Saturday 27 October 2012

Documents show controversial tower in Batu Cave approved by BN (updated @9:20pm)

  • Koh Jun Lin
  • 4:58PM Oct 27, 2012
It was BN and not Pakatan Rakyat that approved the controversial condominium project near the Batu Cave temple, and this time the Selangor government has the documents to prove it.

During a visit to the site slated for the condominium’s construction, Selangor exco member for local government Ronnie Liu brought with him building plans which was approved by the BN-era Selanyang Municipal Council on Nov 29, 2007.

protest at batu cave temple 261012 condo drawing“It says very clearly that the development is a 29-storey serviced apartment, a 25-storey serviced apartment, and in front are shophouses that have already been built...

“Nobody, including the temple committee chairperson, should put the blame on Pakatan Rakyat because this was clearly done by BN. It’s all there - chopped, signed, everything,” he said.

The plans included architectural drawings of the tower block that the nearby Sri Subramaniar Temple feared would obstruct views of the iconic limestone hill where it is situated.

Yesterday former Selanyang Municipal councillor and present deputy foreign minister A Kohilan Pillay (right) blamed the Pakatan government for the project, claiming that what had been approved in 2007 was only a "planning permit" that did not specify the number of storeys.

“Nothing was done by the Pakatan Rakyat government to support the project,” said Liu.

Kohilan is 'bullshitting’

As for Kohilan’s claim that only the planning permit was approved during his tenure and not the building permit, Liu dismissed it as nonsense.

“There is no such thing as ‘kelulusan pelaksanaan’ (execution permit). He is bullshitting, naive or acting stupid. The ‘kelulusan perancangan’ (planning permit) is an overall (permit) already,” he said.

Batu caves condo near temple ronnie liuWhen asked about the marketing permit mentioned by Kohilan to have been approved in July this year, Liu (right) said this falls under the jurisdiction of the federal government’s Housing Ministry.

He said the Pakatan-led government had also approved alterations to the surrounding roads and drainages, but this has no bearing on the controversial condominium itself.

Liu revealed that Pakatan leaders including DAP advisor Lim Kit Siang had met the temple committee and visited the condominium’s construction site on Monday.

Following this, the Selangor government had issued a stop-work order the following day and the MPS president has been told to refer the matter to the State Planning Committee (SPC) for review.

Batu caves condo near temple ronnie liu with map 2“Why? Because we are also interested in protecting our national heritage,” he said.

Liu also claimed that the temple committee chairperson R Nadarajah had promised to call off his protest at the time, but nevertheless went ahead with his plans yesterday.
He added that the review would take about a month.
When asked if it would meet Nadarajah’s one-month deadline before he takes legal action, Liu said he was not concerned with the ultimatum because the stop-work order is indefinite and will remain until the matter is resolved.

No EIA done

Liu declined to speculate on the sum needed to compensate the developer, Dolomite Industries Sdn Bhd, if the state government decides to scrap the project.

Batu caves condo near temple site of projectHowever, he said that the state would not have to pay if the project breached any building guidelines, including whether it is sufficiently far enough from the nearby limestone cliffs and overhang.

Liu confirmed the claim by Malaysian Nature Society that no environmental impact assessment was done for the project. He, however, said it was not compulsory for projects of this scale.

“If it is not of a certain size, it becomes discretionary. In this case, I think it is necessary, because it is so close to the limestone hills (above) and so close to a national heritage site,” he said.

According to Lim, the state government did not take action earlier because there had been no complaints over the tower block until recently.

Batu caves condo near temple m manoharan from dapMeanwhile, Kota Alam Shah assemblyperson M Manoharan (right) said Nadarajah should step down for being ignorant of the project although the condominium's sales office is only a short distance down the road from the temple.

He also claimed that there is a Supreme Court order made in 1930 that the temple could not sue or be sued without the attorney-general's consent, and he wants it abolished.

"It is high time for this order to be set aside," he said, adding that the order is outdated.

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