KUALA LUMPUR: A new high-rise building project on the Kuala Lumpur side of Bukit Gasing has drawn the ire of elected representatives and residents in the area, highlighting the lack of foresight by City Hall to effectively manage hillslopes and green lungs.
The condominium project currently being constructed has breached the buffer zone of the green lung, one of the remaining few in the city.
Despite promises from Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) three years ago that the area will be developed to encompass a low-density project, the contrary has occurred.
It is now planned for mixed development with two blocks, each with 27 stories of residential and commercial lots.
Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar told fz.com the area, comprising more than 50 acres (20.23ha) of land, was initially planned for a low-density project.
“During the last mayor’s [Tan Sri Ahmad Fuad Ismail] reign, I was informed that the development was approved by the Economic Planning Unit and then prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi,” she said.
“Since the project would encroach upon the buffer zone of Bukit Gasing, I was given the assurance that it will be a low-density development. But now I have come to hear from residents that it will be more than 20 stories high.
“They have been changing the density of the project according to orders from higher-ups in DBKL,” she claimed.
Nurul Izzah said the land is owned by DBKL and the current condominium project is the product of a joint venture between IJM and Amona Development Sdn Bhd.
She said the high-rise condominium is also being built in an area prone to landslips and requires expert management if high-density projects are constructed there.
Nurul Izzah said a public hearing held with residents about two years ago saw objections raised by many in the area.
However, it seems DBKL did not heed their views or concerns.
“I think it is shameful of DBKL, in the way they treat the processes they created,” she said.
“They don’t respect the process. They did not even bother to consider the objections raised by the residents.
“Furthermore, this is DBKL’s land. They are supposed to protect the interests of the people.”
Nurul Izzah said she will be meeting with DBKL officials to submit documents to challenge DBKL and obtain explanations on the project.
The Kuala Lumpur side of Bukit Gasing has not been gazetted as a green lung despite the fact that the Selangor government had gazetted the Petaling Jaya side as a green belt.
Over the years, the area has seen increased stripping of forested areas to accommodate high-rise buildings and other residential projects.
One of the most controversial residential projects to date involves the construction of 16 luxury bungalows by Gasing Meridian Sdn Bhd at the Petaling Jaya-Kuala Lumpur border of the hill.
Residents have also seen many landslips in the area from poor management of hillslopes and oversight in the technicalities of development.
The Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) is currently managing the area which has seen at least nine landslide incidents over the past few years.
MBPJ councillor Derek Fernandez hit out at DBKL for backtracking on its word that a low-density project would be built in the area.
“The systematic and callous rape of Bukit Gasing under the pretext of sustainable development will leave nothing for the future generations except a great wall of concrete.
“The continuing legacy of greed in the name of concrete development will in the end destroy this gift of nature forever.
“Stop telling the public you practise sustainable development when what you allow is anything but sustainable. Better just let any private owners do anything they like.
“Why even bother to pretend to care for the environment? Better still, let the developer run DBKL and save ratepayers money,” he added.
Mayor Datuk Ahmad Phesal Talib could not be reached for comment.
For more stories, go to www.fz.com, the website for freedom of expression and fairness in articulation.
This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on December 17, 2013.
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