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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Association wants govt decision on hill slope projects

SUBANG JAYA: The Government should make a decision quickly on hill slope developments that have been halted since December last year, as it is causing hardship to developers.

Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association national treasurer Muztaza Mohamad said it should state its hill slope requirements clearly, so that developers could carry on with their planning.

“The Government cannot have a wait-and-see attitude, it has to make a decision. To stop class three (25 to 35 degrees gradient) and four (above 35 degrees gradient) slope development, it will cause hardship to developers, as people have already invested millions.

“They (developers) have to move on,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the seminar on “New Approach in Land Development 2009”, officially launched by Natural Resources and Environment Ministry’s deputy director general of land and mines Datuk Azemi Kasim yesterday.

Muztaza, who is also Fairview Group of Companies group managing director, said the Government could utilise world-class Malaysian engineers to speed up introduction of new technical requirements.

The Government has stopped some of the hill slope developments in the Klang Valley for safety concerns after the Taman Bukit Mewah, Bukit Antarabangsa, landslide on Dec 6 that killed five people and destroyed about 14 bungalows.

During the seminar, an official of SDB Properties Sdn Bhd, whose bungalow development at Damansara Heights was temporarily halted, had expressed concern about the government’s inaction.

He said the company had spent about RM67mil on the 5.75-acre site but the future of the project was uncertain pending the issuance of new guidelines on hill slope development.

In the meantime, SDB Properties continued incurring costs on slope strengthening and stabilisation works, he added.

Meanwhile, the ministry’s mineral and geoscience division under- secretary Dr Azimuddin Bahari said Malaysia should learn and apply Hong Kong’s hill slope development management, as its soil composition was similar with our country.

“We can look at Hong Kong as a benchmark,” he said, adding that it provided online all the necessary information on hill slope development.

Azimuddin said Hong Kong had a building ordinance and it was mandatory for owners to comply, which Malaysia lacked.

However, he advised Malaysians to change their attitude and tackle landslide and soil-related issues seriously.

He said all parties – government authorities, developers and house owners – were responsible for safety of hill slope developments.

By The Star (Posted on April 28, 2009)

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