Batu Caves condo protest

The Dolomite Park Avenue sales gallery next to Batu Caves.

KUALA LUMPUR - A massive rally is expected to be held in Batu Caves on Friday to pressure the authorities to stop the construction of a 29-storey condominium in the limestone hill area.

The protest, to be led by Sri Mahamariamman Batu Caves Temple committee president Datuk R. Nadarajah, is expected to attract about 100,000 people.

"This is a matter that concerns the public deeply and I am taking this issue seriously."

He encouraged the public to take part and voice their frustrations against the new development.

The peaceful protest is scheduled to begin at 10am.

Nadarajah agreed with MIC president Datuk Seri G. Palanivel who had on Sunday said the Selangor government and the relevant authorities should immediately halt the building of the condominium.

Palanivel had also urged the Minerals and Geoscience Department to conduct a study of the entire Batu Caves area.

The issue was brought to light after registration for the high-rise was recently opened on property websites.

The serviced 474 unit-condominium is advertised to be located "a stone's throw" from Batu Caves.

Nadarajah had also sent several letters of protest mainly to the Selangor menteri besar and state exco members Ronnie Liu and Dr Xavier Jayakumar.

"If they do not respond by next Monday, I will be forced to seek further action," he said, not discounting a legal action.

Liu and Selayang Municipal Council president Datuk Zainal Abidin Aala will be visiting the site at noon today.

Meanwhile, Universiti Malaya Geology department head Associate Professor Datuk Mohamad Ali Hassan said a study must be conducted to determine the lithology of rocks in the vicinity before any development could take place.

"Depending on the metamorphism of the rock, it can be determined if the limestones at Batu Caves are fragile and overburdened.

Ali also said Batu Caves was a historical and religious site which needed to be preserved rather than rushed into urban modernisation.

Batu Caves Zone 15 residents' committee council member N. Gopalan Krishnan Rajoo also said many residents objected to the new development.

He said it was a high-density area, especially since the temple was situated nearby.

"Parking is difficult and traffic can get congested. It is dangerous to continue with the project and there are plenty of residential areas with a school nearby.

"We do not want to risk doing further damage to the hills which can be hazardous to the public."

The developer, Dolomite Corporation Berhad, could not be reached for comment.

Dolomite Industries Co Sdn Bhd had owned a limestone quarry at Batu Caves, which had a lease until 1991, but was shut down in the mid-1980s following pressure from various parties.

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