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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
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.
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.
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.
Bukit Gasing – 3, May 2013
The KL High Court’s decision on 2nd May 2013 to allow the developer, Gasing Meridian Sdn Bhd, to seek damages from the petitioners of Bukit Gasing residents is a very sad day for concerned citizens of this country. The residents sought a judicial review for the Mayor of DBKL to grant us a public hearing to alleviate our fears for the lives and safety of the residents in the surrounding area. For the residents efforts, the developer is asking for damages, which in the residents’ view, are unfair and unjustified as this is a public interest case.. The residents have no choice but to appeal the court’s decision.
In this age where citizens have to be concerned about the environment and the consequence of development, as a fundamental right to live in an environment which does not endanger their right to a home or worried of losing their right to a home, this decision, in a sense is, a denial of their fundamental right. Hereafter, it will deprive concerned citizens from seeking remedy in the Courts of Justice and give the developers special rights. This is against the constitution because there is no equality of rights between developers and citizens. The role of the legal system is of great public concern. The public needs to know: today is our homes, tomorrow it will be theirs.
The coming Election is of utmost importance to protect our homes and the right to live in a safe environment. We need to change the laws, and only a Government concerned for the people can.
Joint Action Committee for Bukit Gasing
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 EDWARD R. HENRY
MOST of the residents living in Jalan Gasing’s Fraser Towers, Petaling Jaya want the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) to demolish the nearby Sivan Temple based on the council’s report, which states that the building was unsafe.
The report also said the building could come crashing down during a downpour.
The residents are afraid of the danger it poses to their lives and properties, as well as SMK (P) Taman Petaling, also in Section 5. The school is a stone’s throw away from the apartments.
Fraser Towers Joint Management Body chairman M. Kamar said the steep slope, sparse vegetation, water-logged conditions and developments on the hill were some of the factors that were worrying them.
“Several landslips at Bukit Gasing brought down trees and rocks while a river of mud flowed down to Jalan 5/60 recently. It is a disaster waiting to happen.
“The landslips are also an indication of the dangerous condition of the area,” said Kamar.
MBPJ had determined that the temple building was unsafe and should be demolished. The structure has large cracks and the roof is tilted.
Petaling Jaya mayor Datin Paduka Alinah Ahmad had made several visits to the area 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 are being constructed, costing RM1mil in total.
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 RM3.2mil.
Kamar said although residents appreciated Alinah’s prompt action, the measures instituted were not enough.
They want earth movement sensors brought in to monitor the shift in soil and water-log in order for proactive measures to be taken.
“We also want the demolition of Sivan Temple to be carried out in a professional manner,” he said.
Petaling Jaya Selatan (PJS) Wanita MCA division deputy chief Datin Wong Fong Leng, who visited the landslip site in Jalan 5/60 on Thursday evening, said more efforts were needed to strengthen the slope.
“Motion sensors must be brought in to monitor soil movement but this has not been done.
“Work to build gabion walls has also not begun. Work is being carried out at a snail’s pace,” said Wong.
She added that the council should bring in geo-technical engineers to review the terrain and find the best method to drain rainwater effectively.
On Feb 25, StarMetro reported Alinah as saying that the temple structure was in danger of collapsing as further rains could weaken its soil strength.
She said the council had obtained a court order to demolish the temple in the best interest of the people — to protect the lives of devotees, people living at Fraser Towers and the school’s students.
It was also reported that Sivan Temple interim committee chairman T. Maharathan had applied to MBPJ for the building to be demolished urgently.
“Our consultant, Materials Testing Laboratory Sdn Bhd, carried out a thorough check on the structure and gave us four volumes of the Dilapidation Survey report which recommended that the temple be demolished,” he said.
Maharathan has made the report available to MBPJ and the council had given the committee the nod to bring in their own contractors to carry out the temple’s demolition.
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.