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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.
Towards end of January this year, residents next to the Gasing Meridian Sdn Bhd development on steep hill slopes were very concerned as a landslide next to Maxwell Towers was detected. Supported by YB Nurul Izzah (Lembah Pantai), Adun Hannah Yeoh (represent Bukit Gasing) and Kasthuri Patto a press conference was called on 29th January 2013 near to the entrance of the development site.
Despite photos showing the location of the landslides (as can be seen on this blog), the developer categorically denied there were any landslides. As to be expected, DBKL and the Minister for Federal Territory and Well Being were not interested in our concerns.
Last Thursday and Friday (25th and 26th April) there was again heavy rain and winds. This resulted in a further landslide and a mud flow washed into a house next to Maxwell Towers entrance.
As you can see from above, the escalation of development on the steep hill slopes has resulted in a second landslide and causing slit to be washed down onto the roads below. The landslide that was denied by the developer is now covered with plastic sheets.
MBPJ is beginning to take serious interest in the recent landslides on PJ Bukit Gasing. Will DBKL and Raja Nong Cik really walk the talk of “Rakyat Didahulukan”?
Election is coming. It’s time we act wisely and elect those that really care about our safety and implement environmentally sustainable developments.
JAC for Bukit Gasing.
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.
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
Koh Jun Lin | Jan 28, 2013
Despite a recent series of landslides, Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) could not stop the hillslope development in Bukit Gasing because doing so would require purchasing the land out of public funds.
Mayor Ahmad Phesal Talib told a press conference today 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?
“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,” he said at a press conference today.
When it was pointed out that there had been a series of landslides in the area over the weekend, he said, “If there are landslides, we will take action together with the developers. It is no problem.”
Read more here: http://m.malaysiakini.com/news/220120
Close-up: a section of the slope has slipped due to erosion…..
Landslip at Maxwell Towers. Gasing Heights. Photo Credit: GYeoh
For the last 3 days, we at Bukit Gasing area have had heavy downpours. Today, just after the afternoon’s downpour, a landslide occurred within meters from Maxwell Towers. There was also a landslide along Jalan 5/60 towards Fraser Towers. There have been numerous other landslides on Bukit Gasing recently that have been in the press. MBPJ had met with residents last year and we understand they are still investigating and determining the right course of action to protect lives and properties. With the landslides today, we are expecting urgent steps to be take to make the slopes safe on Bukit Gasing – PJ side.
DBKL has so far ignored evidence of landslides on Sanctuary Ridge development site. This blog had featured landslips on the steep slopes of earthworks done by the developer. Alas, we have seen little tangible evidence of DBKL being concerned at all these landslides.
The most recent disaster at Bukit Setiawangsa should have been a reminder to the Mayor of KL to be concerned about steep hill slope developments. Will DBKL wait for fatalities before they react to the many signs that development on steep hill slopes of Bukit Gasing is unsafe? Will the Mayor act to protect lives and properties or will he hide behind legalities?
JAC for Bukit Gasing.
The FT Minister, Datuk Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin, nonchalantly stated over the weekend that Bukit Gasing in Lembah Pantai will be changed to Bukit Kerinchi.
See report from The Star report on Sunday 11th March 2012
Without consultation with the public, the Federal Government is going to wipe out Bukit Gasing from Kuala Lumpur. Is this an attempt to deceive Malaysians? Consider the following:
Bukit Gasing KL-side is understood to cover 115 hectares and before the drawing of Petaling Jaya and Kuala Lumpur boundary, was enjoyed and remembered by many as Bukit Gasing forests. In fact, Bukit Gasing is a stretch of hills in Petaling Jaya into KL and the proposed Sanctuary Ridge is on Bukit Gasing (KL-side).
Is this a precursor to making people forget about promises to gazetted Bukit Gasing forests under jurisdiction of mayor of Kuala Lumpur? For at least 10 years, mayors of Kuala Lumpur have been promising to make parts of Bukit Gasing a forest reserve. Somehow it’s still to become fact. On top of this, only about 45% of Bukit Gasing under DBKL jurisdiction is being proposed for gazetting.
Some cynics (like me) would wonder if the nonchalant, Datuk Raja Nong Chik’s name change proposal is to boost the attractiveness of approved developments in Bukit Gasing area so as to disassociate current concerns about the lack of urgency by Federal Territory Ministry and DBKL interest in preserving the last potential green lung for Kuala Lumpur. There may be environmentally conscious investors that could be put off?
Perhaps it’s also about dissociating Bukit Gasing from the efforts of Save Bukit Gasing to highlight the fear of residents for their safety because of developments at Bukit Gasing. Is it also about our highlighting recent problems with earthworks at Bukit Gasing? See recent posts.
Does anyone remember Kampong Kerinchi? If you click the link, it’s now referred to as Bangsar South. Until 2005, some 60 acres of the land was Kampong Kerinchi. So, where is Kampong Kerinchi to DBKL?
Just click the Google Map for Bukit Kerinchi, you will have to zoom in and ensure the marked balloons stay centre of page. What do you see? A gradual disappearance of Bukit Kerinchi, encroached by more and more developments? Well, perhaps it’s a warning that a name change could spell the demise of Bukit Gasing if Federal Territory Ministry and DBKL were to be given a free hand.
We have not been given a public hearing by DBKL to understand why development on the steep hill slopes of Bukit Gasing (soon to be called Bukit Kerinchi?) is safe. We, mere mortals, are apparently overly distrusting of the diligence of DBKL’s approval process. Maybe we need to accept that Medan Damansara landslide was just an unfortunate incidence outside the norm of DBKL diligence.
However, I hope many of you will be upset at the latest proposition by Datuk Raja Nong Chik. If you are, please raise your concerns to your elected representative and petition DBKL against the move. You can also help by sending this link to your friends.
Gary Yeoh – JAC for Bukit Gasing.
As one can read from the Bernama report today (see article below), it’s a disappointing day for residents and friends of Bukit Gasing.
It seems that owners of properties in Petaling Jaya (or for that matter anywhere else in the states of Peninsular Malaysia) would have the opportunity to object to a proposed development as provided for under the Town & Country Planning Act as amended in 2001, the same may not apply to residents in Federal Territories of KL.
Isn’t it puzzling that whilst a property owner in Petaling Jaya will have the right to object to a proposed development under MBPJ jurisdiction, he/she will not have the same rights if the proposed development falls within DBKL jurisdiction as his/her right to object will be limited by other rules?
The community will need time to review Court of Appeal decision. It has been a very puzzling day for residents and friends of Save Bukit Gasing.
Do come back for updates. We may have lost in the short-term, but our determination to consider options will not diminish.
JAC for Bukit Gasing.
The article below was sent to a major MSM, but was not published and is put here to record ongoing residents’ concern for public safety.
The saga of Siva Temple and landslides epitomize how our authorities have failed the public in so many ways. Sadly, it’s just one of many examples all over the country where our authorities failed in their duties of implementing proper planning approvals and enforcement of laws. Steep hill slope developments present real and imminent risks to lives. Yet, year after year, we continue to see landslides caused by hill slope developments whilst the authorities continue to bow to hill slope developers’ demand for profit over lives and sustainable environment.
What is often forgotten is that hill slope developments leave in place time bombs that await the unsuspecting public. Highland Towers, Hulu Klang, Medan Damansara, Bukit Antarabangsa and the most recent tragic Ulu Langat orphanage disaster are all ample proof of failure of our authorities in enforcement of laws and regulations.
Siva Temple extensions caused its first landslide in March 2007. Despite the extensions being found to be illegal, it had remained and whatever remedial and risk mitigation works that were supposed to have been put in placed were so lacking that it resulted in a further landslide in January 2011. Warnings by concerned residents to the pending disaster back in 2007 were all in vain.
Whilst residents applaud the efforts of Derek Fernandez (councillor for the area) in ensuring that the exposed slopes are protected against further erosion, it must rest squarely on MBPJ to enforce the law. We wait with baited breath for much more substantial and tangible actions to be taken to right the wrong that has been inflicted against public safety and the beauty of Bukit Gasing.
The Siva Temple landslides should ring alarm bells to the public at how lacking our authorities are in monitoring potential risk zones and the prompt enforcement of laws to protect public safety. We now have to keep our fingers crossed that the “Aprons of Bukit Gasing” will be enough to prevent further landslides and risks to the Syabas pump station whilst MBPJ enforcement officers and Siva Temple committees hold meetings and discussions.
Notwithstanding the above remarks, we thank Derek Fernandez for his assertiveness in ensuring MBPJ acts to prevent the exposed slopes from becoming a mud flow.
As residents facing the threat of development on the steep hill slopes of Bukit Gasing, we continue to be alarm at how Bukit Gasing is reminding us all that we should leave it alone. Will DBKL take note of what is happening? Given the ample signs of instability of exposed slopes and buildings on Bukit Gasing, will DBKL now admit that they have a duty to give us a hearing before development is allowed?
DBKL approved the development of Medan Damansara 21. However, after the landslides and aprons on the steep hill slopes, the development had to reduce number of properties planned from 21 to 16 units for safety reasons. Yet, the developer sued DBKL and the Mayor of DBKL is seeking to settle it out of court. No doubt any payments to the developer will be at the expense of KL ratepayers.
The saga of Siva Temple, Ulu Langat and Medan Damansara landslides are warnings to the public that we can no longer rely on our authorities to do right for the safety of the public. Evidence abounds at how our authorities place developers’ rights over the public’s rights to live without fear of death by slope failures.
JAC for Bukit Gasing