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This Signage was put up along Jalan 8/132, Gasing Indah on Sunday (4/9/2016)

You have less than 11 days to write in to DBKL.

Time to make known your objections to this project.

Please be informed that the scheduled leave hearing for our appeal to Federal Court on the matter of High Court award of damages assessment has been cancelled.

Federal Court is in the process of re-scheduling the hearing.

Posted on 29 January 2013 – 08:38pm
Last updated on 30 January 2013 – 12:31am

R. Nadeswaran

http://www.thesundaily.my/news/600982

Nades Amend laws with care

EVERY time it rains, colleagues in the office get phone calls from those staying around Bukit Gasing in Petaling Jaya. Most of us are familiar with the callers. It’s either erosion of parts of the hill or fear of landslides.

Speculation or otherwise, clearing hillslopes and building on them always invite public scrutiny and inevitably, bad news. Even the slightest trace of gravel on the road is enough to prompt calls but as a matter of fact, if you see bare slopes of the hill being washed down, what appears to be unfounded, becomes founded.

As this column is being written, there’s a visit to the area by the local MP and other party officials.

Despite sustained opposition from residents and environmentalists since 2005, the developer Gasing Meridian Sdn Bhd began earthworks on the Sanctuary Ridge Kuala Lumpur City project two years ago.

It had appointed consultant Ikram Engineering Services Sdn Bhd to monitor the construction of 69 bungalows on the 15ha land, which is supposed to put in place mitigation measures to ensure slope stability.

Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) admitted it could do nothing to stop the development in Bukit Gasing because doing so would require buying the land out of public funds.

Mayor Datuk Ahmad Phesal Talib was quoted as saying that DBKL had initially opposed the project, but now has no choice but to abide by a court order.

“(The developer) Gasing Meridian Sdn Bhd has already won the court case, how can we stop it?” he asked.

“Now we have to let Gasing Meridian to execute the project but with precautions. If we try to stop them we have to issue a notice of purchase.

“Who is buying? The public.”

Ahmad Phesal is echoing his predecessor, Tan Sri Ahmad Fuad Ismail who said: “The land belongs to the developer and DBKL would have to spend RM135 million if it were to acquire the land to gazette as a green lung.”

He said DBKL had already applied to gazette the neighbouring 52.6ha public land as a green lung in December 2010.

Ahmad Phesal is right and wrong. He’s right in the sense that the developer won a court case. Wrong in the sense that he does not want to admit that DBKL has become its own victim after amending the planning laws to suit its needs and to silence residents who wanted to express their views on safety.

DBKL moved the goalposts or changed the law after the then Supreme Court ruled against it in 1992 in the case of Datin Azizah Abdul Ghani v Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur & Others over its refusal to not allow her to take part in the planning decision making process.

The rules had provided that upon receipt of any application for planning permission, DBKL should inform the registered proprietors of the land adjoining the land to which the application relates, to enable them to exercise their right to object to the granting of planning permission.

Azizah, as an adjoining neighbour applied for an order of certiorari to quash the decision of the mayor on the grounds that she was never given an opportunity to object, since she never received the DBKL notice calling for objections.

In 1994, DBKL changed the law and the right to a public hearing was narrowed down to two limbs – if there is a change in land use and if there is an increase in residential density.

This, in short, DBKL used its unfettered powers to amend the laws and now finds itself in this predicament. If those living in Gasing Hill had been allowed to present their case vis-à-vis safety, the mayor and his team would have had some cause not to issue the development order.

Today, the DBKL has discovered that its hands and feet have been bound; their mouths and ears have been stuffed; and they have no authority to listen to the people.

They have belatedly discovered that they had used a sledgehammer to swat a fly and in the process destroyed the basic principle of the right to be heard.

Will DBKL reinstate its laws which will be consistent with the Town and Country Planning Act which governs the rest of the country? Will it learn from its mistakes? How can it happen when there are 3,000 development projects under its jurisdiction and that’s plenty of money floating around?

R. Nadeswaran has nothing against developers or development which does not threaten the safety of those living in the neighbourhood. Comments: citizen-nades@thesundaily.com

KUALA LUMPUR: The housing project at Bukit Gasing did not violate safety requirements imposed by KL City Hall, said KL Mayor Datuk Ahmad Phesal Talib.

He said Sanctuary Ridge Kuala Lumpur City developer Gasing Meridian Sdn Bhd had abided by conditions stipulated for the hillslope project by cutting the slopes in stages and building proper drainage systems for the current rainy season.

“Officers and technicians are at the side every day to inspect the construction and ensure the process is carried out smoothly as it is a highly sensitive area,” he told reporters after visiting the site yesterday.

Ahmad was responding to concerns raised by the Bukit Gasing Joint Action Committee on Monday that landslips may occur.

Bukit Gasing Joint Action Committee member Gary Yeoh had said the residents feared that the cutting of the steep hill was not safe, and may have dangerous consequences on the neighbourhood.

He also called on City Hall to hold a public hearing for the residents and assure them that the development is safe.

Gasing Meridian Sdn Bhd managing director Kenneth Tan, meanwhile, explained that the plastic sheets that residents see during the construction were put up to deter rainwater from seeping into the soil and flow out during the rain.

“When we build the slopes, we also install berms and berm drains to allow water from the surface to flow to the silt trap that we set up at the southeast corner of the construction site,” he said.

 

http://www.malaysiandigest.com/news/36-local2/160092-bukit-gasing-project-did-not-violate-requirements.html

 

 

The panel of 5 Federal Court judges delivered a shocking and surprising decision to reject our leave for appeal on the Court of Appeal majority decision (2 to 1) against our Judicial Review application to require DBKL to hold a public hearing regarding approval of Gasing Meridian Sdn Bhd’s proposed development at Bukit Gasing (KL-Side).

We had anticipated that the Federal Court would have allowed leave to hear our argument that the majority decision by the Court of Appeal has serious implications. The minority judgement in our favour was that the Town & Country Planning (Amendment) Act (2001), that was gazetted on 20 February 2002 by the then Minister of Housing and Local Government (Dato’ Seri Ong Ka Ting) is applicable to the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur. Hence, DBKL should not have approved developments on Bukit Gasing without giving a public hearing to residents.

For more than 5 years, we have challenged DBKL and the developer through the courts. We have argued that as residents threatened by landslides by Gasing Meridian Sdn Bhd’s proposed development on the steep hill slopes of Bukit Gasing, we have to be given the right to a public hearing by DBKL. The Town & Country Planning (Amendment) Act 2001 (TPCA), passed by our Parliament and subsequently gazetted should have required DBKL to give us a public hearing.

Despite our losing through a majority decision by the Court of Appeal in March 2012, we were heartened by the minority decision of Y.A. Dato’ Jeffery Tan. He strongly argued that the TPCA should apply and our right to public hearing be given. His considered opinion was that the Planning (Development) (Amendment) Rules 1994 instigated by DBKL and approved by the Minister then, to amend Rule 5 of Planning (Development) Rules 1970 should not be used to limit rights of residents to a public hearing before planning approval.

In short, Y.A Dato’ Jeffery Tan argued that Rule 5 (after amendment in 1994) is a subsidiary legislation. In his view the general principle of statutory interpretation should be that subsidiary legislation may not be broader than the enabling legislation.

What is plain to see with the decision of the Federal Court today is the following:

  • Residents of KL do not have the same rights to a public hearing as other residents living outside of Kuala Lumpur in Peninsular Malaysia.
  • Non-KL residents unfortunate enough to live next to land under DBKL will not have the same rights to a hearing under DBKL planning rules as he/she has within Selangor.
  • Whilst the Parliament may have amended the Town & Country Planning Act to ensure the whole of Peninsular Malaysia (defined as including KL) is governed by the same regulations, DBKL can continue to limit the rights of people by utilizing Rule 5.

Note: Rule 5 as used by DBKL means affected neighbours will have no right to be heard or informed if a development approval do not involve a change in density or use of land.

We have tried to seek justice and transparency through the courts and have failed. However, we will continue to speak out and trust that the court of public opinion as well as public desire for elected mayors to ensure accountability and transparency will prevail.

Should we continue to allow authorities to decide policies that negatively impact our rights? Should their unfeeling and uncaring attitudes continue unquestioned?

It is time that we demand accountability from those that govern us. Let us not trust in platitudes and lies anymore.

JAC for Bukit Gasing.

dé·jà vu   

noun

1. Psychology . the illusion of having previously experienced something actually being encountered for the first time.
 
2. Disagreeable familiarity or sameness: The new television
season had a sense of déjà vu about it—the same old plots and characters with new names….

Thursday September 13, 2012

By CHOONG MEK ZHIN

Residents want to be heard

ANOTHER residential development is something the already densely populated Section 10 Wangsa Maju area does not need and residents will be attending a meeting that will be held at Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) soon to voice out their objections to such a project that will see the secondary jungle next to their homes cleared.

The fairly large area is one of the few remaining green spots around.

“Previously, before one of the later condominium project was built here, there was a peak that many residents could easily hike up. Many used to have picnics up there.

“I remember climbing up numerous times for the best seats to watch fireworks,” said green building consultant Sheena Moses, 24.

She moved in with her family about 15 years ago and had watched the peak cleared for another condominium.

Lush and green: Residents from Sri Ledang and other condominiums in Wangsa Maju, KL, are all set to fight to retain their green lung. –By CHOONG MEK ZHIN/The Star
Lush and green: Residents from Sri Ledang and other condominiums in Wangsa Maju, KL, are all set to fight to retain their green lung. –By CHOONG MEK ZHIN/The Star

However, the rest of the forest remains untouched and some still venture out for a hike at times and all enjoy the benefits of having one of the last green lungs in the area so close to home.

Currently, residents living in the immediate vicinity of the forest are from the Section 10 Wangsa Maju low-cost flats as well as Sri Ledang, Sri Kinabalu, Sri Jelatek, Sri Lojing and Desa Villas condominiums.

The project that residents are protesting against involves the construction of three 26-storey apartment blocks consisting of 721 units with a five-storey carpark podium….More

PETITION: Save The Forest of Wangsa Maju Section 10!!

We do not need to increase the density of this area. Please stop this development and move to brownfields or other existing sites available for development.

Citizen Nades
Posted on 4 September 2012 – 08:41pm

R. Nadeswaran

YOU live in a single-storey terrace house in a narrow lane. Through the grapevine, you hear that a developer has bought 10 similar houses in two nearby streets. You are told that those houses will be demolished to make way for a high-rise condominium.

You worry about the traffic, the noise and dust pollution and wonder if the existing infrastructure can cope with the increase in population.

What can you do? You are told that the neighbourhood will be consulted after the developer has submitted his building plans. The Town and Country Planning Act (TCPA) requires the approving authority, in most cases the local council, to have consultations with those likely to be affected by the development.

You wait and wait. No letter comes. Then you hear that a meeting had been held and you were not called. You seek an explanation. The officer at the counter says only owners of “neighbouring land” can object and reads out Section 21(8) of the TCPA which defines neighbouring land:

a. Lands adjoining the land to which an application relates;

b. Lands separated from the land to which an application made under this section relate by any road, lane, drain or reserved land the width of which does not exceed 20 metres and which would be adjoining the land to which the application relates had they not been separated by such road land, drain or reserved land;

c. Lands located within a distance of 200 metres from the boundary of the land to which an application under this section relates if the access road to the land to which the application relates is a cul de sac used by the owner of the lands and owners of the land to which the application relates.

You are helpless. Although you are a concerned neighbour, you are not classified as an “adjoining neighbour” and will not only be unable to raise objections but also be unable to institute any action to prevent any development, however hazardous it is.

In Kuala Lumpur, the matter becomes more complicated as City Hall (DBKL) wrongly styles itself that the TCPA is superseded by its Federal Territory Planning Act (FTPA) of the Federal Territory. DBKL does not write to the affected residents.

Instead it places advertisements in one or two newspapers which state the lot number of a property, which is definitely not familiar to many of the neighbours. The particulars of the property do not include the postal address, which is essential. Using the postal address makes it easier to identify the proposed development area but despite complaints, DBKL has not relented.

But DBKL took the issue of public consultation to extremes in 1992 after the then Supreme Court ruled against it in the case of Datin Azizah Abdul Ghani v Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur & Others over its refusal to not allow her to take part in the planning decision making process.

The rules provided that upon receipt of any application for planning permission, DBKL should inform the registered proprietors of the land adjoining the land to which the application relates, to enable them to exercise their right to object to the granting of planning permission.

Azizah, as an adjoining neighbour applied for an order of certiorari to quash the decision of the mayor on the grounds that she was never given an opportunity to object, since she never received the DBKL notice calling for objections.
DBKL argued that the right of hearing for the adjoining neighbour, which had been conferred by statute, had been removed by the amendment to the FTPA.

The amendment had also provided for appeal to the Appeal Board by only those landowners whose application for planning permission had been rejected. The trial judge ruled that Azizah had no locus standi to object to a proposed land development activity.

On appeal, the Lord President Tun Hamid Omar said the court recognises the right of public participation in the planning process.

He held that although the FTPA did not incorporate provisions on informing adjoining neighbours about the application for planning permission, the Datuk Bandar who is the authority empowered to grant planning permission is required to comply with the Planning (Development) Rules 1970.

The Supreme Court granted an order of certiorari to quash the disputed development order granted by the mayor as he had failed to inform the adjoining neighbour about the application for planning permission.

In the midst of all this, the then mayor, Tan Sri Elyas Omar remarked that Bukit Tunku was not meant for the Brahmins only. “Aren’t others interested in living in Kenny Hill? Nobody should say that this is a sacred hill, like a Brahmin hill where no pariahs can go,” he was quoted as saying.

Two years after the landmark ruling by the Supreme Court, DBKL decided to move the goalposts in its favour. By the stroke of a pen, the right to a public hearing was narrowed down to two limbs – if there is a change in land use and if there is an increase in residential density.

So, if someone was constructing a building which would endanger the lives of the occupiers of the neighbouring property, it could not be objected to. Even if the developer was digging deep below the surface which would result in a landslip, the neighbours could only watch with their arms folded.

In short, residents of Kuala Lumpur were told: “Come to us when there is a change in land use or density. Otherwise, shut up and remain silent.”

Hence, if you live in the foothills and someone is clearing the slope above your house, you have no right to object. The irony is that the preamble to the TCPA reads: “An Act for the proper control and regulation of town and country planning in Peninsular Malaysia and for purposes connected or ancillary to.”

Unless we don’t know or got our geography wrong, isn’t the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur in Peninsular Malaysia? Aren’t federal laws the law of the land which over-rides state or local council laws? Is DBKL hiding behind the law to cover up for its shortcomings in planning approvals which have resulted in so many complaints in its procedures?

The controversy over the development in Bukit Gasing is an example. DBKL says owners of “neighbouring property” can only object on land use and population density. What about the safety and wellbeing of the occupants? As far as DBKL is concerned, no one is entitled to a say on hillside development, the environment and the damage the development would cause.

R. Nadeswaran is editor (special and investigative reporting) at theSun and can be reached at: citizen-nades@thesundaily.com

Trekkers showing their support for the cause.

Writer: Brenda Ch’ng
Published: Fri, 30 Mar 2012

PETALING JAYA: About 100 trekkers showed up at Hutan Pendidikan Bukit Gasing after receiving a virtual call on Facebook to save the hill from development last Saturday.

The walk, titled Gasing Hill Fun Walk, was organised by nearby residents and regular hikers who want the hill to be preserved as a green lung.

“We hope City Hall (DBKL) will hear our pleas and halt plans to build 69 bungalow units on the 15ha land along the hill slope,” said Joint Action Group for Bukit Gasing committee member Gary Yeoh.

The 57-year-old Bukit Gasing resident pointed out that deforestation and development might lead to landslides, endangering nearby residents.

Early this month, residents claimed that a landslip occurred on the hillside development after a downpour, but the claim was denied by the developer.

Residents say a similar incident occurred almost at the same spot shortly after Chinese New Year.

These incidents are also raising fears among residents living directly below the project site, which commenced work last August.

“If this keeps happening, we won’t have a green lung and a place to exercise any more,” said Yeoh.

He pointed out that the hill attracts more than 1,000 hikers every weekend, along with at least 50 new walkers everyday.

Joining him for the walk was another committee member Daniel Tang, who was glad that many showed up in support of the cause.

“It’s a good turnout, but more people should come out to show their support,” said the 50-year-old resident.

The committee, which has campaigned against the project since 2006, recently appealed to the Federal Court for a public hearing with DBKL.

However, the Court of Appeal ruled against the public hearing on March 6.

The public hearing was not required under the Federal Territory (Planning) Act 1982 as the project does not involve changes in land use.

“I hope Bukit Gasing will be protected as it is the only hill I can exercise in near my home,” said Subang resident Ivy Chong, 60, who made her first climb last Saturday and is looking forward to coming back every weekend.

“There are no hills or forests near my home in Subang. The nearest place to exercise is Bukit Gasing,” she said.

Joining her was Shirley Tan, who also came all the way from USJ2 to show her support.

“This is my fourth time here and I really hope this green area will be protected and preserved for the public,” said 55-year-old Tan.

Both Chong and Tan came together with family and friends to spend an hour climbing Bukit Gasing.

Petaling Jaya City Councillor (MBPJ) Derek Fernandez also joined the residents for the climb.

Selangor Times

On Tues 27th March 2012, DBKL held a seminar in Institut Latihan DBKL to present changes to the Draft KL City Plan. Presentations were made on DBKL plans for providing recreation parks, “Blue Corridor”, “River of Life” and cycle ways plus much more in present a caring City Hall for improving our lot.

As they spoke, on the north side of Pantai Dalam and just beside the Community Centre down from Pantai Hill Park Phase 5, massive earthworks have began. There have been protests by the people in Pantai Hill Park and Pantai Panaroma against development on the site over the last year or so. They have been blighted by the massive traffic congestions and have voiced their concern on the many developments eating away into Bukit Gasing/Gasing Ridge. See the DBKL approved destruction of Bukit Gasing.

Pantai Hill Park

Click on photo montage to see photo gallery of development near Pantai Hill Park Phase 5….

Do you notice how close the development is to Angkasa Apartments in Kampong Kerinchi? What of their safety? Those who hike through Bukit Gasing will find that their hiking pathways will shrink over time unless the public can unite to turn the tide to restrain DBKL in reducing Bukit Gasing as now set in their revised Draft KL City Plan.

Again, one mighit recall Datuk Raja Rong Cik’s boast about Taman Bukit Kerinchi and his desire to change KL Bukit Gasing to Bukit Kerinchi.  Well, I challenge you all to find the park that was published with pictures in “RM20mil park in Taman Bukit Kerinchi“. Do note that it’s supposed to be a “big” 34.6ha [sic]. What happened to the 52ha mentioned in The Sun report? Whilst at the Community Centre, I was informed by the locals there that Bukit Kerinchi is essential the hill the centre sits on and the rest was for them Bukit Gasing, a series of hills to their south and along PJ Bukit Gasing.

It is amazing how DBKL would rather create “recreation parks” then preserve and conserve forests that would provide a green belt that both PJ and KL residents can enjoy. Isn’t conserving and preserving as much of Bukit Gasing/Gasing Ridge as we have now more effective and sustainable?

Can we afford to remain silent? What will our children be left with in the future?

Composite photo by EYKhoo for SaveBukitGasing

Composite photo by EYKhoo for SaveBukitGasing

Writer: Gan Pei Ling
Published: Fri, 09 Mar 2012

KUALA LUMPUR: A landslip only days after the appellate court ruled against residents’ call for a public hearing on a hillside development at Bukit Gasing is raising fears of another Bukit Antarabangsa.

“This isn’t the first time this has happened after heavy rain, the authorities must explain to us what’s going on,” concerned resident Agnes Tan told Selangor Times yesterday.

Residents campaigning to halt the development suffered a major blow on Tuesday when the Court of Appeal ruled against their demands in a 2-1 majority verdict.

It decided that a public hearing was not required under the Federal Territory (Planning) Act 1982 as the project did not involve a change in land use or an increase in population density.

Tan said they discovered the landslip early yesterday morning.

She said a similar incident occurred at almost the same spot, on the hill overlooking Jalan 1/132 , shortly after Chinese New Year.

“We don’t know whether there are more further in (the construction site),” said the homemaker who has lived there for six years.

She added that her neighbours across the road, whose homes were directly below the project site, were even more worried.

Despite sustained public opposition since 2005, developer Gasing Meridian Sdn Bhd commenced earthworks on the Sanctuary Ridge Kuala Lumpur City project last August.

It had appointed consultant Ikram Engineering Services Sdn Bhd to monitor the construction of 69 bungalows on the 15ha land, which is supposed to put in place mitigation measures to ensure slope stability.

Kuala Lumpur mayor Tan Sri Ahmad Fuad Ismail defended City Hall’s (DBKL) approval of the project on Monday, adding the site belonged to the developer and DBKL would have to spend RM135 million if it were to acquire the land to gazette as a green lung.

He said DBKL had already applied to gazette the neighbouring 52.6ha public land as a green lung in December 2010.

Residents have long lobbied City Hall for a public hearing on the low-density project as it is located on the steep slopes of Bukit Gasing.

On Sunday, around 100 residents had gathered at Jalan 1/132 to urge DBKL to make public the environmental impact assessment (EIA) report on the proposed development.

“We’re not against development. If they can convince us the project is safe, we won’t be against it,” said Joint Action Group for Bukit Gasing committee member and resident of Fraser Towers Mohamed Kamar Mohamed.

Another committee member and resident of Maxwell Towers, Gary Yeoh, had pointed out that Bukit Gasing has a history of landslides.

“We don’t want to become the next Bukit Antarabangsa,” he said last Sunday, in reference to the landslide in Ampang which claimed the lives of five and destroyed 40 bungalows in 2008.

Lembah Pantai member of Parliament Nurul Izzah Anwar, who was present at the site yesterday and on Sunday, called on DBKL to release the project’s EIA as well.

Selangor Times

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