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PUTRAJAYA: One hundred and eight Bukit Gasing residents today lost their appeal at the Court of Appeal here to set aside the High Court's dismissal of their judicial review application to challenge the issuance of a development order by the Kuala Lumpur mayor for a hill slope project in that area.
A three-member panel chaired by Court of Appeal judge Datuk Ramly Ali delivered a 2-1 majority verdict, with Justices Ramly and Datuk Zaharah Ibrahim dismissing the residents' appeal and Justice Datuk Jeffrey Tan Kok Wha dissenting.
Justice Zaharah, who handed down the decision, had disagreed with the submission by the residents' lawyer R.Sivarasa that the amended Town and Country Planning Act 1976 which accorded a right to a public objection hearing to residents extended to the Federal Territory.
Instead, she said the law that applied to the Federal Territory was the Federal Territory (Planning) Act 1982.
This law only accords the right of public hearing when there are changes on the use of the land or an increase in population density of the area.
In a dissenting decision, Justice Tan said there was a procedural failure on the part of the Kuala Lumpur City Hall in not according a public hearing to the residents prior to issuing the development order as required under the Town and Country Planning Act.
The 108 residents filed the application at the Kuala Lumpur High Court for judicial review in 2008 to quash the development order by the Kuala Lumpur mayor pertaining to the Sanctuary Ridge Kuala Lumpur City project on a 15.52ha site in Bukit Gasing.
The mayor, in an order dated Oct 2, 2007 issued to Gasing Meridian Sdn Bhd (GMSB), allowed the developer to carry out earth works and sub-divisions in the area. GMSB is planning to build 70 bungalows on the site which it claimed was privately-owned land and had never been part of a green lung or a natural forest.
In their judicial review application, the residents claimed that the mayor had failed to take into account that they had the right under Common Law to be given due notice and a chance to voice their opinion in the decision-making process.
They took the matter up for appeal to the Court of Appeal after the High Court on Sept 6 2010, rejected their judicial review application.
One of the Bukit Gasing Joint Action Committee members, Mohamed Kamar Mohamed, said they were disappointed with the decision.
He said the residents would hold a meeting to decide whether or not to bring their case to the Federal Court. -- BERNAMA