TRAKS Of Malaysia - Annual General Meeting Minutes

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Minutes of TRAKS Annual General Meeting

Held on Sunday 20th July 2014 at Pusat Komuniti TTDI, Kuala Lumpur, the Chairman has highlighted the various achievements of the association, besides the regular Traks Trail Maintenace Days organized in Bukit Kiara and KDCF:

The new committee members are:

  • Julian Gomez - President
  • Rizal Hon - Vice President
  • Yong Foo Chuen - Secretary
  • Riza Shaharudin - Treasurer
  • Rebecca Thomason - Assistant Secretary
  • Johari Azizee (Committee Member) and Scott Roberts - nah, not Scott he’s too busy - but Stanley Ng (Committee Member)

A huge thanks for the awesome support that all of you, anonymously or collectively have been providing to TRAKS and, more importantly to maintain the trails and achieve what Bukit Kiara is today: the finest MTB trail network in Malaysia!

Download TRAKS AGM Minutes (2014).

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Taxpayers’ Monies Down The Drain In Kiara Park? – Lim Chui Choo and P.W. Chin

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Newly laid drainage pipes in Bukit Kiara park exposed after a storm - pic by Lim Chui Choo, April 22, 2014

The Malaysian Insider, 22 April 2014

'The least movement is of importance to all nature. The entire ocean is affected by a pebble.' – Blaise Pascal

The costly high density polyethylene (HDPE) pipes wrapped in geotextiles recently laid in Kiara Park were put to the test and ‘exposed’ after the heavy downpour and storm that lashed the city on 21 April 2014.

The results were not just visible, but broadcasted all over the park the morning after as park-users lamented, “Did you see the slope and the drains?“

The existing open drains lined with precast concrete sections have been serving well for years by collecting storm-water flow from the hill slopes of Bukit Kiara and rapidly conveying it into the streams and lake.

All that the National Landscape Department (JLN) needed to do was to regularly clear the drains of accumulated sediment, twigs and leaves.

So why waste taxpayers’ monies on the costly HDPE pipe conduit in its ‘upgrades’ in Kiara Park?

Concerns from park-users about these HDPE pipes causing erosion had been raised in September 2013 when JLN started laying the costly HDPE pipes up on the jogging track from the entrance of park to the Indy Jones suspension bridge.

A retired engineer with 18 years of experience with the Department of Irrigation and Drainage (JPS) had pointed out then the likely negative effects of using the HDPE pipeline which may cause erosion given the terrain in the park. He had suggested that it is better to leave the existing drains open as they were.

Another park-user, Datuk Kamal, geologist and consultant, had echoed the same concerns, all of which were highlighted to Friends of Bukit Kiara (FoBK), the NGO fighting for the preservation of 189 ha of the people’s forest park in Bukit Kiara, and the relevant authorities.

Thankfully, the HDPE pipe conduit which was planned for the whole jogging track in Lembah Kiara Park (LKP) then was nibbed in the bud or we may well be seeing a disastrous ‘clogging track’ all the way up the slopes with fallen trees and a possible landslide by now.

What had happened on a much reduced scale at the lower end of the slope was storm-water had swarmped the buried conduits and flowed swiftly above the stonefill.

At steep stretches, the swift (probably supercritical) flow washed away the stones and cut deep gullies in the ground, exposing the HDPE pipes, even uplifting them.

Is this Mother Nature‘s way of telling man, in particular JLN and the relevant authorities, to leave the people’s park as it is?

And to preserve the forest park as a natural, unique lasting legacy for the people as it was meant to be when cabinet designated 189 ha of Bukit Kiara to be Taman Awam Bersekala Besar (TABB) in 2007 by honouring that promise with the gazetting of Bukit Kiara as urged by FoBK and its coalition partners of 47 resident associations and NGOs? – April 22, 2014.

* Lim Chui Choo and P.W Chin read The Malaysian Insider.

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insider.

[More pics below by TRAKS]image

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Bukit Kiara: Forest no place for barbed wires - The Star Online

Razor sharp: The barbed wire installed by the National Lands cape Department in Bukit Kiara can cause injury to park users

by shalini ravindran - The Star Online

Visitors to Bukit Kiara were appalled to see barbed wire at the park, believed to have been installed by National Landscape Department (JLN) workers recently.

The barbed wire was spotted in at least two locations with one very close to a popular bike trail.

Friends of Bukit Kiara (FoBK) pro-tem chairman Tan Sri Salleh Mohd Nor said it was ridiculous to use barbed wire in a public park.

“Apart from the danger that the wires pose to the public, they also prevent the migration of wild animals in the park.”

Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) vice-president Henry Goh said the use of barbed wire in a public park was dangerous.

“The use of concertina razor barbed wire barriers in public parks are banned in some countries. They can cause injury to park users.

“Imagine a cyclist crashing into one of them. Other types of accidents could also occur,” he said.

Goh added that the barbed wire barrier should be removed immediately before any untoward incident occurs.

Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng also questioned the need for barbed wire.

“There is absolutely no need for barbed wire in a forested park because users might be injured by it especially when they are running or cycling in the early hours or late evening or when it rains,” he said, when contacted.

Meanwhile, in a tweet on April 11, via JLN’s official Twitter account @NegaraTaman, the department said: “Barbed wire diletakkan sementara sebelum isu sempadan diselesaikan.” (Barbed wire was placed temporarily while the boundary issue is being resolved).

Attempts to clarify the matter with JLN proved unsuccessful.

Salleh said that the boundary between the government and a private corporation should have been resolved first, before using a safer material to demarcate the border.

Bukit Kiara stakeholders have also long been campaigning for the 188.9ha piece of land to be gazetted as a green lung.

Park users and environmentalists have also been pushing the 3.5m-high fence project along a 4.7km stretch to demarcate the area to be removed.

Is Bukit Kiara Park Makeover Worth The Millions Spent? – Lim Chui Choo

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The toilets undergoing costly renovation at Lembah Kiara Park. – The Malaysian Insider pic, April 16, 2014

“The nation behaves well if it treats its natural resources as assets which it must turn over to the next generation increased, and not impaired in value.” – Theodore Roosevelt

After almost four years, a “dead” man-made waterfall that used to be the source of life in Lembah Kiara Park will spring to life again before completion of upgrades by the National Landscape Department (JLN) in mid-May.

And all because JLN said that it did not have the budget to buy a new pump to replace the one broken down since 2010.

Above the waterfall, a half-painted red steel bridge lies in suspension propped up by a make-shift steel scaffolding. This steel bridge is being constructed to replace the wooden suspension bridge fondly dubbed by park users as “Indy Jones’s bridge” which had made LKP famous.

Why are “rigid” materials like steel plates used for the base and solid steel railings for the sides if the bridge is a suspension bridge?

More importantly, will the new bridge be safe for park users given the heavy load of the steel plates used for the base and with solid steel railings added on for the sides which have yet to be installed?

Why were the original cables supporting the twin pillars at both ends of the bridge not changed or strengthened in line with the upgrade of the new bridge?

Apparently, two additional smaller cables have been extended midway from the bridge to a makeshift constructed concrete base on the slope after concerns were raised but will these be sufficient to steady the bridge once the steel scaffolding below the steely bridge are removed?

Why were suggestions from park users to use natural material like chengal wood, which would blend in with the natural environment and had withstood the park and its users in good stead for the past 20 years not considered by JLN in its “makeover” of the suspension bridge?

Whatever design JLN may have on its “upgraded” steel bridge, park users will rather wait in suspense for 25 heads of departments from the relevant authorities to make their maiden walk across the bridge first, based on the maximum weight allowed on good old Indy.

A park user, Mr Shah, had complained last week he slipped and nearly fell on the supposedly anti-slip steely bridge after the rain.

Park users are also asking why the “super bungalow” toilet has been converted into a “resort office” for JLN enforcement officers.

Their cries reached a crescendo during the recent water crisis when the old run-down toilets at the entrance of the park was closed temporarily resulting in some park users having to answer the call of nature in the bushes!

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The pond filled with still water in the Lembah Kiara Park. – The Malaysian Insider pic, April 16, 2014.

The existing toilets at the entrance of the park are insufficient (only two each for women and men) and are smelly which makes one wonder why JLN is spending millions in “upgrades” when a basic amenity is lacking and not maintained in the park.

A new toilet at the entrance had been built next to the existing old one only to be abandoned as JLN later discovered it will pollute a nearby stream.

Why not convert this new abandoned toilet into an office rather than waste more taxpayers’ monies to convert the costly “super bungalow toilet” in the park? Shouldn’t any conversion of the super bungalow toilet rightfully be designed for the rakyat’s benefit?

Park users are also questioning why they need to be monitored by the authorities when all they do is walk, jog, breathe and do tai chi?

What is the rationale for enforcement officers to be housed in a “resort office”? Any effective enforcement is mostly at the first point of entry, that is, at the entrance of park.

There is an existing spacious security house at the entrance of the park which is under-utilised. Why not use the existing security house to accommodate whatever enforcement officers?

Park users are also questioning the one too many gazebos (eight) and “rehat platforms” that seem unutilised, especially on weekdays.

In fact, the “rehat platforms” have already posed maintenance issues with fallen leaves and branches from the trees encircling them, while the polymer composite planks appear chipped or broken in some places.

Was there also a necessity to replace all the old power cables and working antique pole lights?

While new cables and lighting up on the jogging track were necessary and a welcome sight to park users, the existing cables and lights down were working except for probably only a handful of lights.

Was it cost effective to replace all the antique poles and to install 230 lights with electricity rates up by 15%?

After the initial haste to complete the unnecessary structures, there was a temporary halt to the JLN upgrades while mosquitoes multiply and make hay in the park.

An English expatriate who has made Malaysia his second home in Taman Tun Dr Ismail had this to say: “I went round the park last weekend – sad to see all the mud holes full of water- good mosquito breeding there, too. Got bitten to bits – a bit ironic when there is a banner outside about the war on Aedes… Really sad to see how the park has ‘improved’.”

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The ‘upgraded’ steel bridge. – The Malaysian Insider pic, April 16, 2014.

Another French expatriate was more scathing about the “upgrades” in the park when he took his children there in December 2013.

He was “horrified by what LKP had turned into and I’ll never ever want to come back here again…”

Other park users like Siti Hansen, Mohamad and Pete Chin asked what happened to their suggestions for more “softscape” in the park.

If only JLN had spent a little of the taxpayers’ money in what had made Putrajaya proud and famous, park users might be singing a different tune. – April 16, 2014.

* Lim Chui Choo is a child of nature and reads The Malaysian Insider.

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insider.

Join Friends of Bukit Kiara inaugural General Meeting this Sat. 19th April, 11:00 in TTDI !
Bukit Kiara, as one of the last green lung in KL, is under threat of destruction of its flora and fauna by irresponsible organizations bent on turning the pristine forest into another concrete jungle.  Help us to preserve and conserve Bukit Kiara by joining as a member of Friends of Bukit Kiara at the Inaugural General Meeting on Saturday, 19 April 2014 at 11:00 am at the SKTTDI (2), Jalan Abang Haji Openg, TTDI.  Show your support together with your family and friends. With strength in numbers, we can make a difference.
Henry Goh - Malaysian Nature Society

Join Friends of Bukit Kiara inaugural General Meeting this Sat. 19th April, 11:00 in TTDI !

Bukit Kiara, as one of the last green lung in KL, is under threat of destruction of its flora and fauna by irresponsible organizations bent on turning the pristine forest into another concrete jungle.

Help us to preserve and conserve Bukit Kiara by joining as a member of Friends of Bukit Kiara at the Inaugural General Meeting on Saturday, 19 April 2014 at 11:00 am at the SKTTDI (2), Jalan Abang Haji Openg, TTDI.

Show your support together with your family and friends. With strength in numbers, we can make a difference.

Henry Goh - Malaysian Nature Society

Keep Bukit Kiara clean, green and refreshing

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By Dr. Pola Singh - The Star Online, 31 March 2014

I live near the Bukit Kiara Park. If God had granted me one wish in my lifetime, that wish would be to live next to a spacious green lung and clean natural forest.

And yes, my dream has sort of come true. Like hundreds of other residents in my neighbourhood, I walk up the hill every other day and enjoy the cool fresh air and relish a good workout.

The Bukit Kiara Park not only provides a great place to exercise but also for children to play, families to gather, neighbours to meet and stressed-out city folks and nature lovers to enjoy a peaceful retreat.

Aside from enjoying a good workout at this green lung, its tranquil and pleasant setting is home to many wild plants, birds, monkeys and other animals.

Thanks to the good work of the Trails Association of Kuala Lumpur and Selangor, which builds and maintains mountain bike trails all around Bukit Kiara, the public can now go on a number of interesting jungle trails while enjoying the beauty of nature.

All of this would mean nothing if efforts to keep Bukit Kiara clean and green are not given serious attention.

If left unchecked, Bukit Kiara will slowly become a rubbish dump.

Along the paved roads, dustbins are often toppled by the monkeys and rubbish gets strewn all over.

Hardly a soul would put things right and when I do, I only get cold stares.

The cleanliness of the area around the guardhouses should be the responsibility of the guards.

Many a time, when the monkeys topple the big trash bins, the security guards simply ignore the scattered rubbish and pretend that they don’t notice the toppled bin. The guards should be conscious of keeping their environment clean by playing their part or be directed to do so by the authorities.

While the authorities do collect this trash once in a while, this is not so along the jungle trails.

As more and more walkers, hikers and cyclists sweat it out on this increasingly popular hill, especially during the weekends, the jungle trails are now besieged with an increasing amount of trash.

It appears that some of them do not seem to care about keeping the hill clean. They take the easy way out by dumping their rubbish along the trails.

Empty plastic bottles and bags, umbrellas and jogging paraphernalia are discarded and scattered all over.

Every time I hike up the Bukit Kiara jungle trails, my heart sinks when I see plastic bottles strewn along the trails. They have become an eyesore.

Bukit Kiara will lose its charm if such attitudes are not changed.

I would like to appeal to all hikers, walkers and cyclists using the jungle trails to be more responsible by refraining from throwing any trash on the trail but instead take their trash out especially the empty mineral water bottles.

To get rid of the existing trash, they could do all of us a great favour by picking up one piece of trash each time they go on their hike or cycling trip.

The message to be internalised by all: Please leave your footprints, not your trash.

Dr. Pola Singh, Kuala Lumpur

Bukit Kiara Lovers Strive On - Free Malaysia Today

| March 9, 2014

Activists and authorities are still at loggerheads over the future of the green sanctuary.

Kuala Lumpur: Adjacent to the affluent neighbourhood of Taman Tun Dr Ismail lies a green sanctuary that nature lovers have been struggling to keep intact against the authorities’ intention to turn it into a “world class” park.

Bukit Kiara, a secondary forest that covers 188.93 hectares of land, boasts a leafy woodland experience with tall trees shading jungle trails and small animals roaming free.

It is a favourite place for joggers, mountain bikers and others seeking relief from the noise and polluted air of the surrounding areas, but they are worried that ongoing efforts by the National Landscape Department (NLD) to turn it into a park might kill its pristine beauty forever.

Once a rubber estate, Bukit Kiara was acquired by the federal government in the 1980s to build public parks and a national mausoleum.

Since then, however, tracts have been given away for golf courses and an equestrian club.

On paper, the hill is divided into seven parcels, with Berjaya Corporation owning 25.1 hectares of it, Measat owning another parcel and the rest belonging to the NLD.

Berjaya wanted to develop its land into real estate, but the bid was blocked by Kuala Lumpur City Hall. At the same time, however, NLD has embarked on a series of efforts to “upgrade” the hill with built structures.

A perimeter fence 3.5m high and 4.7km long is being erected and is 80% complete. NLD has claimed that the purpose is to demarcate Bukit Kiara from neighbouring private lands.

Other developments include the construction of a retention wall to prevent landslips.

The Friends of Bukit Kiara (FOBK), a loose coalition of NGOs, has accused the authorities of allowing the hill to be destroyed by the new structures.

Maintain Bukit Kiara

FOBK says the fence, which it calls The Great Wall of Bukit Kiara, was built at the expense of cutting down some 3,000 mature trees.

Activists also say the fence is disastrous to small animals, lethally preventing them from crossing the divide.

“We have seen dead turtles and snakes that had tried to to get pass the fence,” said Henry Goh of Malaysia Nature Society, which is a member of FOBK.

“The fence is going to kill off all the ground dwelling animals,” he said.

“We want Bukit Kiara to be maintained as it is.”

To press its demands, FOBK has, since 2011, organised three marches under its Save Bukit Kiara Walk programme and collected 10,000 signatures for a petition.

It has also taken the case to the Ministry of Housing and Local Governments, which oversees the NLD.

It is demanding, among other things, that authorities gazette the hill as a forest reserve, remove the fence and stop all construction projects.

There have been a series of talks between FOBK and the ministry, the latest occurring last January. These have not borne any fruit.

According to Goh, the two sides were still at loggerheads over the fence and arguing over whether to gazette the hill as a park or a forest reserve.

Reject All Development Plans For Bukit Kiara - The Star Online

Since Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor’s appointment as the Federal Territories Minister, he has given assurance to KLites that one of his priorities will be to maintain more green spaces in the Federal Territories.

Friends of Bukit Kiara (FoBK) wholeheartedly welcomes this pledge.

At the same time, existing green lungs should be preserved and protected.

Take for instance, Bukit Kiara in Taman Tun Dr Ismail (TTDI), one of the few remaining green lungs in the city. It is a haven for joggers, cyclists and nature lovers, and home to many wild plants, birds and monkeys.

Sadly, this green lung has been slowly “eaten up” from all sides over the past few years. Bukit Kiara’s strategic location is indisputable. It would be a shame if such beauty is exploited in the name of development.

The residents, together with Friends of Bukit Kiara, Malaysian Nature Society, Trails Association of Kuala Lumpur and Selangor and other organisations, have long been fighting to preserve the area as a green lung.

We hope the minister can assist us in this effort by immediately speeding up the gazetting of the 188.93ha at Bukit Kiara as a permanent forest reserve.

In 2007, the Cabinet decided to keep 188.93ha of the park green and FoBK feels that this decision should be respected by all.

What is of utmost concern to FoBK is the status of the 25ha of Lot 52314 meant for use as “polo and equestrian grounds” only.

FoBK is happy if the current status remains as it is not changing to commercial development.

FoBK hopes that the Federal Territories Minister will direct Kuala Lumpur City Hall (the approving authority for all projects in Bukit Kiara) not to consider approving any development plans submitted by private entrepreneurs.

The ministry and DBKL should maintain Bukit Kiara’s status as a green belt (as per the Cabinet’s decision in 2007) and should not allow anyone to claim any stake in it for development.

We hope that the minister can come up with an official statement rejecting any form of development in the Bukit Kiara area as it is one of the few green lungs left in the city.

Liew Khooi Cheng and Dr Pola Singh - Friends of Bukit Kiara