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