THIS year has seen Ampang residents dealing with their fair share of issues on top of the Covid-19 pandemic.
One problem was a case of tug of war between residents and the authorities on the overdevelopment of projects in the mature Ampang municipality.
While many realised that development could not be stopped, at the very least they kept the authorities and developers on their toes.
Two such cases involved high-rise residential and commercial projects, in what stakeholders and residents deemed to be risky areas.
Ampang Jaya Municipal Council (MPAJ) has approved the construction of several blocks of high-rise towers comprising office suites and a multilevel carpark in Bukit Antarabangsa near the Middle Ring Road 2 (MRR2).
Bukit Antarabangsa Task Force (BATF) — a coalition of 30 residents associations’ joint management bodies and management committees — said the area was “too high risk” for the commercial project.
Despite voicing their concerns over the project since 2016, it was approved last year to the dismay of residents.
While the group is urging the local authorities to reveal the reasons for approving the project in the environmentally-sensitive Bukit Antarabangsa area, the project looks set to continue as clearing works have started.
MPAJ said the project received the necessary approvals, including from the Environment Department and the state’s development of environmentally-sensitive area committee.
A similar discontent loomed over a project that is to be developed at a hillslope amid five existing residences, namely Kemensah Villa, Desa Ku 2 Kemensah Residency, Kemensah Mewah and Pesona Villa, which the residents claim have a gradient of approximately 45°.
Some of the points raised over the two projects included environmental loss, traffic impact, possibilities of landslides and post-construction maintenance.
Concerns over the possibilities of landslides are not new to Ampang folk as was the case when an early morning landslide in Bukit Antarabangsa on May 30 forced the evacuation of seven households.
The landslide, which occurred behind the houses along Jalan Kelab Ukay 4, was triggered by heavy rain which resulted in the soil giving way.
The erosion at the bottom of a slope caused a retaining wall behind the houses to collapse. Cracks formed in the houses and residents had to be evacuated.
A stream — Sungai Sering — is located at the bottom of the slope behind the housing area.
Selangor government allocated an additional RM433,800 for the Selangor Drainage and Irrigation Department to carry out emergency work to repair and strengthen the collapsed slope.
In the midst of dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic, Ampang residents also had to cope with an unexpected malaria outbreak.
The Hulu Langat District Health Office was forced to carry out mass blood testing for over 600 households in Taman Saga and Taman Bukit Hatamas after 14 cases of malaria were detected in the area in May and June.
The outbreak was later suspected to have originated from a foreign worker who was infected by the disease in his home country of Aceh, Indonesia.
Thirteen of the cases were found among workers at a construction site, and one case involved a local resident.
This was the first malaria outbreak reported in Selangor this year.
Fortunately, Health Ministry announced that it was under control by the end of June.
The third quarter of 2020 also saw a change in leadership at MPAJ as then Sepang Municipal Council (MPSepang) president Mohd Fauzi Mohd Yatim was appointed to take over from outgoing MPAJ president Datuk Abdul Hamid Hussain in a direct swap.