The STAR

April 14, 2008

Not fighting a losing battle

By CHRISTINA LOW and FAZLEENA AZIZ

For the first time residents of eight residential areas in Ampang have come together to meet their elected representatives after the recent general election.

And there was a good reason for the meeting.

The residents from Taman Hijau, Ukay Heights, Taman TAR, Dataran Ukay, Taman Hillview, Bukit Antarabangsa, Taman Melawati and Taman Zooview met up with Selangor state executive councillor for tourism, consumer affairs and environment Elizabeth Wong, Gombak MP Azmin Ali and Ampang MP Zuraida Kamaruddin to air their grouses over the rampant hillside development projects in Ampang.

The gathering at Taman Hijau was attended by nearly hundred residents and saw many questions raised over the approved hillside developments by the Ampang Jaya Municipal Council (MPAJ) and the future of the hills and nature reserves in Ampang, which they had fought for all these years.

Zuraida said that she was glad to see the residents coming together for a common cause and expressed her unhappiness over the projects too.

“I am very disappointed with some of the developers who have embarked on these projects without taking other matters such as the environment and the residents’ objection into consideration,” she said.

She also responded to Taman Hijau residents’ complaint over a proposed project on the 24.9ha-site (61.54-acre) near the Taman Hijau Apartment which is a mixed development comprising 149 bungalows and 460 shop/office units in a 10-storey building.

“The project will not only affect Taman Hijau residents but also the neighbouring areas. We would surely do our best to express our objection,” said Zuraida.

For Taman Zooview resident Tan Lor Chee, she was glad that the representatives came forward to meet the residents to get a clearer picture on matters.

“At least we know that we have the support of our wakil rakyat, and we hope they will continue to assist, listen to us and take action,” said Tan who had been living in Taman Zooview for the past 18 years.

Tan said the hillside developments near her area had caused plenty of damages to nature and the neighbouring areas like Ukay Perdana.

“We had monkeys coming into our compounds since their natural habitat were being destroyed,” said Tan.

The 50-year-old school-teacher also added that the residents had met up with the council couple of times but none of the meetings were fruitful.

Joint Action Committee For Bukit Gasing (JACBG) member Gary Yeoh said he appreciated that the state government was working on a more transparent mode.

According to an expatriate, who only wanted to be known as Denis, the residents were happy with the outcome of the meeting.

“Earlier all our objection letters to the council received terse replies stating that our objections were irrelevant considering these are major projects,” he said.

Among the other projects being planned for the area are the construction of 21 three-storey houses on a 1.85ha land between Jalan Kelab Ukay 5 and Jalan Kelab Ukay 6, a few meters away from the Sungai Sering. The site is situated next to an oxidation pond near Taman Kelab Ukay. Another project of concern to the residents is the Taman Melawati Hill in phase 3, a well-hidden recreational trail for many residents in and around Taman Melawati, where a proposed housing development project is set to take place.

Both projects had been approved by the MPAJ.

Recently Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim put two hillside projects in Bukit Antarabangsa, that was approved by the MPAJ, on hold until the projects were reviewed.

Thanks to English daily theStar & Chinese paper SinChew for covering our story.

A big thanks too to MALAYSIAKINI.TV for the following report:-

Elizabeth Wong promises to review ‘approved’ developments
12 April 2008 | 06:41 min
News Clips / General

The new Selangor state government has recently put a ban on hillslope development but allowing 141 hillslope projects that have been approved by the previous administration to continue.

Speaking to concerned residents of Ampang, Elizabeth Wong, Selangor exco member who the environment as one of her portfolios, said that she and her team will investigate the approved developments and urge the residents to assist her with information that she can take to the state government.
Camera & editing: Uzair Sawal

Thanks also to the following BLOGGERS for their reporting:

http://rockybru.blogspot.com/2008/04/uphill-task-in-saving-hill.html

http://serimenanti-solok.blogspot.com/2008/04/trail-of-destructions-yet-developers.html

http://muststopthis.blogspot.com/2008/04/what-does-it-take-for-us-to-pay-more.html

Last but not least, thanks to our friends in B.Antarabangsa:

http://www.antarabangsa.net/news.htm

 

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2 Responses to “The STAR”

  1. AC Says:

    Developer invites residents to bring technical expert
    By FAZLEENA AZIZ

    THE developer of the 24.9ha site at Ukay Heights near Taman Hijau, Ampang, is inviting residents unhappy with the project to bring their technical experts to go through the project with them.

    Malaysian Assurance Alliance Bhd (MAA) said the meeting would iron out any fears or apprehension that residents had about the mixed- development project involving 149 bungalows and 460 shop/office units in a 10-storey building.

    MAA vice-president Property (projects & development) Ho Chin Hoy said as an insurance company, safety was certainly a matter that the company would not compromise on.

    “We have done our part to accommodate the residents’ concerns by going through six layout revisions. We have scaled down our project from the initial 196 units to 149 that have gone through 13 stringent government agencies, including the Public Works Institute (Ikram) and the Department of Environment (DOE).

    “This is a hyper-sensitive area in terms of development and no one will develop this place if it does not follow the proper guidelines.

    “We are retaining at least 15% of the green lung, which is beyond the 10% that is required and it is a low-density project. The Class 4 areas will not be touched and the Class 3 areas will only be used for roads.

    “There are four main buffer zones and six retention ponds in the area.. The team of consultants, who did the research and submission, have been independent and not linked to us in any way.

    “We have never taken any short cuts to get any of the technical approvals and everything is by the book.

    “This is why we are offering the residents to bring a technical expert to look at our project.

    “We also like the residents to have a proper discussion in a proper manner.

    “We prefer a technical expert asking the questions or they can get a representative to meet us.

    “Previously, we had tried to engage the residents but it was rejected.

    “We also tried to meet them through two teams of public relations companies, however, that also failed and we then decided to set up a website, http://www.ukaydevelopment.com.my, which contains a walk through of the development.

    “Now, what is it that the residents want – safety or a green lung?

    If it is safety, then they can go through our reports and justify their complaints or get their experts to do it but if they want a green lung, then we apologise unless they wish to buy the land,” he said.

    He said it had taken five-and-a-half years for them to obtain the Developmental Order (DO) because of their willingness to accommodate the residents concerns.

    The Ampang Jaya Municipal Council had approved the project on Dec 31, 2007, and the residents had been notified.

    The Taman Hijau Association has brought the matter to the Selangor state local government, research and development committee chairman Ronnie Liu on April 9.

    A meeting will be held tomorrow between the affected residents, MAA as well as MPAJ and Liu.

  2. Engineer Says:

    Mr Ho, after So many objections, you still ask ‘what do we want?’ Helllloooo? Err, maybe I should just spell it out for you – SAFETY lah! Huh, green lung, you think so easy to sell us ah? The trouble is the town planning laws are not up to par in this country. Just b’cos it’s private land, you cannot do whatever you want up to your pagar. So what if you got all technical approvals. I also can get technical approvals lah. What country are you living in? We live in an era and political climate where even judges can be ‘persuaded’ what more a few ‘technical’ agencies. By the book pulak! You made a mistake buying a piece of land that is not feasible to develop … now you want to flog it on us?! Just admit it, it was a bad business decision, and like any poor business, you have to pay for it. Just don’t make us pay for it. Not with money nor our lives! If you so sure, will MAA insure us? You must be living in Subang Jaya. Us Ampang folks would know of at least a friend or neighbor who was affected by landslides right here in Ulu Kelang (read Died, Lost Loved One) So before you cry how you reached out to the residents, first get to know the area and our history. No point for us talking oranges to people who never seen one. As for your ‘safe’ development, have you seen it yourself? Better get new architects I think.


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