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A small group of TGI’s KL Residents & Maxwell Tower met up today & decision made to PROTEST on DBKL’s new proposal to increase the density of the “now” proposed 149 units villa hill-slope development fr 9 to 19 people per acre:
-safety of the hill-slope (landslides occurances)
– higher density (higher volume of traffic) on all roads leading to & from the development area.
NOTE: All or Any residents staying 200M from the development HAS THE RIGHT to protest. Its just a protest & would not have any judicial relevance in order for DBKL to call for a Public Hearing to address the matter accordingly!
We do need residents’ signatures (in numbers) & I do trust ALL residents will protest together.
BY MAYURI MEI LINLIN
KUALA LUMPUR, March 13 — A developer is pursuing a group of Bukit Gasing residents over a judicial review they sought over its project, claiming damages in an extraordinary move observers fear will intimidate private citizens from objecting against government agencies.
Although Gasing Meridian Sdn Bhd is now free to conduct its development after defeating the judicial review filed against it and the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL), it is adamant on claiming damages from the 103 residents who sought to block the hillside project in their neighbourhood here.
According to civil liberties lawyer Syahredzan Johan, the developer’s claim will set a precedent that will make it onerous for private individuals who turn to the courts after exhausting other official avenues to challenge public decisions.
“I am personally very concerned if the developer is allowed to claim damages against the residents from the judicial review application.
“This is a matter within the realm of public interest and the fear is that if the developer succeeds in its application this would discourage concerned citizens from seeking redress with the courts in the future,” he told Malay Mail Online.
The Bukit Gasing residents’ challenge against the developer dates back to 2008, when the group filed for a judicial review to compel DBKL to hold a public hearing over its decision to grant a development order to Gasing Meridian for a hillside project in 2007.
They claimed DBKL did not provide adequate notice of the development or hold a public hearing before it granted the order.
The application was rejected by the High Court and was appealed all the way to the Federal Court in 2013, where it was also ultimately dismissed.
The apex court added a twist to the case when the judges deemed fit to award RM10,000 in costs to both DBKL and Gasing Meridian as well as undetermined damages to the latter, which it sent back for the High Court to decide.
Following another round of appeals against the order for damages, the matter is now back before the Federal Court once more.
“Public hearing is an avenue for the public to actually have their concerns aired and for responses to be made to those concerns,” Bukit Gasing resident Ashok Menon told Malay Mail Online.
“By saying that you can end up having to pay damages for that, that’s like muscling up everyone. That’s what happens in a dictatorship,” Ashok said, adding that it was unclear why the developer was awarded damages.
Bukit Gasing assemblyman Rajiv Rishyakaran echoed both men’s concerns, adding that the dispute had been between the residents and DBKL, rather than business-related.
“I feel it’s not right. Just because a group of residents file a judicial review, a third party such as the developer should not be taking legal action to financially penalise the residents, who were bringing up a matter of public interest, and not commercial in nature.”
Not all are against the Federal Court’s decision to allow Gasing Meridian a claim to damages from the residents. Property lawyer Chris Tan explained that such a move would help to prevent the public from pursuing frivolous action against corporations.
He also disagreed that the particular case would set a precedent that would make it burdensome for private individuals with valid complaints to seek legal action against government entities.
“The precedent is not set to aim at the parties asking for public hearing for them to pay for damages, but to prevent the public from being against others without proper grounds, and facts of the case vary from each other,” he explained.
“Any successful party is entitled to damages… provided they can prove the same to the presiding judge. Therefore it is fair in that sense,” Tan said.
The Federal Court was initially scheduled to hear the residents’ appeal against the order for damages, but the case has since been postponed to June 29.
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.
Residents and supporters of Save Bukit Gasing will be praying that Justice will prevail tomorrow at the Court of Appeal.
The High Court granted the developer the right for assessment of damages against applicants to Judicial Review in May 2013. The applicants are appealing against this High Court decision. The Court of Appeal decision tomorrow will have significant implications to the general public.
Judicial Review is the means for the public seeking review of our authorities actions. If other parties of Judicial Review case can then seek damages, it could severely affect the public’s ability to seek Justice.
We hope that the Court of Appeal will take into consideration a previous attempt to sue for damages after Judicial Review relating to development at Bukit Gasing back in the 90s. Click to read the judgement. Then pray with the residents.
Those of you that wish to support this hearing should be at the Court of Appeal in Palace of Justice, Presint 3, Putrajaya for about 9:30am. Check for Ramachandran Appalanaidu & 107 yang lain Vs DBKL/Gasing Meridian (R1-25-38-2008). Click “Here” for location of Palace of Justice at Putrajaya.
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)
Bukit Gasing – 3, May 2013
The KL High Court’s decision on 2nd May 2013 to allow the developer, Gasing Meridian Sdn Bhd, to seek damages from the petitioners of Bukit Gasing residents is a very sad day for concerned citizens of this country. The residents sought a judicial review for the Mayor of DBKL to grant us a public hearing to alleviate our fears for the lives and safety of the residents in the surrounding area. For the residents efforts, the developer is asking for damages, which in the residents’ view, are unfair and unjustified as this is a public interest case.. The residents have no choice but to appeal the court’s decision.
In this age where citizens have to be concerned about the environment and the consequence of development, as a fundamental right to live in an environment which does not endanger their right to a home or worried of losing their right to a home, this decision, in a sense is, a denial of their fundamental right. Hereafter, it will deprive concerned citizens from seeking remedy in the Courts of Justice and give the developers special rights. This is against the constitution because there is no equality of rights between developers and citizens. The role of the legal system is of great public concern. The public needs to know: today is our homes, tomorrow it will be theirs.
The coming Election is of utmost importance to protect our homes and the right to live in a safe environment. We need to change the laws, and only a Government concerned for the people can.
Joint Action Committee for Bukit Gasing
Posted on 29 January 2013 – 08:38pm
Last updated on 30 January 2013 – 12:31am
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Fresh concerns over safety as earth and wall give way after downpour
SLIPPERY SLOPE: One of the many sections of Bukit Gasing along Jalan 5/60 where landslips occurred over the weekend — Pix: RAZAK GHAZALI
OVER the weekend, landslips have occurred on Bukit Gasing, on both sides of Petaling Jaya and Kuala Lumpur.
A section of a wall surrounding a nearby sewage treatment plant in Taman Gasing Indah also collapsed, possibly due to a silt slide which breached the hoarding alongside it.
A member of the Maxwell Towers residents association and joint action committee for Bukit Gasing, Gary Yeoh, said the landslips on the Kuala Lumpur side were clearly visible.
“A landslip can be seen from Maxwell Towers, about 10m from the border,” he said.
He said he was informed of the landslip by a neighbour after a downpour on Friday. “About 10m of the boundary wall of a sewage treatment plant outside the main gate (of the development) had also fallen,” he said.
Petaling Jaya councillor Derek Fernandez said Friday’s three landslips on the Petaling Jaya side near Fraser Towers were a serious matter as it was the second time that landslips had been reported within a month.
The previous incident had taken place last Christmas. “It is a clear indication the slope is not stable,” he said.
COLLAPSED: A fallen boundary wall. Bukit Gasing residents fear that the next structure giving way could be their homes
“Further landslides could cause loss of life or property, especially for residents of Fraser Towers.”
He said he had highlighted the matter to the Petaling Jaya Municipal Council and the state government but it had been a month and no eff ective measures had been taken.
“I understand that the land is privately owned but as the government, we cannot wait for irresponsible landowners to do the needful,” he said.
YEOH: Says landslip on Kuala Lumpur side visible from Maxwell Towers
“We have the power to enter their land and take the necessary action to stabilise the slope and improve the drainage without their consent and hold them liable for the cost and losses and threat to public safety.”
Fernandez also suggested that the state government forfeit the land of such irresponsible landowners.
He said he had warned Kuala Lumpur City Hall about the situation on their side and highlighted the matter in the Federal Court.
“So, if anyone dies (there), City Hall must take responsibility,” he said.
Attempts to contact the developer, sewage treatment plant operator, as well as City Hall were unsuccessful.
Wednesday November 7, 2012
By FAZLEENA AZIZ
Muddy times: Residents are concerned over potential landslips at the Sanctuary Ridge project during the rainy season.
THE Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) is ready to issue stop-work order to developers who fail to comply with safety regulations, said Kuala Lumpur mayor Datuk Ahmad Phesal Talib.
He said with the monsoon season hitting the city, developers should be more cautious when carrying out earth works especially at hillslope areas.
Phesal was speaking to reporters after visiting the Sanctuary Ridge project site by Gasing Meridien Sdn Bhd in Kuala Lumpur after residents had expressed their fear of landslip during the rainy season.
“DBKL is closely monitoring the development and the Federal Territories and Urban Wellbeing minister is also serious about ensuring safety at the sites.
There is another development nearby which is also contributing the dust and congestion with heavy vehicles passing in and out of the site.
“The developer is taking precautionary measure by placing the tarpaulin sheets.
“We also have a case with the MRT developer near Bank Negara with soil dumping, which we have stopped.
“The land belongs to the government but they did not obtain permission from DBKL for soil dumping,” he said.
Phesal added that there should be constant communication between the developer, contractor and residents to address issues.
Resident T. Sivakumaran, 48, who lives nearby the development complained about the dust coming into his home.
He said although the developer and contractor had discussed the matter, nothing was done.
“It has been a year now. I hope they can do something to sort out the dust problem by putting a screen,” he said.
Meanwhile Gasing Meridien director Kenneth Tan cleared the air about landslip. He said they were clearing part of the hill for the development.
Tan added that the clearing will be done in stages and contractors were required to submit reports for every 50m of works carried out at the site.
“Water containment is built together during the soil work at the slope in multiple stages. To ensure there is proper water flow, we have designed a channel with a silt trap at the south east corner.
“We want to esure the safety of the neighbourhood and we will take the necessary precautions,” he said.
Tan added they are ready to stop work at anytime if the development fails to comply with the safety standards set by authorities.