEI
karrwei@thestar.com.my

KUALA LUMPUR City Hall (DBKL) will engage the Public Works Institute of Malaysia (Ikram) to determine if it is safe to carry out works on the land next to the Bukit OUG condominiums.

More than 20 Bukit OUG residents turned up at the DBKL headquarters in Jalan Raja Laut with Seputeh MP Teresa Kok to hand in a memorandum to voice their objections against the proposed developments on the land neighbouring their property.

Residents had previously called for a press conference at their condominiums last Saturday to highlight the issue after a notice board was erected to inform the public that there was an application to increase the density of the middle plot of land from 60 people per acre to 500.

Among their concerns were that earth works and land clearing have commenced even before the June 18 objection deadline.

“We are also not happy that we have not been informed about other developments in the area that has already been approved.

“We have not been presented with any EIA (environmental impact assessment) and traffic dispersal study reports,” said resident Tan Jo Hann, who was among the residents who met with KL mayor Tan Sri Ahmad Fuad Ismail.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Ahmad Fuad said there were several proposed developments on the parcels of land near the condominiums.

“One of them is a mixed development that has been approved at the One-Stop Centre (OSC) but the official approval has not been issued to them,” he said.

He also said that under the KL Structure Plan, the allowable density in the area was 400 people per acre and the approved development was only 240 people per acre.

“We received an application for a project that had a density of 500 people per acre and we would consider the application because there would be an LRT station there.

“However, we would take into account the feedback and opinions of the residents,” he added.

Ahmad Fuad said they would seek the help of Ikram to check on the safety of the slope and the types of reinforcement needed to be carried out.

He added that DBKL would investigate whether the landowners had flouted any regulations when they started land-clearing works before getting the approval to do so.

After the meeting, Tan said they would still insist on a public hearing to voice their opinions and would also get residents from other condominiums in the area for their support in the matter

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The article below was sent to a major MSM, but was not published and is put here to record ongoing residents’ concern for public safety.

The saga of Siva Temple and landslides epitomize how our authorities have failed the public in so many ways. Sadly, it’s just one of many examples all over the country where our authorities failed in their duties of implementing proper planning approvals and enforcement of laws. Steep hill slope developments present real and imminent risks to lives. Yet, year after year, we continue to see landslides caused by hill slope developments whilst the authorities continue to bow to hill slope developers’ demand for profit over lives and sustainable environment.

What is often forgotten is that hill slope developments leave in place time bombs that await the unsuspecting public. Highland Towers, Hulu Klang, Medan Damansara, Bukit Antarabangsa and the most recent tragic Ulu Langat orphanage disaster are all ample proof of failure of our authorities in enforcement of laws and regulations.

Siva Temple extensions caused its first landslide in March 2007. Despite the extensions being found to be illegal, it had remained and whatever remedial and risk mitigation works that were supposed to have been put in placed were so lacking that it resulted in a further landslide in January 2011. Warnings by concerned residents to the pending disaster back in 2007 were all in vain.

Whilst residents applaud the efforts of Derek Fernandez (councillor for the area) in ensuring that the exposed slopes are protected against further erosion, it must rest squarely on MBPJ to enforce the law. We wait with baited breath for much more substantial and tangible actions to be taken to right the wrong that has been inflicted against public safety and the beauty of Bukit Gasing.

The Siva Temple landslides should ring alarm bells to the public at how lacking our authorities are in monitoring potential risk zones and the prompt enforcement of laws to protect public safety. We now have to keep our fingers crossed that the “Aprons of Bukit Gasing” will be enough to prevent further landslides and risks to the Syabas pump station whilst MBPJ enforcement officers and Siva Temple committees hold meetings and discussions.

Notwithstanding the above remarks, we thank Derek Fernandez for his assertiveness in ensuring MBPJ acts to prevent the exposed slopes from becoming a mud flow.

As residents facing the threat of development on the steep hill slopes of Bukit Gasing, we continue to be alarm at how Bukit Gasing is reminding us all that we should leave it alone. Will DBKL take note of what is happening? Given the ample signs of instability of exposed slopes and buildings on Bukit Gasing, will DBKL now admit that they have a duty to give us a hearing before development is allowed?

DBKL approved the development of Medan Damansara 21. However, after the landslides and aprons on the steep hill slopes, the development had to reduce number of properties planned from 21 to 16 units for safety reasons. Yet, the developer sued DBKL and the Mayor of DBKL is seeking to settle it out of court. No doubt any payments to the developer will be at the expense of KL ratepayers.

The saga of Siva Temple, Ulu Langat and Medan Damansara landslides are warnings to the public that we can no longer rely on our authorities to do right for the safety of the public. Evidence abounds at how our authorities place developers’ rights over the public’s rights to live without fear of death by slope failures.

Gary Yeoh
JAC for Bukit Gasing

High-risk area: The tattered sheets on the slope below the Bukit Gasing temple

By VIJENTHI NAIR
vijenthi@thestar.com.my

THE Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) has installed durable tarpaulin sheets to replace the tattered ones on the hillslope near Bukit Gasing’s Sivan Temple on June 4.

Councillor Derek Fernandez said MBPJ contractors did the installation under the supervision of its engineering department and Public Works Institute of Malaysia (Ikram).

The cost of over RM20,000 was borne by MBPJ and will be charged to the temple trustees, who have agreed.

Early this year there was a landslip and the temple trustees were instructed to install proper tarpaulin sheets which they have failed to do, pending rectification work to reinforce the slope.

Better protection: The durable tarpaulin sheets installed by MBPJ to replace the torn ones.

Derek said the current legal tussle between the temple’s trustees and the newly-formed Bukit Gasing Sivan Temple Association — as to who is the rightful party to manage the temple — is hampering the rectification work.

“This is at best only a temporary solution and I hope the trustees or temple management will act in the best interest of the public and devotees and immediately start the hillslope rectification, reinforcement works and proper drainage.

“After all, both sides want to build a temple on the land for all and presumably both sides want this temple to be safe for the devotees and public. Both sides should put aside their differences and corporate to rectify the slope immediately,” he said.

“However, I would prefer another 150 meters of sheets to cover until the bottom subject to Ikram and engineering assessment,” he added.

http://thestar.com.my/metro/story.asp?file=/2011/6/7/central/8846300&sec=central

Google Map indicating the recent landslide area (Map by Mircea Tataru)

Upon receiving the photos yesterday, I immediately asked the mbpj engineering team and ikram to inspect site. Although there was no new landslide the situation was unacceptable as the temple trustees and consultant had use low grade covers for the exposed parts when they were specifically instructed by mbpj and ikram to use high quality covers that do not tear easily and degrade when exposed to UV lights. Two months ago the temple trustees agreed to do two things, one reduce load by removing some structures and rectifying slope and in the interim to cover area with proper sheeting. Nothing has been done by them because there is now a legal tussle between the temple trustees and another person both claiming to be the legitimate body to manage the temple. This other person had however entered the temple and did on his own accord remove several structures to lessen load and has submitted an application to start the slope rectification works within 2 weeks.  As this drama continues, we cannot wait for them. I today asked the mayor to authorize funds so that MBPJ and IKRAM will put up proper sheeting in the interests of public safety and we can bill the defaulters later. I am pleased to say the mayor immediately approved this and our contractor was up there today and will be there tomorrow with ikram to start getting the material and laying it. I am upset and expressed my disgust to the mayor and State Government  for our people and ikram not monitoring and ensuring compliance with the instructions given to the temple trustees to use proper cover material. This lackadaisical attitude makes a mockery of hillsite safety, and its time the state start sacking people. I am thankful for our resident’s vigilance. Such an unacceptable situation can lead to an increased risk of  slope failure, if there is say 3 days continuous rain. Anyway this is an interim measure and I hope the slope rectification starts soon. The state government must step in and not wait till the court decides who represents the temple and is responsible to do work. I will keep you informed of any developments.

DEREK FERNANDEZ

MBPJ Councillor

Section 5 & 10

‘Sivan Temple not open, site still unstable’ – YouTube Video

Contrary to claims, the Sivan Temple in Bukit Gasing has not been re-opened to the public, as the Petaling Jaya City Council does not deem the site to be safe as yet.

Full story : http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/155517

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