Bukit Dinding is a popular hiking and getaway spot for residents of Setiawangsa and Wangsa Maju but a recent controversial development plan in the area has once again put Kuala Lumpur City Hall’s (DBKL) vetting process in question.
Since the news about a planned development along the foothill of Bukit Dinding has surfaced, it has met with strong rejection from the the local residents.
It was reported that the movement has gathered hundreds of residents to pressure DBKL against allowing the project, with many pointing out that development around the steep hill could worsen existing landslide problems.
According to the Facebook page Friends of Bukit Dinding, the developer attempted to appease residents by holding a town hall meeting on 15 September, but nearly all residents who attended the meeting were against the proposal.
Residents have also raised concerns about the landslide and road access. In addition, they also question the authorities as to how an area with questionable slope stability can be sold to a private developer and given green light for development.
“We’re worried about traffic but our biggest concern is landslides, safety of the residents. Of course developers will always say it’s safe, but we want to hear what DBKL has to say,” a resident was quoted as saying by Malay Mail.
Some residents also pointed out the several landslides they have faced in the past and the situation will be worsen when torrential rain has become more frequent.
Meanwhile, the matter was also brought up by MUDA Setiawangsa as they condemned the authorities for approving the development plan despite Bukit Dinding being gazetted as a permanent forest reserve.
“We see condominium housing projects increasing every day, but why at the expense of reserve forests in the Federal Territory? In addition, why the rush to build new condominium projects when there are many more housing units that have not yet been successfully sold?” MUDA Setiawangsa asked.
KENYATAAN MEDIA (9 SEPTEMBER 2022)— MUDA Setiawangsa (@mudasetiawangsa) September 9, 2022
HUTAN SIMPANAN BUKIT DINDING DIGADAIKAN. APA SEDANG BERLAKU? pic.twitter.com/POiKqv6Tfh
It is understood that the development plan has already been approved by DBKL.
Bukit Dinding is originally a plantation but its owners later diversified into real estate development following a common business practice among large plantation companies to convert plantation land into housing and towns.
According to the Kuala Lumpur City Plan, large parts of Bukit Dinding have been designated for conservation, but the foothills have been zoned for “housing” even as early as the 80s.