RESIDENTS on both sides of Bukit Gasing are upset with Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) in view of a high-rise development project taking place on the KL side of the hill.
They claim that their call for only low-density projects to be allowed on the hillside has gone unheard, especially by DBKL.
In a recent StarMetro report, the residents had said they were shocked that a condominium development project was taking place at the foothill of Bukit Gasing, marring the skyline.
The project is at Kampung Kerinchi Dalam, on the Kuala Lumpur side of the hill.
A signboard at the entrance to the site states that the development comprises 408 apartment units located in two blocks of 27 floors each, as well as 18 units of 2½-storey villas.
When contacted, Petaling Jaya councillor Derek Fernandez said the development did not suit the natural vista, which was a requirement based on the Total Planning and Development Guidelines set by the Department of Town and Country Planning peninsular Malaysia under the Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Ministry.
Residents from both sides of the hill said such high density development projects on the foothill should not have been approval by DBKL.
They said it was an irresponsible decision and did not take into account the hill’s environment.
They also questioned if any part of the hill would be gazetted as a green lung.
Pantai Panorama Management Corporation council member Dr Teo Keng Huat said he and some neighbouring residents from Pantai Hill Park were not allowed to voice their objections during the hearing in 2011 over the high- rise development at Kampung Kerinchi Dalam.
“A DBKL officer told us only Pantai Hill Park (Phase 5) and those from public housing project near the area could do so.
“The officer said the rest of us were not living within a certain radius of the project and as such were not entitled to speak.
“However, we made it clear we were against any high-rise project on the foothill, as we live in that neighbourhood,
“DBKL should refer to the minutes to verify this,” he said.
Dr Teo added that the residents also wanted to know about development plans at Lot 1548, as they were in the dark over this,
He said they were afraid another condo project would be built there.
“Lot 1508 was supposed to be for bungalow lots but a condo project is taking shape instead.
“Now things are being done on the quiet at Lot 1548,” he said.
Based on another report in StarMetro, the developer’s spokesperson had said the proposed projects were in accordance with the requirements under Federal Territory (Planning) Act 1982.
These include Rule 5, under Planning (Development) Rules 1970, requiring us to notify and inform the parties of interest on the proposed development, and which was done by DBKL in 2011.
The development order for our project was then approved and issued by DBKL on June 20, 2011,” the spokesperson said.
Friends of Bukit Gasing (FOBG) president Dr Lim Thuang Seng said he was sad that DBKL had approved the high-rise development instead of gazetting the hill.
Since 2000, FOBG has repeatedly requested and raised the issue to gazette the KL side of Bukit Gasing hill.
He said the matter was raised to three former KL mayors — Datuk Mohmad Shaid Mohd Taufek, Datuk Hakim Borhan and Tan Sri Ahmad Fuad.
During Ahmad Fuad’s tenure, he mentioned that over 40ha of land might be gazetted on the KL side of the hill.
“The previous mayor said he had sent out letters to the land owners on the KL side of the hill to gazette the hill.
“I trust that the previous mayor would have kept his words but we are still not sure if the land has been gazetted.
“Instead, we see a high-rise development.
“The Petaling Jaya side of the hill has been turned into a recreational park and we want the same for the KL side?” said Lim, adding that despite recurring landslides near hilly terrains, the authorities were quick to approve development here.
“The authorities are only interested in making profits, not the public’s safety,” he said.
The Association of Backpackers Malaysia president Datuk Dr Wong Sai Hou, meanwhile, said he was worried that a stream near the development site may be filled with silt as well as the wildlife that would lose their habitat.
“We have carried out many ‘Save Bukit Gasing’ campaigns since the 1990s. We have also asked that both Petaling Jaya City Council and DBKL work together to preserve the hill and its surrounding,
“How can just one side of the hill be preserved and concrete buildings be built on the other,” he asked.
“We attended the KL Draft Plan hearing with high hopes. We were even told that there will be enough buffer zones from the foothill.
“We were assured that only low-rise development will be allowed but DBKL has gone back on its word.
“I hope Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor will do something to rectify the situation. We must preserve this area for the future generations,” said Dr Wong.
Former president of the Malaysian Nature Society, Tan Sri Dr Salleh Mohd Nor, said he was surprised approval was given for the high-rise project.
“DBKL must abide by the rules and we want an investigation carried out on the matter,” he said.
Fernandez said DBKL was obliged to ensure the building’s design complied with the guidelines.
The developer’s claims that all parties were allowed to give their input is not entirely true, he said.
“DBKL ignored objections made by the public during the KL Draft Plan hearing. There was another public hearing held over the development but it excluded those who objected as they were not neighbouring residents.
“We want to know who chaired the meeting and why objections made during the KL Draft plan were not taken into consideration?,” said Fernandez.
He said the Total Planning and Development Guidelines set by the Department of Town and Country Planning Peninsular Malaysia under the Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Ministry were reprinted in 2001.
“The guidelines were implemented before the approval for the project was given. The mayor must investigate this,” he said.
Based on a recent report, the Kuala Lumpur mayor told StarMetro that approval for the development project was given in 2008.
“We will not be able to do much since the approval was given in 2008, but we will check on the earthworks carried out.
“I believe the guideline that the residents are referring to is new and I am very concerned about the development on the hillside.
“If the developer does not follow the set requirements, I will issue a stop-work order,” said Ahmad Phesal.