Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Save Bukit Kiara: The Star July 16, 2012

The damages has been done and can't be reversed. It has to come to this point and time where the paper has to cover all these to raise more awareness. The "tidak apa" or Apathy must stop. 
On behalf of the Save Bukit Kiara Save No To Development admin, we thank you for the support. Especially to Madam Chui, which singlehandedly on her free time collected all the signatories for the past three months and worked alone to accomplish that; and she would not be able to do so without all of you!
For many of us fighting to Save Bukit Kiara, the battle is long from over. Now that the awareness has been raised, it is time to put more words into action - and that includes all quarters that has been voicing out to save Her, and the parties that is responsible, or given the mandate to "develop" and/or destroy her.
Here is the Excerpt from The Star Dated July 16, 2012.
Construction works in Bukit Kiara causing much damage to the hill

By VIJENTHI NAIR 
vijenthi@thestar.com.my
Photos By RAYMOND OOI


IT WAS not just another walk in the park.
More than 1,000 people turned up to join a peaceful awareness walk at Bukit Kiara, Kuala Lumpur yesterday wearing custom-made “Save Bukit Kiara” T-shirt in a silent protest against the current developments on the Kiara hill.
Bukit Kiara has been subjected to a certain degree of damage with the construction of a 3.5m high fence along a 4.7km stretch by the National Landscape Department (JLN).

It is part of an upgrading project to demarcate the area and increase security for visitors.
The construction has upset many Bukit Kiara visitors and environmentalists.
The construction, which is still going on, has resulted in around 3,000 matured trees felled and some trails damaged, among others.
The massive earthworks have also affected the pristine water body in the heart of the hill and all the points downstream.


During the walk, a sizeable number of participants also took onto the trails themselves, coming up from the pond at the Lembah Kiara Park on a trail called Park Connector to join the walk, while others were led onto Magic Carpet and 2K, so they got a feel of the two popular trails in Bukit Kiara.
Mountain bikers, some from as far as Singapore, also turned up to show their support to save the trails, which are known to be among the best mountain biking trails in Asia.


Signatures were also collected to submit a petition to Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Chor Chee Heung, demanding a stop to all construction works, requesting frequent dialogues with the stakeholders and the complete gazettement of the hill as a permanent forest reserve by the end of the year.


So far, more than 10,000 signatures have been collected.
The Star executive director and group chief editor Datuk Seri Wong Chun Wai and his wife Datin Seri Florence Wong, who also participated in the walk, said they supported the pledge to protect Bukit Kiara as a green lung.
“The hills are our treasure and heritage.


“There is a great need for the authorities to convince the Friends of Bukit Kiara that the hill will remain as it is. We will remain vigilant in highlighting the cause to protect Bukit Kiara just as The Star is passionate about saving the hills of Penang,” said Wong, who was joined by his colleagues from the StarMetro desk.


Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) like Friends of Bukit Kiara, Malaysian Nature Society (MNS), Trails Association of Kuala Lumpur and Selangor, Taman Tun Dr Ismail Residents Association and Global Environment Centre have been trying to save and preserve the park in the most natural way possible.
Spotted among the many mountain bikers was Singaporean Eric Tan who travelled more than 400km just to show his support.


“I have been cycling for about 10 years and frequent the trails in Singapore and Johor but not one is even close to what Bukit Kiara has to offer.
“My Singaporean friends who tried the trails had nothing but rave reviews for it. True enough, I really love it. The challenging trail is one of the best I have ever experienced. I only started cycling in Bukit Kiara early this year, but I have been coming here ever since.


“I am sure Bukit Kiara also attracts many mountain bikers from the region, like me. It is a shame if such beautiful trails, maintained well by the public voluntarily is lost because of development. For example, Bukit Timah in Singapore has lost its green appeal after condominiums were built in the vicinity. Instead of lush greenery, you are greeted by concrete buildings.
“Bukit Kiara is a beauty and I really hope the trails are preserved in its natural state for the younger generation,” he said.


Mountain bikers from Pedalholics Cycling Club were also spotted among the crowd.


One of its members, Peter Choong, said the trails were a favourite among the mountain bikers and during the group’s fortnightly rides, they have been witnessing damage to the trails.


“Volunteers and mountain bikers have painstakingly cleared and maintained these trails over the years and for it to be damaged in just months, is unacceptable. The trails leading to Desa Sri Hartamas side are badly damaged.


“We are here to show our support. Bukit Kiara attracts plenty of expatriates too, so by encouraging this kind of violation of the park, we don’t look good to the rest of the world,” said Choong.


Spotted during the walk was expatriate Michael Wilson from New Zealand, who carried his young son Matai on his shoulders, during the the walk.
Wilson, who operates a cafe and lives in Taman Tun Dr Ismail, said the hill was being destroyed in the name of development.


“My wife is Malaysian and I have got everything going on for me right here. My business is doing well and I live in a lovely neighbourhood, which is close to the beautiful park,” he said.


His friend Paul Wellington from United Kingdom, who has been in Malaysia for eight years, also brought along his son named Sol.


“I do not understand the need for the fences in the first place. The authorities justified the fencing by citing preservation and preventing encroachment, but surely there’s a better way of doing it without harming nature,” he said.


A frequent park-goer who only wanted to be known as Tan was exercising with her husband before the journey up the hill.


Tan said that looking at what was happening to the hill, she felt that the authorities did not place much importance on conserving nature and the public’s needs.


“My husband and I have been using the park for the last 10 years.
“The Government has been encouraging Malaysians to embrace a healthy lifestyle. Bukit Kiara is a great place for outdoor activities. The Government should in fact create more recreational parks to encourage people to be active,” she said.


“The park is used by many people every day. In the past we have heard of many empty promises of preserving green lungs and fields in other areas, only for it to be taken away for development later.
“If the park is going to be preserved as a green lung, there should be no delay in the gazettement,” she said.

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