They also question (DBKL) City Hall’s lack of open discussion on development project
MONDAY, MARCH 05, 2012 – 14:37 by Ikram Ismail
KUALA LUMPUR: The Joint Action Committee (JAC) for Bukit Gasing wants Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) to release the environmental impact assessment (EIA) report on the proposed development on the hill. Yesterday, about 100 residents affected by the proposed development in Gasing Indah (on the Kuala Lumpur side) gathered to press their case, ahead of a Court of Appeal decision tomorrow.
The residents applied for a judicial review in the High Court in 2008 challenging City Hall’s approval of the development. However, they were denied the right to be heard and appealed against the decision in the Court of Appeal.
Spokesman for the joint committee Gary Yeoh, 57, said: “I am questioning why was there no public hearing by City Hall before approval. “In November 2007, during a meeting with City Hall, they told us the land had been subdivided but no development will be granted to the developer. “The following month, we received a letter from City Hall stating the development will continue without a public hearing.” He said so far more than 108 petitions from residents from the surrounding communities were sent to the developer and City Hall since 2007. “We are not against development but we want City Hall to provide us with the EIA report for safety and security reasons. “If they continue with the project, it will adversely affect the ecology and environment of Bukit Gasing and our safety,” he said.
Also present were Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar and PJ South MP Hee Loy Sian. JAC and other representatives of residents’ associations have opposed Meridian Sdn Bhd’s (GMSB) proposed development since early 2006, for fear of landslides and safety issues. It is said that since 1993, there have been 14 major landslides, with press reports that indicated at least 68 fatalities apart from the millions of ringgit in loses.
JAC’s is helping to pay for legal costs by pooling resources from residents and through charity drives. Tomorrow, the Court of Appeal gives its verdict on the appeal against the 15.52 ha hillside development project at the KL side.
Meanwhile, Nurul Izzah said she sent a letter to KL mayor (Tan Sri Ahmad Fuad Ismail) recently requesting the release of the EIA report. “At least, with the EIA report, we were able to know the present condition of the area that is to developed — the residents want reassurance the surrounding areas are safe from danger,” she said. She said she does not want a repeat of the hillside tragedy of Bukit Antarabangsa and Medan Damansara.
As for Hee, he said the matter was brought to the attention of Parliament and the Federal Territories and Urban Well-being Ministry. “However Datuk Raja Nong Chik Zainal Abidin has yet to give his answer on the approval of this project.
Mages: Forest slowly losing beauty
R. MAGESWARA, 34, said the beauty of this forest was about to be stripped if development continued. “Everyday I sit at my balcony watching workers level the hill slope.
Another resident Mohamed Kamar Mohamed (pic), 68 said he is not against development but residents have a right to express their opinion through public hearing. “From the public hearing, Kuala Lumpur City Hall will be able to get our opinion on the issue. We want City Hall to certify the project is safe and at the same time, preserve our forest.” Mohamed who has been living at Fraser tower since the last eight years said a lot of changes (development) took place on Bukit Gasing.
Resident Dr A. Mallika, 58 and her daughter A. Gayathri, 27 said the development would also destroy wildlife in Bukit Gasing forest. Gayathri said four years ago the scenery from her house balcony was beautiful. “I used to see monkeys swinging from tree to tree,” she said, urging the project be scrapped.