Bukit Gasing residents can challenge development order for project

PUTRAJAYA: After a two-year legal battle, Bukit Gasing residents can finally go ahead and challenge a development order issued by the Kuala Lumpur mayor approving a controversial hillslope project in their area.

This follows a Federal Court decision on Friday March 19 upholding a High Court order granting leave to the 108 residents to initiate a judicial review to challenge the development order.

Chief Justice Tun Zaki Azmi and Federal Court judges Datuk Seri James Foong Cheng Yuen and Datuk Seri Md Raus Sharif dismissed with costs the application for leave to appeal brought by Kuala Lumpur City Hall and the developer, Gasing Meridian Sdn Bhd (GMSB).

Kuala Lumpur City Hall and GMSB had sought leave to appeal against the High Court decision of April 24 last year permitting the residents to initiate a judicial review to challenge the order.They applied for leave to appeal at the Federal Court after they were unsuccessful in their appeal at the Court of Appeal, which had on Nov 20 last
year, in a 2-1 majority decision, dismissed their appeal to set aside the High Court order.  

The mayor, via a development order dated Oct 2, 2007 issued to Gasing Meridian, had allowed the developer to carry out earth works and land sub-divisions. The three-man bench on Friday held that the legal questions framed by City Hall and GMSB were "not novel nor of public advantage" and hence did not fulfill the criteria set out in Section 96 of the Courts of Judicature Act.

The court also ordered City Hall and GMSB to pay litigation costs of RM20,000 each. The residents had filed leave for a judicial review in January 2008, claiming that the mayor had failed to take into account that they had a right
under common law to be given due notice and a chance to voice their opinion in the decision-making process of planning. They claimed that the mayor had acted contrary to the policy and intent of the Federal Territory (Planning) Act 1982.

The proposed development is the Sanctuary Ridge Kuala Lumpur City project to build 68 bungalows on a 15.5-hectare site in Bukit Gasing. Meanwhile, Bukit Gasing joint action committee member Victor Oorjitham said
the court would have an opportunity to hear the substantive application on why the residents objected to the project.

"We have battled it out in and outside the court for more than two years. We now look forward to the hearing in the High Court," he said. - Bernama
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