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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
12 October 2013
ALL IS NOT WELL: A small portion of the concrete embankment placed on the road has also caved in
Workers clearing trees and bushes from the slope where a mudslide occurred in Bukit Gasing.
Pic by Rosela Ismail
PETALING JAYA: A MUDFLOW gushing down Jalan 5/64 during heavy rain on Thursday evening has residents living around here on Bukit Gasing in jitters over what brought it on.
Residents say the mudflow was a sign that all was not well with the slope where an incomplete structure stands.
Streets was tipped off on the mudflow based on a photo sent by a resident living on the road.
A check yesterday, however, showed that the mudflow had been cleaned off the roads. However the slope on which the structure stood, looked precarious.
The structure is a massive concrete landing perched more than 6m above the road.
The landing, which was directly linked to a bungalow next to it, was held up by many pillars.
A few of the pillars had also become partially exposed.
A small portion of the concrete embankment on the road had also caved in.
The tarpaulin sheets on the slope that stretched about 100 metres were partly tattered.
During our check yesterday, we saw a number of workers clearing trees and bushes from the slope where the slide occurred.
Some were also chopping off trees which grew at odd angles on the slope.
At press time, Streets was unable to ascertain whether the workers were engaged by the council or the private contractor. The council was also unavailable for comment.
Bukit Gasing assemblyman R. Rajiv called for the council to remedy the situation fast by working on strengthening the slope.
He however reserved further comment until the council released a statement on the technical aspects of Gasing Hill’s safety as well as measures taken to curb landslides.
By EDWARD R. HENRY
Monday February 25, 2013
PETALING Jaya City Council (MBPJ) has obtained a magistrate court order to demolish Sivan Temple in Bukit Gasing after a council report recommended it to be torn down as it posed an imminent danger to people’s lives and properties in the surrounding area.
Petaling Jaya mayor Datin Paduka Alinah Ahmad said the temple building was in danger of collapsing as further rains could weaken the soil strength.
A slope failure could trigger a major landslide that would see earth coming down on Jalan 5/60, close to Fraser Towers apartments.
“Landslides had occurred of late. Now, Sivan Temple is in imminent danger of collapse.
“MBPJ has to take immediate steps to eliminate the danger,” she said.
The mayor stressed that the court order was requested “in the best interests of the people, to protect the lives of devotees, people living at Fraser Towers and the students of SMK Taman Petaling that is located below the apartments.
“The council’s legal department has served the court order to the chairman of the interim temple committee, T. Maharathan, and solicitors of Datin Seri Indrani Samy Vellu.
“Both parties have been informed about the demolition exercise.
“We respect the religious sensitivity and have given full responsibility to the temple committee to handle the demolition exercise.
“But before it is done, MBPJ’s Buildings Department must be briefed on the methods of demolition to ensure no untoward incidents,” she said.
She added that the seriousness of the Sivan Temple issue was brought up at the Selangor Economic Action Council and at the state exco meeting on Feb 13.
The MBPJ engineering department had taken into account Maharathan’s proposal to demolish the temple based on safety concerns and had agreed to it.
Alinah said the council would assist and was willing to offer advice if required.
“We assure the committee and devotees that the land on Bukit Gasing remains for the Hindu temple.
“For the new temple, building plans must be submitted and our officers will facilitate the process,” she said.
On Feb 1, StarMetro highlighted that the concrete roof of the Sivan Temple had tilted and more cracks were visible.
Sculptures of huge deities, a cow and the ornate tower on the roof of the two-level building had tilted and Maharathan had said he was worried the temple would collapse in view of the rainy spell.
After several landslips along Jalan 5/60, Alinah visited the area early this month 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 had also been constructed, costing about RM1mil.
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 MBPJ RM3.2mil.
02 February 2013
By SHEILA SRI PRIYA | email@example.com
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.
Story and photos by EDWARD R. HENRY
Serious matter: Tengku Nazaruddin and Sharifah Nur Armina discussing landslip matters with Alinah in Jalan 5/60.
IMMEDIATE corrective measures have been ordered to curb the movement of mud and uprooted trees on the slope of Bukit Gasing along Jalan 5/60 leading to Fraser Towers, where six landslips have been noted.
Yesterday, at 8.25am, Petaling Jaya mayor Datin Paduka Alinah Ahmad paid a surprise visit to the area and was taken aback on seeing the extent of the mudflow at various locations from the top of the hill to Jalan 5/60.
“It is bad. The mudflow from the top of the hill looks like it has increased. Roots of mature trees are exposed and some have fallen onto other trees.
“It is a progressive slipping of the earth and it will continue with the evening rains. Appropriate short-term measures have been activated and long-term remedial measures must be taken to counter this grave problem,” she said.
Alinah had made a visit on Jan 9 and said that based on her observations from the first visit, the situation had worsened.
On an urgent note, she called the Selangor government to obtain special approval to engage contractors to remove the mud and fallen trees and to prune trees that are in danger of falling.
She said a geo-membrane would be used to cover the exposed slope as it would offer an effective, impervious barrier to water and run-off.
Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) complaints department director Tengku Nazaruddin Tengku Zainuddin, engineering department deputy director Abdul Shukor Mohamed Noor, private secretary Sharifah Nur Armina and junior officers from the council’s landscape department were also present during the visit.
On seeing the small crowd of MBPJ officers, Fraser Towers joint management body chairman Mohamed Kamar came forward to discuss the worrying situation with Alinah.
Alinah told the officers and residents that the landslip in Bukit Gasing area had been classified as a “priority matter”.
She made a quick decision to get the contractors to start work immediately and warned them not to dump the mud on the other side of the slope leading to SM Taman Petaling, as had happened last Sunday.
“Quick decisions must be made in matters of such a nature. We cannot allow it to endanger lives and property.
“We have Fraser Towers here, and below that, SM Taman Petaling and residential properties.
“I made the decision as landscape department director Zuraidah Sainan is not here,” said Alinah.
Alinah told StarMetro that she would meet with Kuala Lumpur mayor Datuk Ahmad Phesal Talib to discuss development projects on Bukit Gasing’s Kuala Lumpur border, which are believed to have caused the soil movement.
“We must see what can be done to minimise the impact on our side of Bukit Gasing and to avert more landslips in the future,” she said.
Mohamed said he and the residents were glad to see Alinah providing immediate solutions to address the landslip.
“We want the council to maintain the hill.
“Our residents want the council to institute effective preventive measures and MBPJ must install equipment to monitor the movement of soil.
“In addition, no development must be allowed on the slope as it will be a recipe for disaster,” he said.
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
By Stephanie Sta Maria
KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 29): Property developer Gasing Meridian has shot down news reports that have linked its development work to recent landslides in Bukit Gasing.
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.
PLEA FOR HELP: Residents want authorities to regularly monitor landslide-prone areas
KUALA LUMPUR: THE Bukit Setiawangsa landslide has caused panic among residents staying at several landslide-prone areas in the Klang Valley.
Residents in Bukit Gasing in Petaling Jaya, Ukay Perdana and Bukit Antarabangsa are now demanding that the authorities, especially the local councils, monitor landslide-prone areas and hillslope development.
Some claimed they feel “helpless” against the wrath of Mother Nature.
The latest Setiawangsa episode has jogged the memory of 37-year-old Iskandar Syahril who had been conducting his business near the site of the 2011 landslide that occurred in Ukay Perdana 4.
“I realise how we are powerless against nature.”
Iskandar said there was a noticeable soil movement at the site when it rained after the incident.
“I’ve seen how fast can it move. We are lucky as the previous incident did not result in the loss of lives, but how long will our luck hold?”
Iskandar said there was no further monitoring by the authorities at the site despite calls by him and other business owners.
Checks by the New Straits Times revealed that the affected area was likely to face another landslide because erosion had taken place, leaving a gap and making the whole facade vulnerable.
Slope Watch programme director Emiko Motoyama, who heads the community slope watch within Bukit Antarabangsa, said the residents should pitch in to help monitor slopes in their neighbourhood.
“The authorities cannot be everywhere all the time. We (the residents) should be the eyes and ears for them, since the residents are the best observers of any changes in the slopes around their homes.”
New Straits Times found several areas in Jalan Wangsa 9, Bukit Antarabangsa, have been marked by authorities as danger zones as there were minor landslips.
Persistent slope failures at Bukit Gasing in Petaling Jaya were consistent with the observations and fears of the residents as it was near to their neighbourhood.
Landslides near the Fraser Tower at Jalan 5/60 here were spotted by residents three weeks ago.
A Bukit Gasing joint community council representative, who only wanted to be known as John, said the landslides occurred after the development of the double-storey temple on top of the hill.
“The temple was built at the edge of the hill, causing water disruption and erosion,” he said, adding that the municipal council should seek a long-term solution.
The expansion of the temple made headlines in 2007 after it caused a landslip, leading the council to issue a compound and a stop-work order to the temple management for violating the Street, Drainage and Building Act.
Fraser Towers resident Brian Tan wants Petaling Jaya City Council to inspect the safety of the hills on the Petaling Jaya side.
“We feel that there are parts of Bukit Gasing that are unstable. The authorities must make sure the maintenance of the hill slopes is done regularly.
New Straits Times found more than five landslides within Bukit Gasing that could lead to severe damage to properties and residents.
21 December 2012 | NST
THERE are plans to tear down and rebuild the Sivan Temple in Bukit Gasing which is in a bad shape. Chairman of the interim temple committee, Maharathan Thuraiswamy, said there was a need to scale down the temple which is located on top of the hill due to safety reasons.
The committee plans to demolish the existing two-storey structure and build a single-floor temple.
“I have plans to demolish the existing double-storey temple and build a single-storey temple. I was advised by my engineers that due to the poor workmanship of the temple it is unsafe for public.
“No matter who cares for this place, it should be about the safety of this place. We are transparent and we don’t want this temple to be politicised.”
“Due to the rainy season, we fear the building may collapse,” said Maharathan.
A check by Streets recently found the temple in a deplorable condition. Long lines of cracks had appeared on the roof and walls and water had also seeped through the roof. There was also a large pool of stagnant water at the rooftop which could become a potential mosquito-breeding ground.
Mini “stalactites” had also formed from sections of the roof, believed caused by water which had been seeping through the walls over the years.
The poor condition of the temple was highlighted in a letter sent by Maharathan to the Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Seri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim office stating the committee’s intention to rebuild the temple.
The letter was forwarded to the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) and the matter was subsequently raised during the full-board meeting on Wednesday.
However, during the full-board meeting chaired by Deputy Mayor Puasa Md Taib, he said the council would not make any decision on the matter and would leave it to the state government related to the matter.
State executive councillor Dr A. Xavier Jayakumar, who had been tasked to look into the matter, said he was not in favour of demolishing the temple. However, he would discuss the matter further with the council and the new mayor Datin Paduka Alinah Ahmad.
The Sivan Temple started as a shrine some 40 years ago. About six years ago, it was rebuilt to the present size by certain parties without the approval from the authorities. It is now a two-storey temple with three multi-purpose halls.
The temple was closed for over six years due to the rebuilding works. However, small groups of devotees still pray daily at a smaller section of the temple.
When the temple was rebuilt, it incorporated gigantic architectures depicting religious idols. Some had claimed that the huge temple complex was unsafe as it was located on a hilltop which was prone to landslides.
In fact, the expansion of the temple made it to the headlines in 2007 after it caused a landslip.
The council issued a stop-work order and compound to the then temple management for violating the Street, Drainage and Building Act.
The landslip was rectified by the former temple management and was later certified by Public Works Institute of Malaysia (Ikram) in 2008.
The reconstruction work at the temple soon intensified. The council later received a complaint that a portion of the land facing the KL side of Bukit Gasing had given way.
MBPJ issued a second stop-work order and requested a proposal plan for the temple reconstruction works.
A 150m landslide occurred at the northeast of Sivan Temple on Jan 6 last year.
Work to stabilise the slope was allowed to continued by the former temple committee.
Not long after that a court tussle involving two groups claiming to be the temple’s rightful committees began.
On Oct 8 this year, the Shah Alam High Court held that Maharathan Thuraiswamy and four others could continue managing the temple until the disposal of a suit brought by them against Datin Seri Indrani Samy Vellu and three others which is still pending.