Dear Jabatan Lanskap Negara,
I am writing this letter to you in dismay and shock at not only your inability to carry out your duties as your namesake suggests, but also at the arrogance (or is it ignorance) which you have chosen to display in the recent months with regards to Bukit Kiara.
Despite the earlier stop work order on the fencing works that was issued by Datuk Seri Chor Chee Heung (The Star Online, 31 July 2012), the fence works have since resumed, under the orders of JLN. In the mentioned public session held in July of 2012, which was graced by the attendance of Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and his wife Tun Jeanne Abdullah, it was clearly presented to everyone that the fence was an eyesore and a waste of money, not to mention the distress it is causing for the wildlife and destructive effect on the overall ecological system of Bukit Kiara. The contractors that had been hired by JLN left also behind rubbish and debris everywhere they went, and at some point even resorted to burning trees to ease their work, and/or to hide their rubbish. All the fencing work had been stopped then at the order of Datuk Seri Chor, but JLN has since gone back on their word and started fence building works once again.
What Is The Point Of The Fence?
JLN knows that as soon as these fences go up, the wildlife are not able to pass through freely to and from their natural habitats. Not only that, if the purpose is to keep out the illegal rubber tappers and settlers, they have failed miserably! Because there are now a number of gaping holes in the fence and holes have been dug under the fences, so life goes on as usual for these illegal tappers and settlers, who are probably mocking JLN for the useless fence that was a waste of money to start with! If you are serious about solving an issue, nip the problem in the bud, not at the leaf! Whose money has gone into the construction of the fence, and how much of it has gone to waste now? Does JLN intend to put out more contracts to repair these holes, and at what (and whose) expense?
Further to that, even more recently JLN again engaged (yet) another contractor to perform ‘slope rectification’ works along the tarmac road in Bukit Kiara. However, again, JLN in their usual manner has left it to the contractors to carry out the work without any supervision or guidelines. Not only are the contractors destroying the slope that was supposed to be repaired, but they are now seen to be causing even more problems! First, they use a bulldozer to completely bulldoze the hillside of all the trees.
Then all the soil is left loose and especially now during the rainy season, all the mud has nowhere to go but downhill, which is the walking tarmac, and into the drains and down all the way to the bottom of the hill. This creates further erosion, and not to mention a muddy mess at the lower points of the road. Further to that, many users of Bukit Kiara have commented on how the contractors parked the heavy machineries on the sides of the newly cleared slope, without caring it will slide off the side of the slope and fall onto someone should the loose soil move with more rain. How is safety not a Standard Operating Procedure for JLN?
Even if it is not for the safety of your contractors or yourselves, what about the thousands of walkers/joggers/bikers who use the tarmac road in Bukit Kiara every day?
As if that was not enough, in the last week or so (1st week January 2014), there have been reports (and again, photo evidence taken by members of the public) of the contractors taking all the excess soil from the problem slope and conveniently dumping it all down the opposite side of the lower slope! What happens on the lower slope now? What happens to the clean, pristine water source(s) that are beneath? Are the contractors aware that there are other offroad trails on the lower slope and dumping of the soil could cause not only another landslide but possibly injure or even kill trail users below? Were these trails blocked off during the time of the soil dumping?
The trails below are now covered with mud and soil dumped from above. Do these contractors have any idea what they are doing? How does causing another bigger landslide fix a small landslide?? Is this what is called ‘slope rectification works’ according to JLN’s procedures?
If JLN is simply too lazy to go on site to see all of these problems themselves, then please have a look at these photos (all taken by concerned users of Bukit Kiara) that have been posted on to this website, for evidence of the extremely sloppy work that has been done so far.
- Does JLN supervise any of the work and procedures taken by the contractors? If so, then why is there mud and soil everywhere on the tarmac road now? And when a complain was lodged about it, the soil now conveniently gets dumped over the side of the hill.
- Does JLN even have ANY SOPs or Guidelines for any such works to be carried out? If so, how is dumping of soil to a lower slope considered SOP? The trails below that are covered in mud and soil, and risk more landslide coming down on it, is this also JLN SOP?
- Are ANY environmental concerns taken into consideration at all with any such projects?
- Does JLN know how to take care of Bukit Kiara? What use is JLN if only contractors are used all the time instead of JLN doing it themselves?
- Does JLN even care about what goes on in Bukit Kiara, or is it a burden that you have been ‘assigned’ with?
- Why does JLN see the need to spend so much money unnecessarily?
- Is JLN willing to listen to the rakyat and the users as to how Bukit Kiara should be handled, or is JLN embarking on their own ‘Solo Mission’ to destroy a precious natural resource into a concrete park, filled with only concrete walkways, retail and food stalls, car parks and God forbid, even administrative buildings?
Wake Up, JLN!
Do you know what a gem you have in Bukit Kiara? All you have proven so far is just destruction of Bukit Kiara. In all of your plans, you continuously compare Bukit Kiara to being built up as a ‘Central Park’ or ‘Hyde Park’, but why must it be modeled after any of these parks when it can be made into something even more unique and special?
Imagine Bukit Kiara being built up as a NATURAL forest reserve, with native trees, hand built walking/biking trails that are built naturally and sustainable while easily accessible by all, wooden benches (NOT concrete) to rest your tired legs, wooden signs to mark the trails, a pristine Class 1 (drinkable from the source!!) stream flowing through some of the trails, indigenous Malaysian wildlife (snakes, macaques, tortoises, porcupines, squirrels, civet cats, birds, etc) in abundance roaming freely without being restricted by a huge ugly metal fence, the ability to go for a jog or walk or bike ride and breathe in fresh, clean air without any pollution from any motorized vehicles (i.e. NO motorbikes,
NO Quad bikes and definitely NO cars allowed). With the convenient location of Bukit Kiara between KL and PJ, this not only makes it a unique Forest Park in the middle of the city, but also something that Bukit Kiara can develop into its OWN IDENTITY and be famous on its own credentials, and NOT modeled after some famous concrete park somewhere else in the world. You have in your hands this unique opportunity here, JLN!
As it is now, many visitors are attracted to Bukit Kiara because of the way it is - NATURAL. There have even been many interests and mentions of Bukit Kiara by visitors from all over the world (just to mention a few):
At the rate JLN is progressing, all of these will go down the drain, and there will be nothing left to boast about Bukit Kiara, except maybe “It looks exactly like that other park in UK/America/Europe!!”. How original does that make you feel?
The Rakyat are willing to help, only if you let them. There are many voluntary organizations that are concerned with the welfare of Bukit Kiara and are there to assist, but only if you allow them to.
- Malaysian Nature Society (MNS),
- Friends of Bukit Kiara (FoBK),
- Trails Association of Kuala Lumpur and Selangor (TRAKS),
- Taman Tun Dr Ismail Residents Association (TTDI-RA),
- Global Environment Centre (GEC),
are among a few of the many other organizations that are deeply concerned with the way Bukit Kiara is handled now and are happy to provide input and assistance if only JLN is willing. The members of these organizations are all long time users of Bukit Kiara (with some visiting Bukit Kiara almost every day!!), and know the ins and outs of Bukit Kiara very well. MNS for example, has identified and taken countless photographs of the various unique species of wildlife that can be found in Bukit Kiara. TRAKS also, has been actively building and maintaining sustainable trails, of which many of JLN’s so called ‘rectification’ works have destroyed in the past. If you would care to look at TRAKS’ credentials, they are also affiliated with the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA), which says a lot about their ability and commitment to building sustainable trails.
To put it bluntly, who would you think knows what they want better, the long time users of Bukit Kiara, or a department that has been ‘assigned’ as the caretaker? By not engaging the users in a proper manner, your silence and refusal to listen or work with anyone else has been seen as arrogance and JLN only portraying themselves as a department with no clear vision nor ability to take care of anything more than just small backyard gardens, as is evident now with the way ALL the works have been done so far at Bukit Kiara! All concerned users of Bukit Kiara are now very disappointed and angry at the way JLN has been handling themselves and these projects at Bukit Kiara.
I pray hard that one day Bukit Kiara will have some hope to be gazetted and become known as one of the best Forest Parks in the world for the right reasons, a special place that was built and maintained together by JLN and the Rakyat.
It is time to look outside the box. I sincerely hope JLN will take this opportunity to work with the rakyat instead of against. It will be a win-win situation for all at the end of the day. As Tun Abdullah and Tun Jeanne put it so aptly at the closing of the public consultation meeting back in July 2012, “Let us work together with the ‘Power of Love’ and not the ‘Love of Power“.