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We are not privy to the PWD Bukit Antarabangsa initial report December 18, 2008

Posted by elizabethwong in Bebal-ism, Democracy, Economy, Environment, Huh?!, Human Rights, Malaysia.
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My office has been on a state of high alert to receive the initial assessment report on Bukit Antarabangsa today. I even cancelled my working trip to Singapore just to be in office to go through it.

But …. Public Works Department told us that the Selangor Government can’t have a copy of the report. 

Six pm came and ran off; we’re definitely not going to see it.

This is a disservice to the residents of Bukit Antarabangsa, and yet another good reason why there should be a Freedom of Information Act (not just a state enactment) in this country.

PRESS STATEMENT
18 DEC 2008

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

SELANGOR HAS A RIGHT TO INFORMATION REGARDING BUKIT ANTARABANGSA

Today, the Selangor State Government should have received a copy of the initial assessment report from the Public Works Department, including that of the potential geo-hazardous zones, of the landslide-affected areas at Bukit Antarabangsa for the state’s own study and assessment on the integrity of the hillslope and its surrounding areas.

With the said report, the Selangor state would meet with the residents on Friday morning 10 am, to make public the report and to convey the options that would be available for the affected residents, including whether or not they would be allowed to return to their abandoned homes.

This pledge was conveyed to the residents during a closed-door meeting with affected residents and families of the deceased on Sunday, 14th December 2008, with the Selangor Menteri Besar, state representatives and the Public Works Department.

Thus, it is of grave concern that the state has been informed that a Ministerial order has been given to deny the Selangor State Government of this initial assessment report today. Despite being informed of this fact this morning, we gave time for the Public Works Department and the Minister to reconsider their decision.

Instead, we have been told that the information is only for the eyes of the Minister of Works and that only after the Minister makes his announcement, then would the Selangor state government be allowed to view the report. It is further disconcerting to be informed that one of ‘reasons’ given was that because the report was funded by the Federal Government, thus it would be for their eyes only until they ‘allow’ us to view it.

I find this attitude is repugnant and disturbingly partisan.

Both the Minister and the Selangor State Government have a right to the information contained in the initial assessment report compiled by the Public Works Department. We are equally as anxious as the residents to ascertain the safety of Bukit Antarabangsa considering it may affect thousands of people and the future of development in the area.

Instead of wrangling who should read it first, one should reason that the report should be available to both the Federal Minister and the State Government.

I urge the Minister of Works to release the report to the Selangor State Government without further delay so that we are able to have enough time to study the report and to honour our collective pledge to the people of Bukit Antarabangsa.

ELIZABETH WONG
Exco for Tourism, Consumer Affairs and the Environment
Selangor State Government

 

Landslide: PWD decides not to hand report to MB
Jimadie Shah Othman | Dec 18, 08 6:32pm
Malaysiakini.com 
Selangor Menteri Besar Abdul Khalid Ibrahim is disappointed with the Public Works Department over its decision not to hand over the Bukit Antarabangsa landslide report to the state government.  

first 100 days khalid ibrahim interview 160608 01This has resulted in Abdul Khalid not being able to announce the next course of action as scheduled tomorrow.

According to sources, PWD revealed its decision on the matter to the state government this afternoon.

However, the department did not provide a detailed explanation as to why it decided as such apart from stating that “there were too many implications” if the report is handed to Abdul Khalid.

Sources said the menteri besar has expressed ‘puzzlement’ over the decision. 

Promise given during dialogue

Previously, during a dialogue between the menteri besar, PWD officials and Bukit Antarabangsa residents, the department had promised to hand over the report so that proper follow-up action could be taken by the state government.

It is believed that Works Minister Mohd Zin Mohamad would announce the report tomorrow after it is tabled before the Cabinet.

bukit anatarabangsa landslide pdrm aerial photographs 101208 03The New Straits Times today reported Abdul Khalid as saying that the state government is expected to make an announcement on the safety of Bukit Antarabangsa after going through the report from PWD and the Public Works Institute of Malaysia (Ikram)

“We are waiting for the report from PWD, geologists and Ikram,” 

The massive landslide in the Bukit Antarabangsa area on Dec 16 left four people dead and destroyed 14 bungalows in Taman Bukit Mewah and Taman Bukit Utama.

Following this, Housing and Local Government Minister Ong Ka Chuan said there were no indications of human negligence as the cause of the incident.

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Comments»

1. amoker - December 18, 2008

After the cabinet meeting tomorrow, the wording will put the selangor government responsible. Then at 6pm, they will make that press statement and demand quick action. They will then complain on Monday that Selangor government is dragging its feet.

2. wandererAUS - December 18, 2008

What have this country come to. Here we are dealing with residents’ lives who live in the affected area, properties and frustrations, yet this UMNO Minister found it fit to split hair. Playing politics and showing arrogance, rather than having the welfare of the victims at heart. It is really unfortunate, this UMNO-BN regime is filled with goons and orang utangs!

3. Ampang resident - December 18, 2008

Damn them. Thousands of lives at stake and they want to play around with politics. Sick and tired, we are, of this attitude. You have to be wary now when you receive the report: may be cover-ups, inaccurate data, etc. Won’t put it pass them. These Jabatans are useless, they are the same ones who gave green light for MPAJ to approve risky development in the first place. They lack transparency, expertise, independence, even common sense.

4. abdullah - December 18, 2008

What! funded by the federal government and for their eyes only.Where did the federal got their fund from?talks like warlords.Does the people of the state pay no taxes.

5. Batu Ferringhi - December 19, 2008

The government is losing its directions and seem lost. They cannot hold back the report, the people of Bukit Antarabangsa has every right to know. The more this govt plays the game of cat and mouse (like the polis with the JERIT cyclists) the more they lose their credibility with the Malaysian voters… let them continue with their silly game.

6. oA - December 19, 2008

.

of course they wouldnt dare to – incase their butts are exposed.

.

7. Save The Damansara Perdana Forest - December 19, 2008

Dear Elizabeth,
The picture on the front page of Star Metro on the Damansara Perdana hillside development refers.
The people should be informed about the facts in this case.
1. This 800 acres development was formally an Orang Asli Forest Reserve, alienated to a private company. Who approved it ?
2. The whole steep, forested hills have been zoned for development with no allowance for parks or open space. How could MBPJ allow development on such steep slopes of more than 30% ?
3.The present traffic in Damansara Perdana is bad with double parking infront of the shophouses. There muat be a proper Traffic Impact Study done by the State Government ( not by the developer !!)before any further development is allowed.
4.When the PJ Trade Centre is occupied,I forsee really bad traffic congestion due to only one road access into Damansara Perdana.

EW: Unfortunately, much of our tasks these days are trying to clean up or ameliorate the mess created years ago. Dsara Perdana and its surrounding areas were alienated in the early 1990s and the Exco then approved it. Til today, most of the areas have not been handed over to MBPJ, including Flora Dsara. My office just checked with MBPJ, and there are no new applications for development on that steep hill that you are referring to. Traffic – when MBPJ approved the project some years ago, they should have insisted on additional roads, alternative entry points etc. I am as baffled as you are why this did not happen. I am interested too, to read their TIA (Traffic Impact Assessment) and wonder who their traffic consultant was.

8. Damocles - December 19, 2008

Liz, even after the tsunami of March 8, they still insist on carrying on being stubborn and stupid.
They’ll, however, make the job of the PR that much easier in kicking them out of the government.
Give all such acts the widest coverage possible, so that people are aware of what the BN government, one that they have so much faith in, has been doing.

9. klm - December 19, 2008

What are you doing about it.? Sue them to handover the report. This is a constitutional issue.

Also, report this to his Highness. I am sure his Highness is interested. After, it affect his subjects.

10. My2cen - December 19, 2008

The BN govt has overstayed and thinks that all the money is THEIRS!!! WE must stand up to tell THEM that the money belongs the the RAKYAT, everything if funded by the rakyat!!!! It’s NOT THEIRS, IT”S OURS, ALL OURS!!! No such thing as secret, secret anymore when the RAKYAT has perished in a disaster. The don’t get it, so, people, kick them out.

donplayplay

11. Sinniah - December 21, 2008

Ms Wong,

Before anything happens we need to see the surroundings of the Klang Gates….

KLANG GATES QUARTZ RIDGE

Although not limestone, Klang Gates quartz ridge is an important geological formation in Selangor, and forms an impressive backdrop to the north side of Kuala Lumpur. Unfortunately there is little recognition of its importance, as this letter shows…..

Malaysiakini Letters

Klang Gates’ quartz ridge – heritage being destroyed

Oct 9, 2008

Malaysian With Children

The Klang Gates quartz ridge is one of the longest, if not the longest quartz outcrop in the whole world.

It is possibly the most stunning geological feature, and certainly the most obvious, in Peninsula Malaysia, as it creates a magnificent backdrop to the north of Kuala Lumpur skyline.

Sadly, this magnificent natural heritage goes unrecognised and unnoticed by so many Malaysians. The 1996 structure plans for the Selayang area did not even put the ridge on its map, when in fact there may be 5 kilometres or more of it that run through Selayang.

The Ampang Jaya Municipal Council (MPAJ), meanwhile, has approved a large number of developments all along the ridge, as if it does not even exist.

In October 2003, the former Selangor menteri besar launched the Selangor State Park study in the shadow of this magnificent giant. In August 2005, the deputy prime minister stood at the foothills of the area, and declared it part of Taman Warisan Selangor (the Selangor State Park).

Yet still no protection has been offered for this magnificent ridge and development plans continue unabated.

The slopes of the Klang Gates ridge are largely class 3 and class 4 slopes and combined with the quartz soil, the area is unstable for most types of development.

It will be a real tragedy if the government remains so disinterested in this geological wonder, and allows it to be destroyed and desecrated by wanton development; the way the beauty of Batu Caves has been destroyed.

Why has it not yet been declared a national-natural heritage site? Why is it not a proper part of the Selangor State Park?

Will no one in authority stand up, recognise and protect this spectacular gift that God has taken a millennium to create and man intends to destroy in a few decades?

Let’s hope someone takes and interest besides the housing developers.

———————-

THE STAR

Monday October 20, 2008

Klang Gates Quartz Ridge unprotected

WE travel to as far as Australia to admire the Blue Mountains and Ayers Rock; or to Krabi, Thailand to admire their vertical outcrops jutting from the sea; or even to the Grand Canyon in the United States. But little do most Malaysians realise what an amazing natural treasure lies in our own backyard.

I am talking about this magnificent natural heritage of ours, the Klang Gates Quartz Ridge in Selangor which, unfortunately, is unprotected.

The area around the Klang Gates Quartz Ridge has been designated as an environmental sensitive area (ESA), but we are already seeing and feeling the effects of development with so many housing projects being located dangerously close to these areas.

One wonders how much of the land around the quartz ridges have already been approved for development by MPAJ and the former State Government!

If you climb up Bukit Tabur, which is part of these magnificent quartz ridges, the view is breathtaking on one side and heartbreaking on the other. It is heartbreaking to see the devastation, ugly scarring and flattening of the hillsides in the vicinity of the Klang Gates dam and around Taman Melawati, Kemensah Heights, Kampung Kemensah (once famous for its streams and waterfalls which have now turned muddy) and Taman Zooview.

Further down all the way to Batu Caves too, we see commercial as well as housing projects mushrooming close to the ridge. The developer and local authorities may comfort us with arguments that all mitigating measures to ensure “minimum effect on the environment” will be carried out.

They may come up with an impressive array of engineering solutions to protect the slopes and the environment and they may even say this is only a low-density development that will not affect earth movement.

But we know from experience, as in the case of development on hillslopes in Taman Melawati and Kemensah area, that “low-density development” does not mean low impact on the environment.

Do we really believe that all that piling will not affect the stability of the ridges? And when huge chunks of the ridge come crashing down, after all the damage is caused, are the developers or MPAJ going to very magnanimously offer for our safety to build ugly cement retaining walls to patch up the quartz ridge just like they did in Taman Zooview?

Is that the view we want of our natural treasure – all patched up, plastered and cemented?

The Quartz Ridge of the Klang Gates is a unique natural heritage. Let us not throw away our chance to preserve and protect this heritage for our future generations.

TREE HUGGER,

Taman Melawati, Kuala Lumpur.

———————-
EW: No more projects approved there since we came in. Also Wildlife reserves gazetted. Water catchment at tail-end of gazettement. And there will be some proposed amendments next year to the State Park Enactment 2005 :)

12. monsterball - December 31, 2008

I wish you and your family…good health ..much happiness and a prosperous 2009.
Wishing you all the best in your political career and may 2009 brings you much satisfactions and what you have worked for in 2008…bear fruits in 2009!!


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