Hillslope project and drug haunt part of dialogue

By LIM CHIA YING – The STAR / Metro

DEVELOPMENTS, especially on hillslopes, were questioned by residents of Taman Sri Ukay and Hill View Ampang during a dialogue held with the Ampang Jaya Municipal Council (MPAJ).  The dialogue was the first to be organised by the Taman Sri Ukay Hill View Residents’ Association (RA) since it was registered last October.

A Hill View resident asked about a development at Madonna Heights, the area where the former Good Shepherd kindergarten used to be.  “There are plans to build a gated community and high-rise apartments here. The MPAJ circulated six notices to six households within Taman Hillview but approval had apparently been given despite all six homes objecting to the plan,” the resident claimed.

“Is this the commitment of the authorities. Haven’t they learnt a lesson from past tragedies like the Highland Towers and Bukit Antarabangsa?  “This is frustrating and I am disgusted,” the resident said.

Also present were representatives from Telekom, Syabas, the police and Duke Highway. Ampang MP Zuraida Kamaruddin and Gombak MP and Bukit Antarabangsa assemblyman Azmin Ali were also present.

A resident staying at Lorong 7A in Taman Sri Ukay also voiced out her fears about a condominium at the peak.  She said this was a serious matter and that any untoward incident would affect the whole residential area.

Another matter brought up was claims by residents that the site of the Highland Towers tragedy has become a haunt for drug addicts.

The residents also complained about problems related to a religious school in the area.  “The drivers with their big cars park anywhere they like and have no respect for the residents. Traffic is heavy and a danger to us. The hygiene at the premises is also questionable,” said the residents.

Other issues raised included noise the residents have to put up with now that the Duta-Ulu Kelang Expressway (Duke) is open.  “We are wondering if barriers can be put up to muffle the noise. Also, the point where the DUKE and MRR2 converge is often at a gridlock, causing the congestion to spill over to the Melawati area.”

MPAJ deputy president Abd Hamid Hussain said he was unable to comment on the matters raised.

We received this from a friend:-

I have been approached by my aunt who teaches in Assunta school to spread the words pertaining to this girl who needs to raise fund to save her eyesight.

Her name is Yvonne Foong http://www.yvonnefoong.com                                                                               

and I believe that her plight has previously been highlighted in the papers. Briefly, she needs to undergo a highly complicated surgery due to optic nerve tumour. It’s a rare condition and Malaysian hospitals lack the necessary expertise to perform such a surgery.

Her father suffered from brain haemorrhage more than ten years ago and is unable to work, while her mother earns enough to get by only. So she has been raising on her own for the said surgery. Please take some time off to read her blog  http://www.yvonnefoong.com and help out in any way that you can, no matter how small the contribution as time is running out for her. She has another 3 days to collect enough funds for this surgery and she’s still lacking about RM10,000.  Thank you!!!  Regards, E.E.P

Najib: No more approval for risky hillside development

KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 6, 2008): The government will not allow any development in hilly areas at risk of landslides to avert a recurrence of the mishaps, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak said today. As such, he said, developers should not lobby the government for approval for projects in these areas.

“I believe there is no reason to carry out development on hill slopes at risk of landslides. It is better to take preventive measures to avert possible disasters.

“We have to learn from what has happened today,” he said during a visit to look at the landslide at Bukit Antarabangsa, Hulu Klang, near here.
  
Najib said there was no stopping developers from sending in their applications for hillslope projects once the stir over the landslide has eased. 
“Human beings have a short memory. In three or six months, people would have forgotten (what happened) and the developers will lobby for their applications to be approved. They do not learn from what has happened,” he said.

Najib warned developers not to pressure the government for approvals or to regard the government’s action as harsh.

However, he said the government should not be blamed if any area where development was not allowed in the first place was later found to be risk-free.

He expressed satisfaction with the response of the rescue team. He said the rescue operation has to be done cautiously as the ground is still unstable. Najib said the government has evacuated more than 2,000 occupants of a block of condominium situated near the scene of the landslide. — Bernama
 

These are other responses to the disaster at Bukit Antarabangsa: 

 

Bukit Antarabangsa landslide disaster – urgent Parliament debate

http://blog.limkitsiang.com/2008/12/07/2122/

 

Criminal negligence – after Highland Towers tragedy 15 years ago

http://blog.limkitsiang.com/2008/12/07/bukit-antarabangsa-landslide-disaster-%E2%80%93-criminal-negligence-after-highland-towers-tragedy-15-years-ago/

 

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak asked all state governments to review ongoing hillslope projects to avert landslides similar to Saturday’s incident at Bukit Antarabangsa in Hulu Klang, Selangor

http://www.thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2008/12/7/nation/20081207161532&sec=nation

 

Enough! No more hillside housing projects at Bukit Antarabangsa, orders Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi

http://www.thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2008/12/7/nation/2746282&sec=nation

 

Bukit Antarabangsa landslide – bitter vindication

http://elizabethwong.wordpress.com/2008/12/07/bukit-antarabangsa-landslide-bitter-vindication/

  

 

Nightmare on Ampang Hills

December 7, 2008

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All pics (C) H.Berbar

 

  

This was how thousands of residents were evacuated in

Bukit Antarabangsa yesterday after the landslide. 

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 Pics(C)H.Berbar

 

When these Malaysians bought their family homes, did they think that This would happen to them?  Did the thought that one day they and their children would have to struggle through cascading mud down a slippery dirt road for safety?  Where will they go?  What is to become of their home, a place which is supposed to be a safe haven for their families.  There are many questions that needs answers.

THE STAR:  update at 3.30pm

KUALA LUMPUR: A massive landslide occurred in Bukit Antarabangsa at 4am Saturday. As of 2.20pm Saturday, three people are confirmed dead and 15 injured.  The landslide cut off access by the main road to the residential areas at Bukit Antarabangsa, trapping hundreds of residents.  As of 2.20pm Saturday, more than 2,000 residents have been evacuated, said Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan.  He added that the search and rescue operation is ongoing for six people who are suspected to be buried but still alive.

On Saturday monring, Selangor police chief Datuk Khalid Abu Bakar said the military has been roped in to create a slip road to enable trapped victims to be evacuated from the area.

As of 2.30pm Saturday the police had airlifted six people who needed immediate medical attention – two pregnant women, two elderly women with weak hearts, a man who is a stroke patient and another man who needed haemodialysis treatment.  The last man is said to have made it to the hospital just in time for his treatment.  Among the dead are a Shaiful Khas, 20, and N. Logeswari, 40.

A total of 93 people have been rescued while seven are still reported missing.  Also affected are 14 houses in Jalan Bukit Mewah and Jalan Mewah Utama.  The injured and the remains of the dead have been rushed to the Kuala Lumpur Hospital.  A total of 160 police, army, Ampang Jaya City Council (MPAJ) and medical personnel are involved in the search and rescue operation.

According to BERNAMA, the injured were given first aid at the Addinniah surau before being sent to hospital. At least 12 ambulances were spotted at the scene.  One of the affected bungalows is owned by Datuk Mohamed Thajudeen Abdul Wahab, the principal private secretary to the prime minister.  Thajudeen and his family are safe. They were not at home at the time.

Bukit Antarabangsa assemblyman Azmin Ali said at the scene that earth movement continued to take place and that electricity supply to several housing estates in Bukit Antarabangsa was disrupted.

The site of Saturday’s landslide is believed to be 1.5km from the Highland Towers apartment building which collapsed on Dec 11, 1993, killing 48 people.

Press

August 18, 2008

Ban stays

Class 3 hillside development is not allowed in Selangor

By ELAN PERUMAL

The STAR METRO SATURDAY 16 AUG 2008

 

THE Selangor Government will not rescind its earlier decision to ban Class 3 hillside development.  State local government committee chairman Ronnie Liu, responding to a newspaper report on Thursday, said they would not bow to pressures from developers or any quarters to approve such development.  He said the report had no basis and there was no truth in claims that Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim was keen to revert the state’s firm stand against the hillside development.

 

“We will not bow to pressure from any parties as the state government’s policy is aimed at protecting the interests of the public.  “There is no change in our policy on hillside development and we are serious about it,’’ he told StarMetro.

Banning hillside developments was among some the landmark decisions made by the Pakatan Rakyat state government soon after defeating the Barisan Nasional in Selangor in the general election in March.  Liu said they were also organising talks between residents, Real Estate and Housing Development Association (Rehda) and the government authorities to hear grievances from the public on development.

He said this was aimed at providing more opportunity for the public to air their views and complaints.  “We are elected by the people and our decisions will always protect the rakyat,’’ he added.  It was reported earlier that approval would no longer be given in the state for hillside development projects involving Class 3 and Class 4 slopes.

(Class 3 slopes are those with a gradient of 25 degrees while Class 4 slopes are 35 degrees and above.)

Khalid had also directed state executive councillor Ronnie Liu to summon the relevant municipal and district council representatives as well as residents protesting against hillside projects to discuss the problems and issues at hand.  He added that he and exco member in charge of housing, building management and squatters Iskandar Abdul Samad would be meeting Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Ong Ka Chuan to seek a solution to the problem.  “The house buyers have come to us asking the state government to settle the problem. We will support them but their problem can only be settled if we have the support and cooperation of the Federal Government,” said Khalid.

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Residents don’t want change

by Terence Fernandez

The SUN MONDAY 18 AUG 2008

 

 

Though the Selangor government says that the ban on hillside development stays, the fact that it is willing to meet developers who want the policy reversed has unnerved taxpayers.  And the fact that all stakeholders are not consulted or present when developers argue their case is causing concern that it would be back to the days when decisions were not transparent. 

 

DAP assemblyman for Bukit Gasing, Edward Lee, particularly, feels aggrieved as he campaigned on the platform that hillside development be banned.  “I was voted in based largely on this premise, and judging from what was disclosed in theSun, I am very upset that I was not even consulted about this attempt to compromise on this policy,” he told theSun yesterday at a meeting with 20 residents’ representatives from Ampang and Petaling Jaya.  Also present were Petaling Jaya City Council councillors Derek Fernandez, K.W. Mak and S. Ramakrishnan.  Lee was responding to Thursday’s front page report that developers, through the intercession of executive councillors Ronnie Liu and Teresa Kok, have sought a meeting with Mentri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim to reverse the policy.

 

Liu had reasoned that the developers are gravely affected by the ban on all development above 26° gradient as they cannot develop large swathes of land which they own due to this ruling — implemented four months ago upon Selangor falling to the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) coalition of PKR, PAS and DAP.  “We were elected on this ticket and a promise of an open and transparent government. Even the intent of going back on our word four months down the road is unfair to the people, and is political suicide,” Lee added. 

 

Fernandez refutes the developers’ argument that they would lose out if they are prevented from building houses on such land.  “Instead of supporting them, Ronnie and Teresa should ask them how they acquired hillslope land in the first place.  “The process of alienating land on hills and hillslopes is highly suspect and the state government should not entertain them at all. Come on!  They want to cut hills and whatever technology they use, will not be able to counter the environmental side effects,” he said.

 

There was nothing wrong in developers meeting State authorities, Fernandez said, to discuss specific problems but not to change a policy.  But the state, he added, cannot change policies overnight.  “Even if there is going to be a change, the stakeholders must be consulted and the whole process must be open. Wasn’t this what they promised of – transparency and accountability in the run-up to the elections?” he asked.  “It does not give the impression of impartiality when a profit-based private organisation tries to use two excos to break a policy,” he said, adding that the state government will be held accountable if it goes back on its word.

 

Condominium, Apartment and High Rise Committee chairman and deputy president of the All-Petaling Jaya Selangor Residents Associations Coalition Tengku Nazaruddin Tengku Zainuddin said the people are understandably edgy over these latest attempts by developers to reverse a government policy, judging by the numerous issues in the Klang Valley involving hillside development.  “There must be no compromise on this matter,” he said, adding that those entrusted with the people’s well-being should not bend over backwards especially when it involves safety. I am very upset that I was not even consulted about this attempt to compromise on this policy” Edward Lee, DAP assemblyman for Bukit Gasing.

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Press statement

by Teresa Kok

Selangor state senior exco on 18th August 2008

The Accusation That The Selangor Government Intends To Reverse Policy On The Ban On Hill Slope Development Is Fictitious

The news report published by The Sun on 14th August 2008 with the title of “Hillslope policy to be reversed?” written by Nadeswaran and Terence Fernandez and the article written by The Sun’s journalist Nadeswaran under the title of “Business as usual on the hills” on 15th August 2008 are  misleading and examples of irresponsible journalism.

I am protesting against the first news report which implicated YB Ronnie Liu and me for trying to push the state government to rescind our decision on the ban on hillslope development. The said article also mentioned that the Menteri Besar met with Rehda at my insistence, and “Abdul Khalid is not in favour of meeting the developers but sources say Kok and Liu coaxed him into it”.         

The fact is, there has been a meeting between Menteri Besar and excos with Rehda on 25th July 2008. The meeting was requested by Rehda and it was agreed by the Menteri Besar in the exco meeting. As such the accusation in The Sun’s report is misleading, mischevious, fatally flawed and untrue.  It is in fact very malicious for the writers to put such lines in their report as they are subjective and based on hearsay from unnamed sources.

Ever since the Pakatan Rakyat came to power in Selangor, the state excos and MB have had series of meetings with various groups, including various business organizations. Selangor is business-friendly and people-friendly because both groups can co-exist and need each other.

The meeting between the MB, the Exco and Rehda on 25th July 2008 was the first meeting after we came into power. Rehda’s representatives raised a series of problems facing them and hillslope development was only one in the list and not the only issue on that day. The way the two writers of The Sun singled out hillslope development as the only issue that was “lobbied” by Rehda via Ronnie Liu and me is absolutely not true.    

The conclusion of the dialogue between the MB and Rehda is that we will initiate a dialogue between NGOs and Rehda on hillslope development, so that both sides can understand each other’s position better.  Neither the MB nor any exco has ever come out with statement that said there might be a reverse on the ban on hillslope development whether privately or publicly.

As the two articles have created confusion and misunderstanding among residents and some NGOs on the issue, some NGOs have come out to protest against the “decision” yesterday.

This statement is to clarify the real situation and position of the Selangor government.

I also wish to voice my protest and utter disappointment the misleading message that has been sent out from the two articles written by both Nadeswaran and Terence Fernandez of The Sun. I am very disappointed with the way Nadeswaran repeating the lie in his second article titled “Business as usual on the hills” on 15th August 2008 after I have clarified with Nadeswaran.

I can only presume, rightly or otherwise, both Nadeswaran and Terence Fernandez are very environmentally conscious and they want to pre-empt imaginary moves by the Selangor government to reverse the ban on hillslope development policy.  

While we support the writers’ freedom of expression, they should also learn to be fair, just and responsible in their writing, and should refrain from cooking up fairytales about the Selangor government.

Teresa Kok 

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