GE15: Setiawangsa candidates united in opposition against Bukit Dinding development

THE 15th General Election (GE15) candidates for Setiawangsa came together to oppose the Bukit Dinding development, which has sparked protests among locals who fear future landslides at the site.

In a town hall meeting with the nearby residents on Wednesday (Nov 16) near the hill, the aspiring parliamentarians gave their ideas for dealing with the issue.

Five out six candidates showed up, which included incumbent MP Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad (Pakatan Harapan), Nurul Fadzilah Kamaluddin (Perikatan Nasional) and Bibi Sunita Sakandar Khan (Pejuang).

Also present were independents Mior Rosli Mior Jaafar and Stanley Lim Yen Tiong, at the session moderated by Friends of Bukit Dinding, a non-profit set up to oppose the project.

Nik Nazmi stressed that the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) should take charge in moderating the engagement sessions between the developer and residents.

He noted that his office had sent letters requesting the local authority to release all the technical reports regarding the project.

On Sept 26, Kuala Lumpur mayor Datuk Seri Mahadi Che Ngah said 25% of the site must be maintained as a green area.

He also stressed that no work should take place until engagement sessions with residents were finalised, although no deadline was given.

This followed fierce protests from local residents, who claimed that the environmental impact assessment report was outdated.

Bibi, meanwhile, urged DBKL to revoke the development order (DO) that was issued early this year to the developer.

She explained that her office had sent a letter to DBKL, while stressing that Bukit Dinding served as an important nature spot in Setiawangsa.

“Efforts must be made to preserve nature, especially in a fast-growing constituency such as Setiawangsa,” she added.

Nurul Fadzilah proposed that a special committee, to be headed by the new MP, be formed to discuss the matter with the relevant stakeholders.

“A notice of demand must be sent to DBKL, alongside a petition by Setiawangsa residents,” she added.

The candidates also took questions from the audience, who asked about their plans should DBKL be required to pay a penalty to the developer for revoking the DO.

Nik Nazmi admitted this was tricky, as the land was privately-owned, and was gazetted as a residential area.

“However, there is also the safety aspect which must be considered,” he said, adding that an independent consultant should be appointed to review the project.

Lim opined that DBKL could apply for a court injunction, to stop it from being required to pay a penalty.

Mior Rosli, meanwhile, urged DBKL to consider the views of all residents, stressing that profit should not be the only motive.

News broke out in September that two blocks of 26-storey condominiums will be built on Bukit Dinding, which sparked protests by local residents.

On Oct 18, a police report was lodged against the developer for allegedly misleading the residents about the project.

In several media reports, locals also highlighted their concern about potential landslides at the site, which could threaten their home.

In a StarMetro report on Nov 5, the developer Nova Pesona Sdn Bhd said its land had been designated for residential use since 1983.

The company added that the development was also gazetted under the then Kuala Lumpur City Plan 2020.

“The 52.5ha parcel is only part of Bukit Dinding and does not constitute the entire hill. There are other lots with different owners,” it noted.

On concerns over the soil integrity, Nova Pesona said it was normal for groundwater to exist in natural slopes.

It said drains were installed to capture and release stormwater, adding it would comply with the guidelines from the Public Works Department to ensure safety.

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