Thursday, December 11, 2008

CLIMBING MALAYSIAKINI: on 99 hillside projects

Qu'est-ce que vous avez dit? [What did you say?].... a simple question to what has been mentioned in Parliament as reported by Pathma Subramaniam in Malaysiakini. A total of 99 hillside projects had been approved by the Selangor government under then menteri besar Dr Mohamad Khir Toyo. [ 99 hillslope projects approved by Khir Toyo, says S'gor MB Pathma Subramaniam ]

2. Lets take a tour through The New Straits Time on the issue of Higeki Bukit Antarabangsa.


The blame game has begun. While victims are trying to come to terms with the tragedy, and while those trapped are wondering how they would get basic needs like food, the former and current menteri besar of Selangor are trading blows.
It began when former menteri besar Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo lashed out at the present administration, accusing it of not being on top of the problem.

"During my time, the state Public Works Department, with the assistance of the Public Works Institute of Malaysia (Ikram), the Geology Department and the Drainage and Irrigation Department, provided reports every three months on hillslope conditions in Hulu Kelang," Dr Khir said.

"This started after the last landslide in the area, which happened in Kampung Pasir in May, 2006."

Dr Khir said the currenthousing area where the landslide happened was not approved during his tenure but more than 15 years ago.
He said during his tenure, the state had established a special committee headed by the state secretary to oversee all hillslope developments.

"There was no problem then. I don't know what happened after the new administration came in," Dr Khir said.

"The state government should be more strict. During our time, the state government collected RM6 million in fines from developers who did not build proper retention ponds. We even stopped some projects."

In an immediate response, Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim came out with guns blazing, denying allegations that the state administration had failed to monitor or be strict with developments on hillslopes.

Khalid said there were more than 90 ongoing hillside projects in the state and that it had ordered the developers to submit monthly reports on the progress of their work, adding that all these projects were approved by the previous administration.

"The state cannot rescind the development orders given to these developers as there are legal implications involved."

He said the state government would blacklist developers and companies that failed to adhere to its directives and was even prepared to face the legal consequences of stopping the projects.

Khalid said the Pakatan Rakyat government had placed a blanket ban on development in Class Three and Four slopes, and that this was among the first decisions taken by the new administration.

These two categories refer to slopes with steep inclines of more than 20 degrees.

Following consultation with various agencies and parties, Khalid had on Sunday order-ed all developments on steep hillsides in Selangor to be suspended with immediate effect.

State executive councillor in charge of local authorities Ronnie Liu said he wanted the previous state administration to explain how it approved a total of 114 Class 3 and 4 hillslope projects that were deemed a risk to occupants of properties there.

"Looks like they have not learnt from the 1993 Highland Towers tragedy. I can't imagine how they could approve projects which could endanger the lives of its residents."

[ Khalid and Khir trade blows over hillside projects
New Straits Times, Malaysia ]

And lets agree at least that politics will eventually separate man amongs boys as they say, as we crawl up the hillslopes of Bukit Antarabangsa searching for true meaning of Higeki........