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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.

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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?

DBKL’s announcement of the hill slope guidelines (GP WPKL 2020) 22nd Sept 2010 puts into jeopardy the vision of Kuala Lumpur Structure Plan 2020 to transform KL into a sustainable and livable city. It is well known that sustainable and livable cities must balance the interest of business and living environments.  A key measure of this is a city’s regard to providing “Open Spaces” and encouraging the creation, extension and conservation of public parks and nature reserves.

DBKL’s choreographed presentation of the GP WPKL 2020, with supporting cast from the Institution of Engineers, Malaysia (Geotechnical Eng. Division), highlighted that the solution to residents living under threat of a man-made time bomb of landslide disasters need fear no more.

DBKL and various agencies and experts had considered the hill slope safety standards of Hong Kong, Singapore even Korea. They (including the geotechnical engineering profession) are convinced that with the new guidelines, residents should now trust the experts.

To ensure hill slopes safety standards are kept high, there has to be an “independent checker”, appointed and paid for by the developer. The “Best Engineering Practices” shall be employed and all manner of geological studies has to be submitted before approval. The “Factor of Safety” index (FoS) that shall apply will be 1.5.  Apparently, Hong Kong only uses maximum FoS of 1.4.  IEM representative cheered the wisdom of the Mayor of KL.

Given the wisdom of such measures, buffer zones and setbacks on buildings on hill slopes developments can be reduced from previous hill slope guidelines and the Selangor State Government’s proposed larger buffer zones are no longer needed. There is no longer the need to prohibit development on Class 3 (≥ 25 deg.) and Class 4 (≥35 deg.) gradient hill slopes.

The Mayor stressed that landowners have a right to develop their land for profit and KL needs the property development industry to prosper. If DBKL were to succumb to irrational fears of residents against steep hill slope development and demands to provide world class open space requirements (e.g. as stated in the National Physical Plan for Malaysia), it could cause DBKL 7 billion ringgit.

Residents in KL and other residents affected by DBKL’s decisions should visit to following websites for a sanity check:

In case you are too busy to explore the websites above, the  vision of  “little red dot” (a land starved nation) to support a sustainable and livable City is to increase the green park space by 900ha to 4,200ha by 2020, and reach a park provision of 0.8ha per 1,000 population by 2030.

The yet to be gazetted Draft KL City Plan Open Space target for 2020 is 1.1ha per 1,000 (with the inclusion of some 25% of this being “private open spaces”. So, will the GP WPKL 2020 facilitate or further undermine the Open Space target of the DKLCP? DBKL is already in breach of the target of 2ha per 100 Open Space set by the National Physical Plan.

KL residents and others affected by DBKL decision should pray that the blessings of such wisdom don’t turn to mud (literally).

Gary Yeoh – JAC for Bukit Gasing.

This is Part 2 of report on the Court of Appeal hearing on Wednesday, 11th November 2009

Bukit Gasing response as Respondent to the appeals

Legal counsel for Bukit Gasing, YB Sivarasa Rasiah (supported by Mr. Derek Fernandez),  opened his arguments by bringing the judges attention to the site of the proposed building. Explaining that 3 condos (Fraser, Cameron and Maxwell Towers, total 6 block), houses in Taman Gasing Indah are all in close proximity to the proposed development. In addition, there is a 23 million litre reservoir with a 2 meter diameter pipeline along boundary of the proposed development.  Proposed development will be on steep hill slopes.

The chronology of events was made to the court. He highlighted that the application for the 1st judicial review was submitted  when it became clear that DBKL would ignore their concern for safety and had rejected a public hearing via the hand delivered letter of 31.1012.2007 from DBKL. This was despite the impression given at the 14.11.2007 meeting with Director of Planning KL (Tuan Haji Mahadi) that DBKL would respond to petitions for a public hearing. He highlighted that minutes of the 14.11.2007 (dated 21.11.2007) was provided to DBKL with request for detail of approval for sub-division of land. However, DBKL did not respond to repeated request for information.

YB Sivarasa pointed out that the High Court,  Honourable Judge Madam Lau Bee Lan, had given details of arguments by the parties and her reasons for granting extension of time in her written judgement. The residents only became aware of a DO (in the form of approval of sub-division of land on 2.10.2007) in affidavits from the developer dated 15.4.2008. He stated that residents could not file an application on verbal communication without having details.

During exchanges between counsels and judges, the Honourable Datin Paduka Zaleha commented that the residents did not know a DO was given at the time suggested by the appellants.

YB Sivarasa also confirmed his withdrawal of cross appeal against the dismissal of the 2nd judicial review on the DOs for Hoarding and Earthworks by the High Court.  This was in the context that the Honourable Madam Lau Bee Lan’s written judgement had stated that these two DOs are consequential and purely administrative, resulting from DO for sub-division of land.

With regard to locus standi, YB Sivarasa, highlighted various case histories and that the reasons for application for 1st judicial review are not “frivolous or vexatious”. He pointed out the High Court had considered the arguments presented at the inter partes hearing before grant of leave for judicial review.

Note: The Honourable Judge Madam Lau Bee Lan’s written judgement had highlighted the contention between the parties on whether the Town and Country Planning (Amendment) Act 2001 (Act 1129) or the FT Planning Act (1982) with “1994 Rules” should apply. She concluded these are arguable issues.

YB Sivarasa told the court that numerous guidelines in the Kuala Lumpur Structure Plan (KLSP) were breached in DBKL’s approval of DO to developer. In particular, Policy EN 6 that states “City Hall shall not permit development on hillside with slope that exceeds the allowable level, rules and regulations set by the Federal Government”. The Total Planning and Development Guidelines (2nd Edition) by Ministry of Housing and Local Government (Department of Town and Country Planning, Peninsular Malaysia) states under “Steep Slope Areas” that, “Construction is not permitted in areas on steep slopes (exceeding 25 degrees) “.  In addition, there are common law reasons which were detailed in his submission in response to the appeals.

He highlighted that the Appellants litigating the issues extension of time for leave and locus standi militate against views of Chief Justice in the recent Federal Court judgement of “Majilis Agama Islam Selangor v. Bong Boon Chuen.

In closing responses, DBKL stated that the Kuala Lumpur Structure Plan is not a legal binding requirement when considering the development orders. Counsel for the developer reiterated the key points he had made.

The Honourable Datin Paduka Zaleha, after consulting the other judges moved to adjourn the hearing and fixed  20th November 2009 (coming Friday) at 10:00am to deliver  the court’s decision on the appeals. The hearing ended well after 5:00pm.

Note: The “1994 Rules” is an amendment to the Planning (Development) Rules 1970, made by DBKL (under powers conferred by s 64 of FT Planning Act) after DBKL lost the case between of Datin Azizah v. Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur[1992] for failure to notify and hear objections from residents before granting development order.

Gary Yeoh

JAC for Bukit Gasing

At the High Court,17th March 2008    

 Beaming over positive outcome: Owners and residents of Bukit Gasing outside the court.

Tuesday March 18, 2008 – TheStar Metro

By BAVANI M

THE High Court has set April 23 to hear an application for leave by the Joint Action Committee of Bukit Gasing (JACBG), and a group of owners and residents for a judicial review against the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) to compel them to hold a public hearing on a proposed development located on the KL side of Bukit Gasing.The residents also want to see the necessary papers, technical reports and studies on the development.Bukit Gasing assemblyman Edward Lee described the court decision as a mini victory.“It’s like being given the key to the door – to enter and present our case in detail and to tell DBKL not to allow any form of development in Bukit Gasing,” he said.“We have received very little information from DBKL. In fact, till today we don’t know the status of the land. We don’t even know if a development order has been issued,” said Lee.

 Bukit Gasing assemblyman Edward Lee “It’s like being given the key to the door – to enter and present our case in detail” – EDWARD LEE

JACBG committee member Gary Yeoh said DBKL’s lack of communication had forced them to go to court.“There has been no feedback from them and that is why we had to resort to this,” said Yeoh.“This is only the beginning. The court has granted us leave to proceed and we will be keeping a close eye on the area to be developed  “If there is any hanky panky, we will file an interim order to compel them to stop,” added Lee.Yeoh said that he hoped DBKL would act responsibly and hold a public hearing.“As a taxpayer, I fail to understand why I am not told what is happening,” said Yeoh.The residents had submitted a petition to DBKL last year requesting for a public hearing but the DBKL sent a letter to the residents on Dec 31, 2007, refusing to grant them a public hearing.At a meeting on Jan 26, the concerned residents unanimously supported the move to take legal action against the DBKL and filed for a judicial review by the High Court.The proposed development by Gasing Meridian Sdn Bhd is to develop 71 bungalows on a 15.4ha site.It affects over 860 condo units, water reservoir and a 60m pipeline that supplies water to residents on the PJ side of Bukit Gasing.

Residents fear for their lives as the proposed development is being carried out on land where the soil structure consists of sandstone and shale and is unsuitable for any type of development.

The residents are worried that any form of development on the site could lead to a landslide.

 Save Bukit Gasing 2008

 Green sight: A file picture of Gasing Hill and the Section 5 residential area.

The group’s request for a judicial review also included the High Court to rule that the residents be informed and shown all reports, geological survey, soil structure, soil stability evaluations, proposed geo-hazard mitigation measures, environmental impact assessment, traffic impact analysis and social impact analysis carried out by the developer on the site.The residents said that DBKL had acted contrary to what is stated in the Federal Territory (Planning) Act 1982, (Act 267) – requiring local plans for KL that would have given the affected owners the right to be heard in respect to the proposed development.Despite gazetting the Kuala Lumpur Structure Plan 2020 in 2004, it had failed to prepare draft local plans for the area as required by the Federal Territory Planning Act.

A resident of Bukit Gasing, C.Y Lee said that DBKL had not acted in accordance with the law, as well as the principle of Local Agenda 21, requiring partnership between DBKL and the public.

“Are they (DBKL) not answerable to us as taxpayers, don’t we have any say at all,” lamented Lee.

http://thestar.com.my/metro/story.asp?file=/2008/3/18/central/20671649&sec=central

metro@thestar.com.my 

A GROUP of owners and residents have filed for a judicial review by the High Court to compel the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) to hold a public hearing on a proposed development at the KL side of Bukit Gasing. 

The application was filed on Feb 11 by 108 property owners from Maxwell Towers, Cameron Towers, Frasers Towers and Gasing Indah, all of whom live in the neighbourhood of the proposed development. 

Joint Action Committee for Bukit Gasing (JACBG) committee member Gary Yeoh said concerned owners and residents have had a series of meetings and submitted petitions to DBKL, but DBKL sent a letter on Dec 31, 2007 refusing to grant a public hearing. 

Yeoh (pic, below): ‘We don’t want a tragedy like the Highland Towers incident to happen again anywhere near Bukit Gasing’’

“At a meeting on Jan 26, the concerned owners and residents unanimously supported legal action against DBKL to defend our right not to live in fear of landslides.  

“We are fighting for fear of our lives and property. We don’t want a tragedy like the Highland Towers incident to happen again,” said Yeoh. 

He said that DBKL has not responded to their repeated requests for the development’s technical reports and plans, and residents are questioning whether DBKL has taken the right steps and right checks. 

“The proposed development by Gasing Meridian Sdn Bhd is to develop 71 bungalows on a 38-acre site,” said JACBG committee member Victor Oorjitham during a meeting to update residents on its campaign against the development. 

“It affects over 860 condo units, a water reservoir and a 60m pipeline that feeds the residents here. 

“The hill’s soil structure consists of sandstone and shale, and is unsuitable for any type of development. Once the soil starts moving, it can’t stop and this could lead to a landslide.” 

“We would rather talk than go to war. We have no option but to resort to legal action due to DBKL’s reluctance to be transparent and their lack of interest in addressing our safety fears,” said Yeoh. 

He said the group’s application for judicial review requested the High Court to rule, among other things: 

·DBKL had acted contrary to the intent of Parliament enshrined in the Federal Territory (Planning) Act 1982 (Act 267), requiring local plan/s for KL that would have given the affected owners the right to be heard in respect to the proposed development 

·Although DBKL had gazetted the Kuala Lumpur Structure Plan 2020 (KLSP) in 2004, it had failed to prepare draft local plans for the area as required by the Federal Territory Planning Act 

·DBKL had not acted in accordance with many policy prescriptions in the gazetted KLSP that has the force of the law, as well as the principle and philosophy of Local Agenda 21, requiring partnership between DBKL and the public they serve within the context of sustainability  

“The court case hearing is on March 17,’’ said Yeoh. 

“We’re targeting to raise RM150,000 for legal fees and we have managed to raise more than a third so far,” said Yeoh. 

“We’re still seeking the financial support, as well as the public’s support and commitment to get DBKL to hold the public hearing.” 

For details, contact 019-480 8732/ 016-314 7334 or garykwyeoh@hotmail.com

http://thestar.com.my/metro/story.asp?file=/2008/2/18/central/20358612&sec=central

Press Release

Press Conference held by the Joint Action Committee for Bukit Gasing(JAC) to announce to the press that a judicial review has been filed at the High Court to compel DBKL to hold a Public Hearing.

Kuala Lumpur 16th February 2008 – We, the owners and residents in the neighbourhood of the proposed development on Bukit Gasing by Gasing Meridian have on Monday 11th February, 2008, filed for a judicial review by the High Court to compel DBKL to hold a Public Hearing on the proposed development application by Gasing Meridian Sdn Bhd on Bukit Gasing (KL-Side). 

DBKL’s letter of 31st December, 2007, denied the affected owners and residents in the vicinity a Public Hearing on Gasing Meridian’s proposed development on Bukit Gasing (KL-Side), we were forced to take legal action to demand transparency of actions by DBKL. 

Gasing Meridian’s proposed development will be on steep hill slopes and unstable geological structure. Our request for information on the proposed development, technical reports and studies that should be conducted on such high risk proposed development, have been ignored by DBKL. We are asking the High Court to direct DBKL to make these available. 

At the Public Meeting for concerned owners and residents on the 26th January, 2008, the meeting unanimously supported legal action against DBKL to defend our right not to live in fear of landslides. Although the Public Meeting was called at short notice and on a Saturday morning, approximately 300 people attended the meeting.  

Within less than 10 days after the public meeting and just before Chinese New Year, 108 owners of properties adjacent to the proposed development signed up to be joint applicants to file for a Judicial Review by the High Court to quash the decision by DBKL not to grant a Public Hearing. 

Our Judicial Review requested the High Court to rule that::

 ·        DBKL had erred in law and denied affected owners’ their rights under common law;

 ·        DBKL had acted contrary to the intent of Parliament enshrined in the Federal Territory (Planning) Act 1982 (Act 267), requiring local plan/s for KL that would have given the affected owners the right to be heard in respect to the proposed development;

 ·        although DBKL had gazetted the Kuala Lumpur Structure Plan 2020 (“KLSP’) on 19th October, 2004, it had failed to prepare draft local plans for the area as required by the Federal Territory Planning Act;

 ·        DBKL had not acted in accordance with a number of other key requirements stated in the Federal Territory Planning Act which are key material considerations;

 ·        DBKL had not acted with good practice, natural justice and fairness in applying a narrow view of their duties to the public and affected owners;

 ·        DBKL had not acted in accordance with many policy prescriptions in the gazetted KLSP that has the force of law, as well as the principle and philosophy of Local Agenda 21 requiring partnership between DBKL and the public they serve within the context of sustainability;

 ·        DBKL erred in law in not meeting fair expectations of the applicants to a public hearing based on assurances of various officials of DBKL and Federal Territory Ministry;

 ·        DBKL failed to understand that the proposed development could have consequences similar to Highland Towers and should not be considered only from the perspective of the developer. 

In the affidavit filed in the Court Action, we have provided full details of the dangers involved if approval is given to develop Bukit Gasing. We fear for the loss of our lives and homes. 

We requested the High Court to grant a stay of all proceedings by DBKL in respect of Gasing Meridian’s proposed development application until the outcome of the full hearing of our application for judicial review is known. 

As affected owners and residents, we fear the lack of transparency of DBKL.  It is vitally important to us that DBKL do not permit any works to be carried out by the developer until the High Court has considered our judicial review request. 

Gasing Meridian’s proposed development will clear 15.52 hectares of secondary forest on Bukit Gasing. They also plan to re-sculpture the natural features of Bukit Gasing (KL-Side) by moving almost 800,000 metric tonnes of earthworks.  In addition to our fears of a disaster of Highland Towers’ proportion, the scale of earthwork and bio-mass removal from the proposed development will present safety and health risks to all residents in Gasing Indah, Petaling Gardens, Gasing Condos and Pantai Dalam.   

We are sad that DBKL, as a flagship authority of Federal Government, had not given us fair consideration nor taken any steps to address our safety concerns. It is not enough for DBKL to claim that their experts have considered the safety issues, when the reality is that many of the fatalities were caused by landslides occurring after authorities have approved and monitored developers’ constructions.  

Our Government have been championing transparency and have required all authorities to listen and respond to public concerns. Yet, there seem to be a “close both eyes” when DBKL blatantly seek to avoid addressing our concerns. 

In recent months, we have heard of concerns raised by residents all over Klang Valley over decisions of planning authorities. In particular, Taman Melawati, Taman Hijau in Ampang, Kota Damansara and Bukit Damansara development approvals. All these relates to development on hill slopes, limited green reserves and wanton destruction of pleasant neighbourhoods without consultation of affected residents.  It is time that the public in general raise their voices against authorities that refuse to involve or respond fairly to the community they claim to serve.  

We need to have more accountable authorities that will weigh concerns of residents against greed of developers. We need planning authorities to act and demonstrate their commitment to sustainable and safe development by being transparent. They need to appreciate that not all opposition to development are just “not in my backyard” (NIMBY) complains.  Our opposition to Gasing Meridian’s proposed development are based on genuine fears for our lives and homes. There are abundant signs that Bukit Gasing is not safe for development. Yet, DBKL seeks to avoid answering our concerns. 

Due to DBKL’s reluctance to be transparent and their lack of interest in addressing our safety fears, we have no option but to seek justice at the High Court.  

The residents intend to mount further campaigns to encourage DBKL to give due consideration to our concerns. DBKL aim to turn KL to a world class, tropical garden city. Their actions so far fall desperately short. We will not cease to fight for our right not to live in fear of our lives and homes. 

We invite the civil societies and politicians that believe in our right to live without fear of landslides and in a “first world” living environment to support us by equally raising their concerns with DBKL and the Government.   

Press Release on behalf of Owners and Residents that are affected by Gasing Meridian’s proposed development.

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