Hillside development raises concerns, questions


charlesf@thestar.com.my 

RESIDENTS of apartment units in Pusat Bandar Puchong along the fringes of the Ayer Hitam forest reserve (AHFR) are strongly against a proposal by the Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ) to develop the hillside. 

Residents claim the reserve was supposed to be protected as a green lung and a water catchment area and plans to develop the place should be stopped. 

Pang showing what was going on at the green lung.

Since 1995, the only major construction projects in the area were a landfill and an 8km highway, the second link between Puchong and Seri Kembangan, which was built to ease congestion at the Puchong-Serdang bypass. 

Resident’s action committee chairman Pang Wai Hoong said AHFR was one of the few remaining green lungs in the Klang Valley and efforts should be made to conserve it. 

“We are strongly against development in the green lung as we are worried about its effect on the environment, particularly the hill slope and the risk of landslides,’’ said Pang. 

He pointed out that the remaining parcel of AHFR was designated to be a permanent forest reserve and part of the land was utilised by Universiti Putra Malaysia as a research centre for its students and lecturers. 

Several apartments such as Sri Penaga, D’ Palma, Saraka, Sri Kesidang and Bayan and a primary school are among the projects at the foot of the hill, which was formerly the Castlefield estate. 

“We are not only worried about residents in the area but our concern is also about people beyond this area, especially the schoolchildren at the primary school at the foot of the hill,’’ added Pang. 

The residents also want to know why MPSJ approved development at the green lung when the Selangor state government had gazetted the area as a forest reserve seven years ago. 

“This shows the whole hill in Pusat Bandar Puchong that can be seen from the LDP is going for development.  

“We believe there is a new development plan approved by MPSJ and the residents were not informed about it,’’ said Pang. 

The residents were also not amused when Puchong MP Lau Yeng Peng, who attended a dialogue session with them, said that any development in the area would benefit residents in both Pusat Bandar Puchong and Bandar Kinrara as the developers were planning to construct a link between the two housing projects. 

“I have recorded your concern and will bring up the matter with the relevant authorities,’’ said Lau. 

When contacted, MPSJ Town Planning director Ismail Muhammad said several soil investigations on the hill had been carried out and the report would be sent to the relevant authorities.  

He said the AHFR was a granite hill and therefore there was no fear of landslides, adding that MPSJ had now approved low density development as opposed to high density development in the original plan. 

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