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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.
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
THE Petaling Jaya City Council may have to spend RM50mil to strengthen several hillslopes in Bukit Gasing if the individual landowners fail to fulfil their responsibility.
Councillor Derek Fernandez pointed out the owners were legally responsible to ensure their land was well maintained.
“There are about 37 plots of land here.
“The state should seize the land of irresponsible owners if they fail to look after the slopes on their properties,” he said during a visit to Jalan 5/64 in Section 5, Petaling Jaya.
MBPJ has appointed contractors to strengthen two hill slopes in Jalan 5/64 and Jalan 5/66 following several landslides and soil erosion in the areas.
It is estimated that the works will cost RM4.5mil and RM8mil respectively.
The hill strengthening work in Jalan 5/64 will be completed by June next year.
For safety of residents: MBPJ has embarked on hill strengthening works in Jalan 5/64. The project should be completed within eight months.
Meanwhile, the council has banned all major development, termed Class Three and Four, in the neighbourhood to prevent further soil erosion and landslides.
A landslide on May 5 in Jalan 5/64 uprooted trees, damaged several cars and cut off access to the area.
Bukit Gasing assemblyman Rajiv Rishyakaran commended the council for the pro-active measures taken.
He said he would raise at state-level the issue of seizing the privately-owned land.
“MBPJ should not have to strengthen these hillslopes using public funds.
“However, it is necessary to ensure the safety of those living and visiting the Bukit Gasing recreational area,” he said.
The poor hillslope condition has also resulted in clogged drains.
The hill strengthening works in Jalan 5/64 uses the “soil nailing” technique over 2,300sqm of land.
Pantai Sentral Park
Another project on Bukit Gasing (on the KL side of the hill)…now renamed by DBKL as Bukit Kerinchi.
Please watch the video below…..heart wrenching!
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.
RESIDENTS in Cameron Towers, Bukit Gasing are living in fear of more landslips in the area in view of the rainy season.
The landslip that occurred on May 3 had shocked the residents, with subsequent landslips along Jalan 5/60 and Jalan 5/64 last week, adding to their fear.
Mary Lim, a housewife, said every time it rained, she kept a lookout on the hill, which is opposite her condominium.
“The hill is also very close to our swimming pool. What if there is a landslide when there are people using the pool?” asked the distraught resident.
Cameron Towers Joint Management Body treasurer Jim Khong expressed concern over the recent landslips in Bukit Gasing.
“We fear that if a landslide occurs on Bukit Gasing, it will affect residents in the area as there is a water reservoir on top of the hill,” he said.
Khong said the residents want the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) and Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) to work together as the hill is situated on the border of Petaling Jaya and Kuala Lumpur.
The building manager, Lee Lai, said they had written to MBPJ after the landslips and that an officer from the council’s infrastructure and engineering department had visited the site.
“He took photos of the landslip and said they would discuss the situation,” Lee said, adding that residents wanted immediate action to be taken to resolve the problem.
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.