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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
FIFTY plots of vacant bungalow land in Bukit Gasing will be seized under the National Land Code 1965 (NLC 1965) and gazetted as a forest reserve following multiple landslips.
Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ), following expert advice from geotechnical, civil and structural consultants, will prepare a detailed report on the vacant land that has been classified as Class 4, (slopes with a 25 and 35 degree gradient) and a possible hazard, built or left idle.
Mayor Datin Paduka Alinah Ahmad said the council would propose to the Selangor Economic Action Council that the vacant plots with steep slopes be acquired under the NLC to address safety concerns due to extreme soil erosion.
“MBPJ will inform owners that their plots will be seized due to public interest. Since it has been classified as Class 4, the land cannot be occupied and no development will be allowed.
“The NLC has provisions allowing the state government to seize neglected land,” said Alinah.
The NLC, together with the Land Acquisition Act (LAA) 1960, empower the respective state governments to acquire private landed properties without having to get consent or agreement from its owners.
This is stated in Section 3 of the LAA 1960.
The move by MBPJ is a blow to market speculators and landowners who had hoped land value would increase manifold due to shortage of land in Petaling Jaya.
In April 2008, the Selangor government banned new developments involving Class 3 and Class 4.
Alinah said the landslips had occurred at 20 different sites near Bukit Gasing and said this could be due to development works in Bukit Gasing as well as downpours that triggered the landslips.
“MBPJ is left with not much option but to take drastic action. Based on the soil erosion, the plots affected are off Jalan 5/60, Jalan 5/64 and Jalan 5/66,” said Alinah.
She added that the council had engaged soil experts to ascertain erosion-prone areas which are dangerous.
“We have informed the residents of Fraser Towers not to park their cars at the foot of the slopes. Recently, a boulder rolled down and hit a parked car while in another incident, mud and vegetation rolled down the slope and hit a car being driven along Jalan 5/60.
“Inspection by geotechnical engineers, who can recognise impending slope failure, is being carried out. As an immediate short-term measure, a gabion wall is being built. This is a better option than nail piling.
“Contractors have also started to prune some of the trees on the slope, remove mud that was washed down close to the pavement as well as widen the drain along Jalan 5/60 from a V-shape to a U-shape,” she said.
Alinah added that the landslip close to Fraser Towers was due to a defective scupper drain that runs along the Sivan Temple located on the hill.
She said water in the drain backflowed and as such flooded the slope, causing it to be water logged.
“Our contractors are repairing the drain and consultants have suggested that the slopes be re-profiled to create a gentler gradient.
“However, this can only be done once the slope stabilises on its own, with no soil movement,” she said.
Alinah said development in and around Bukit Gasing or above SMK Taman Petaling would not be allowed.
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.
Thursday, 26 August 2010 Malaysia-today.net
I was quite shocked when I went up Gasing Hill the other day, I saw plots of land being sold, starting from the bottom right up to the top, on both sides of the road leading to its peak. This saddened me because Gasing Hill, for years, has been a green lung to residents of Petaling Jaya. Not only that, being the highest point in Petaling Jaya, it used to be a place to “get fresh air” and look down upon Petaling Jaya to enjoy the scenery. Many people use it as a jogging path, faithfully jogging every morning, enjoying the fresh air and the natural surroundings of a beautiful “woodland”/jungle. Many parents often bring their children up Gasing Hill to feed the monkeys. Infact, this has been a weekly event for me as my 3 year old daughter is fond of feeding the monkeys. The plots of land for sale go right to the top (peak). Each parcel range from 20,000sq ft to 30,000 sq ft and there are about 60 parcels in total. I called the number on the board of a parcel and they confirmed, the parcels were for sale for people to build their houses. Coincidently, per sq ft cost RM150, indeed for the rich and wealthy….
Numerous signboards have been put up along Jalan 5/60, numbering the parcels of land, the land size and telephone contact number. There appears to be at least 91 parcels up for sale.
These parcels have been neatly subdivided on PJ side of Bukit Gasing. The land is very steep – over 45% slope. There were several landslides on this hillslope over the past few years.
Jalan 5/60 is the only way in and out for Fraser Towers Condominium which is located at the end of this road.
There will be little or nothing left of Bukit Gasing as a green lung and forest reserve if this development is allowed by MBPJ & the Selangor State Government….Save Bukit Gasing!
Info on I & P:
I&P Group Sdn. Berhad is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Permodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB); and was formed in May 2009 after the successful merger and rationalisation exercise between 3 companies i.e. Island & Peninsular Sdn. Berhad, Petaling Garden Sdn. Bhd. and Pelangi Sdn. Bhd.