Kohilan, three MIC reps gave nod to Batu Caves project


(The Sun Daily) –  It’s official – all 19 members who attended the full board meeting of the Selayang Municipal Council voted in favour of approving the Dolomite Avenue Park project in Batu Caves in 2007.

Despite earlier denials and assertions by some councillors that they were neither party nor privy to the approval process, minutes of the meeting held on Nov 29, 2007 – obtained by theSun – show otherwise.

Deputy foreign affairs minister Datuk A. Kohilan Pillai, who was a councillor between 1997 and 2008, had voted in favour of the project.

So did the three councillors from the MIC – Rajakupal Sinnathamby, Jayakumaran Govindasamy and Rajandran Muniandy.

Both Gerakan, of which Kohilan is a member, and the MIC, have recently accused the current Pakatan-led Selangor government of approving the project.

On Oct 26, former MIC president and works minister, Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu, spearheaded a demonstration at the Sri Subramaniar Temple at Batu Caves – which is beside the project site – calling for a stop to the project.

Kohilan, who had joined the scores of protesters, has since vehemently denied his involvement in the project’s approval, claiming that only a “planning permit” was issued during his tenure. Such a permit is also referred to as a “development order” which allows immediate development.

Kohilan has reportedly claimed that the application from Dolomite was basic and did not indicate details.

But documents show that the application was submitted with detailed layout and building plans.

The minutes also show that approval was given for dual-development – 18 units of three-story shop-lots and two tower blocks – one of 25-storeys and another of 29.

In a twist of irony showing that local councils can work efficiently if they want to, council president Datuk Zainal Abidin Azim issued the go-ahead on Nov 30 – just 24 hours after the full board endorsed the approval.

The minutes also showed that approval was “subject to conditions” and these included those recommended by the Geosciences and Minerals Department which has since briefed the state government on non-compliance.

It is learnt that the department indicated that the developer had failed to comply with some of the conditions set, especially the construction of the Geobrugg that should have been done before the work on the shop lots had begun.

Yesterday, theSun reported that the council had also defied objections from the Selangor Department of Environment (DOE) which had expressed its reservations on development which is in close proximity to the limestone hills.