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Updated: Monday March 30, 2015 MYT 7:25:53 AM
Keeping nature at bay: Slope-strengthening works being carried out at a construction site in Bukit Gasing. — filepic
BUKIT GASING residents are questioning several proposed housing projects in the area from a safety point as well as issues such as access and sewerage links to the main channels.
One of the main reasons for the worry is that huge landslides had occurred in the area over the past few years.
It is also learned that the Petaling Jaya City Council’s (MBPJ) One-Stop Centre Committee had rejected one or two of the projects due to not conforming to the law and planning requirements.
Aside from the steep slopes involved in the proposed developments, former city councillor Derek Fernandez agreed that they were in an area of Bukit Gasing which had already seen landslides.
“Despite the building approvals and professionals involved, some of the landslides have already cost the ratepayer millions of ringgit to repair, and millions more required for slope protection measures,” Fernandez stated.
Safety was also on the mind of Gasing Indah Residents Association chairman Alfred Chuah.
“When we look at the slope, we are not entirely convinced it will be safe despite technical assurances, as some the slopes are very steep and landslides have already occurred in the area,” said Chuah.
Section 5 Residents Association chairman Mohamed Rafiq Fazal Din recalled at least four, one in the Bukit Gasing Sivan temple, two on the hill’s hiking trail, and a minor case recently in the new council carpark.
For residents living in Gasing Indah, the issue of access is also an issue, as Chuah said that currently Jalan 5/69 and other residential roads in the housing area were used as access for nearby condominiums.
The same road would have been further used as another entry by one of the proposed projects as Jalan 5/69 was not meant to serve an additional 19 houses that were not originally planned for, added Fernandez.
The issue of land title validity was also raised by Fernandez, who recalled a meeting in the mid-90s where he and other Bukit Gasing residents had objected to a different developer’s proposal for the same land.
“At the public hearing chaired by then-municipal council president Datuk Mohd Nor Bador, resident leader Syed Jalal Abdullah had stated they were improperly issued, and the proposal was not approved,” he said.
The briefing for the three proposed developments, and the presentation for a geotechnical study on Bukit Gasing, was originally set for March 24, but pushed to tomorrow.
“We were not told of the meeting until a resident, a former councillor, informed us at the last minute,” said Chuah.
In 2008, 103 residents within Bukit Gasing area, in the interest of several thousand residents living in the proximity of Bukit Gasing (KL side), commenced a Judicial Review on the DBKL Mayor’s refusal to grant concerned residents a public hearing on the development of 68 luxury homes on Bukit Gasing- KL side. Gasing Meridian Sdn Bhd applied to join the case as a 2nd Respondent.
The primary reason for the filing of Judicial Review was the fear for loss of lives and damage to properties. The proposed development on Bukit Gasing (KL side) had several steep gradients and the composition of the soil is sand and shale. In the circumstances, the residents feared that the development if allowed, would cause landslides and end in a tragedy similar to the Highland Towers tragedy (1993). There have also been several other tragic landslides at developments on steep gradients resulting in the loss of lives and destruction of property. Bukit Antarabangsa (December 2008), Orphanage at Hulu Langat (May 2011), Bukit Setiawangsa (December 2012), Dang Wangi LRT (May 2013) and Cameron Highlands (November 2014) are just some tragic recent examples.
The Bukit Gasing case was filed in February 2008 and on 6th September 2010, the High Court, Kuala Lumpur gave judgement against our request for a public hearing and thus in favour of the developer permitting development on Bukit Gasing. This decision was affirmed by the Court of Appeal and the Federal Court. The High Court in May 2013 also allowed the Developer the right to file assessment for damages against the 103 residents. This decision was affirmed by the Court of Appeal. The case is now in the Federal Court, where a “Leave Application “is pending for the case to be heard by the Federal Court
The allowing of damages to be assessed against applicants in a Public Interest Judicial Review case, is unprecedented in Malaysia. It is even more questionable as the award is to Gasing Meridian that had joined the case as a 2nd Respondent. In fact in August 1996, a Judicial Review case was brought by an associated company of Gasing Meridian in their development in Bukit Gasing (Petaling Jaya side) for damages, was thrown out by the High Court, Shah Alam, Selangor.
The allowing of assessment of damages, in the present case, has severe consequences. It will prevent any citizen or civil society from filing a Public Interest case, for fear of having to pay damages if they should lose their case. This is of particular significance where Local Councils and developers throughout Malaysia are concerned. No one will dare to bring a Public Interest case against them. It is a denial of every Malaysian’s fundamental right to seek judicial review on actions by authorities that impact their fundamental rights.
Citizens have a fundamental right to seek a Public Interest Judicial Review at the Courts on actions taken by authorities that are questionable. Such a re-course must be maintained without the threat of damages that will significantly intrude on the rights of any citizen or body of citizens.
We seek your support to counter this threat to fundamental rights of all Malaysians. As a first step, you can support by signing the Petition.
On behalf of residents and supporters of the Judicial Review Case against DBKL’s refusal to grant a public hearing on development on steep hill slopes in Bukit Gasing
PETALING Jaya City Council (MBPJ) workers were kept busy clearing broken tree branches and debris on Jalan 5/60 and 5/64 in Bukit Gasing yesterday morning following a downpour on Tuesday night.
MBPJ personnel from the council’s Quick Response Team as well as Fire and Rescue Department personnel were on hand to help clear the roads.
The landslip is the latest to occur, after a similar incident in Jalan 5/64 on Sunday afternoon.
Nearer to Fraser Tower, contractors were seen cutting an uprooted tree which had fallen and damaged a resident’s car on Tuesday night as she was driving back to her condominium.
MBPJ Engineering Department deputy director Abdul Shukor Mohamed Noor and slope consultants engaged by the council to find ways to strengthen the slope also visited the site yesterday morning to assess the situation.
Council public relations officer Zainun Zakaria said a preliminary study on May 6 found that the slope failure area covered 1,625 sq m, and was due to soil erosion.
Among the possible causes of the slope failure was the sloping topography and constant heavy rain.
“We have put in place short-term measures, such as clearing trees and undergrowth at the affected area and near drains, as well as placing tarpaulin on the surface to prevent erosion,” said Zainun.
In addition, a contractor has been hired to build a gabion wall along Jalan 5/60, measuring two to three metres in height, to prevent mud flow.
The uprooted tree, blocking the roads was also cut up and removed.
Zainun said the council would be using the prism method to monitor soil movement.
For the long-term, however, a soil nailing system, together with a beam grid, will be used to create a berm along the slope.
Additionally, the drainage system near the slope will also be upgraded to reduce water seeping into the soil.
“The contractor for the soil nailing project also just received his letter of appointment today, and will start clearance work as soon as possible to prevent further mishaps,” said Zainun.
The contractor has been given seven months to complete the project.
By M. KUMAR and YVONNE LIM
KUALA LUMPUR: A landslide buried nine cars at a car park along Jalan Ampang, near the Jalan Dang Wangi intersection.
No casualties or injuries occurred as the cars were parked.
Reports indicate that the area is still unstable as soil movement can still be seen.
Parts of Jalan Ampang near the scene have been closed to traffic.
Earlier, Twitter users were reporting a landslide in front of the Dang Wangi LRT station near Bukit Nanas in Kuala Lumpur.
Some motorists were tweeting that a number of cars had been buried by the landslide.
User @Preez_bridabel tweeted; “Landslide at bukit nenas due to heavy rain, I was on my way to Dang Wangi Lrt station..please drive safe”.
Another user, @Pijoel94 tweeted, “Tanah Runtuh di Hadapan Stesen LRT Dang Wangi. Banyak kereta tertimbus (Landlside in front of LRT Dang Wangi. Many cars covered)”.
Over in PETALING JAYA, a woman narrowly escaped with her life after a landslip in Bukit Gasing caused a tree to fall on her car while she was driving home.
Shanthi Kanthaswamy, 48, was driving along Jalan 5/60 during heavy rain on Tuesday night when the tree fell on the bonnet of her Honda Accord, badly damaging the engine.
“I was driving home at about 8.15pm when I heard rumbling sounds on my left and a tree came crashing down in front of me.
“Luckily I was driving very slowly, or else the impact could have been worse and I could have been thrown off the road.
“I am thankful to have escaped with my life,” said a visibly shaken Shanthi.
Fraser Towers joint management body chairman Mohd Kamar, said residents in the area had been complaining about landslips in the area for years.
“We have been fighting this issue for more than five years, trying to get the authorities to solve the problem but not enough has been done.
“It is endangering the lives of the residents,” he said.
Bukit Gasing’s newly-elected state assemblyman Rajiv Risyakaran said that he would help to expedite efforts to prevent further landslips from occurring in the area.
“I am told that the slopes where the landslips are happening is on privately-owned land, and I hope that the owner will take responsibility for it.
“In the meantime, I urge the Petaling Jaya City Council to speed up works,” he said, adding that he had met mayor Datin Paduka Alinah Ahmad earlier to discuss the issues in Bukit Gasing.
Representatives of Fraser Towers, Cameron Towers, Maxwell Towers, Gasing Indah, Petaling Gardens and Section 5 PJ got together to put forward a petition for endorsement by GE13 candidates for Bukit Gasing state and Petaling Jaya Selatan parlimentary seats.
Bukit Gasing candidates endorsing petition:
Mr Mak Khuin Weng (Ind)
Mr Simon Lee (Ind)
Mr. Rajiv Riskyakaran (DAP) see rajiv4malaysia.com for more of his thoughts
Petaling Jaya Selatan candidates endorsing petition:
Mr. Hee Loy Sian (PKR)
Mr. Sheah Kok Fah (BN-MCA)
By EDWARD R. HENRY
MOST of the residents living in Jalan Gasing’s Fraser Towers, Petaling Jaya want the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) to demolish the nearby Sivan Temple based on the council’s report, which states that the building was unsafe.
The report also said the building could come crashing down during a downpour.
The residents are afraid of the danger it poses to their lives and properties, as well as SMK (P) Taman Petaling, also in Section 5. The school is a stone’s throw away from the apartments.
Fraser Towers Joint Management Body chairman M. Kamar said the steep slope, sparse vegetation, water-logged conditions and developments on the hill were some of the factors that were worrying them.
“Several landslips at Bukit Gasing brought down trees and rocks while a river of mud flowed down to Jalan 5/60 recently. It is a disaster waiting to happen.
“The landslips are also an indication of the dangerous condition of the area,” said Kamar.
MBPJ had determined that the temple building was unsafe and should be demolished. The structure has large cracks and the roof is tilted.
Petaling Jaya mayor Datin Paduka Alinah Ahmad had made several visits to the area and instituted immediate measures, such as earthworks to strengthen the slopes in two areas where tarpaulin sheets were used to cover the bare terrain.
U-shaped box drains are being constructed, costing RM1mil in total.
Alinah said the council’s Engineering Department had suggested nail soiling as a long-term measure, along with building a network of slope drains that would cost RM3.2mil.
Kamar said although residents appreciated Alinah’s prompt action, the measures instituted were not enough.
They want earth movement sensors brought in to monitor the shift in soil and water-log in order for proactive measures to be taken.
“We also want the demolition of Sivan Temple to be carried out in a professional manner,” he said.
Petaling Jaya Selatan (PJS) Wanita MCA division deputy chief Datin Wong Fong Leng, who visited the landslip site in Jalan 5/60 on Thursday evening, said more efforts were needed to strengthen the slope.
“Motion sensors must be brought in to monitor soil movement but this has not been done.
“Work to build gabion walls has also not begun. Work is being carried out at a snail’s pace,” said Wong.
She added that the council should bring in geo-technical engineers to review the terrain and find the best method to drain rainwater effectively.
On Feb 25, StarMetro reported Alinah as saying that the temple structure was in danger of collapsing as further rains could weaken its soil strength.
She said the council had obtained a court order to demolish the temple in the best interest of the people — to protect the lives of devotees, people living at Fraser Towers and the school’s students.
It was also reported that Sivan Temple interim committee chairman T. Maharathan had applied to MBPJ for the building to be demolished urgently.
“Our consultant, Materials Testing Laboratory Sdn Bhd, carried out a thorough check on the structure and gave us four volumes of the Dilapidation Survey report which recommended that the temple be demolished,” he said.
Maharathan has made the report available to MBPJ and the council had given the committee the nod to bring in their own contractors to carry out the temple’s demolition.
FRASER Towers’ chief of security services, John Gyan Bahadur, survived a close call in a landslip incident while removing fallen trees along Jalan 5/60 in Bukit Gasing a month ago. He is glad to be alive to tell his story.
He said it began to rain around 6am on Jan 25.
“I heard loud crashing sounds and found that a number of trees had fallen onto the road, a few hundred metres from the apartments’ security post.
“I and another security personnel went out to cut the branches and move the trees to the side of the road. It was 7.45am by then and the rain became heavier.
“We heard a loud rumble coming from the hilltop, in the direction of Sivan Temple’s arch. At the same time I felt the ground shake and within seconds, a river of mud came rushing down the slope.
He added that the incident had also brought down rocks and tree branches snapped like toothpicks.
“So far the people living in the area have been lucky but I fear what will happen if the slope is not strengthened,” he said.
Bahadur has been working at Fraser Towers for seven years.
02 February 2013
By SHEILA SRI PRIYA | firstname.lastname@example.org
DANGER: The council’s failure to monitor the area affected by the Bukit Gasing landslides is worrying
PETALING JAYA: RESIDENTS fear the lackadaisical attitude of the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) towards the protection of the hill slope of Bukit Gasing may invite catastrophe.
The concern was conveyed by councillor Derek Fernandez during the council’s full board meeting on Thursday.
He said the council failed to play its role to ensure the hill slopes affected by the landslide on Jan 25 were well monitored, especially after the incident.
Fernandez said the area affected by the landslide, which is on private land, may still pose a danger to neighbouring areas if it’s not attended to.
“There were uprooted trees, and drains clogged with mud from the soil erosion.
“Tarpaulin sheets were also not placed on all areas of the affected site.
“Excuses about the slow tender process, and other reasons for not monitoring the situation are unacceptable.
“Disaster will strike when we least expect it. We are lucky to have been given warnings,” he said, adding that interim preventive measures, well supervised by those with the expertise, must be taken soon.
Fernandez also urged for more consideration for neighbouring residents such as those living at Fraser Tower.
He added that the landowners must be held responsible for the failure to safeguard their areas.
An earlier report by the Minerals and Geoscience Department Malaysia revealed that Bukit Gasing has the “Kenny Hills formation”.
This means the hill consists of rock and not reclaimed soil.
The findings were highlighted at the full board meeting.
Mayor Datin Paduka Alinah Ahmad said recently she would make a site visit soon.
“All respective department heads must go to the site and see what needs to be done.
“If funds are lacking, inform me and the problem will be addressed,” she said.
A Streets visit after the full board meeting saw workers clearing the site.
MUDDY: Silt from the hillslope flows onto Jalan 5/60, near Frasers Towers in Bukit Gasing, after more rain yesterday. Four landslips had been reported in the area last week
THE slopes of Bukit Gasing need to be assessed using a methodical approach, according to geotechnical engineer Gue See-Sew.
Gue, who is also the chairman of the Expert Standing Committee on Slope Safety established by the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) recently, said they were looking into institutionalising solutions for landslides in Malaysia.
“We have to explore the design, construction and supervision as well as maintenance of slopes,” he said. “We must focus on these issues and find solutions to mitigate them with a systematic way of tackling them.”
Gue said although the new guidelines for slopes were sufficient, hazard and risk analysis needed to be carried out on old slopes.
“If it is a high risk area, local authorities have to issue orders to investigate and strengthen the slopes there,” he said.
SlopeWatch programme director Eriko Motoyama said they had been receiving reports from Bukit Gasing residents regarding landslides for a year but they still needed to look at various aspects before getting involved.
SlopeWatch would then assist residents in ensuring their concerns were heard by the authorities.
Bukit Gasing, which falls within the custody of both Petaling Jaya Municipal Council and Kuala Lumpur City Hall, experienced a number of landslips on Friday and over the weekend.
Petaling Jaya councillor Derek Fernandez said this was the second occurrence of landslides there in the past month and cautioned that nature would not wait for tenders and processes.
Yesterday, The Malay Mail reported that Maxwell Towers residents’ association and joint action committee for Bukit Gasing member Gary Yeoh had also pointed out a collapsed wall in a nearby sewage treatment plant aside from the landslides previously reported.
The sewage treatment company said they would investigate the cause for the collapsed wall.
There are two other condominium towers on Bukit Gasing other than Maxwell Towers. They are Frasers Towers and Cameron Towers
29 Jan 2013 – BUKIT GASING, KUALA LUMPUR
Saya bersama YB Hannah Yeoh dan saudari Kasthuri Patto sewaktu sidang media bersama penduduk Maxwell Towers di Bukit Gasing. Para penduduk risau akan kejadian tanah runtuh yang makin kerap berlaku akhir-akhir ini.