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Landmark decision concerning OSA
Published on: Wednesday, July 13, 2011
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Kota Kinabalu: The High Court here granted leave to two activists to obtain all minutes of the meetings of City Hall and the Central Town and Country Planning Board in respect of the development surrounding the Atkinson Clock Tower.Judge Datuk David Wong, Tuesday, granted the prayer sought by environmental activists Lim Swee Geck and Chang Chiew Kok @ Jefferi after hearing arguments from all parties.

The applicants had applied for an Order of Mandamus to direct City Hall and the Central Town and Country Planning Board (CTCPB) to provide all minutes of their meetings in respect of the development in the said area.

The Order was among the prayers sought by the applicants in their leave for a judicial review against government agencies, to restrain them from proceeding with the proposed 16-storey hotel-cum-shopping complex in the vicinity of the century-old clock tower.

Earlier, counsel Marcel Jude Joseph, who represented the activists, told the court that City Hall had, on July 7 and 8 this year, written to Chang, to reject his application for its minutes pertaining to the project.

He produced the letters to the court and said that City Hall in their letters cited that the minutes were classified as Sulit (Confidential) under the Official Secrets Act 1972.

Marcel said the minutes were crucial to discover whether City Hall had complied with all the requirements of town and country planning laws and local government laws.

Lim and Chang have named City Hall, the CTCPB and Sabah Housing and Town Development Authority (SHTDA) as the first, second and third respondents, respectively.

Lim of Likas and Chang from Kepayan claimed in their affidavit in support, that the development undertaken by the SHTDA and the approval of the Development Plan which was to allow commercial and hotel development on the areas in the vicinity of the clock tower are not consistent or in accordance with the development laws governing Kota Kinabalu because of City Hall's and CTCPB's failure to ensure all legal requirements pertaining to development law.

They claimed that the construction of such building would contravene Section 19 of the Antiquities and Treasure Trove Enactment 1977 Sabah No. 11 of 1972 and Section 9 of the Cultural Heritage (Conservation) Enactment 1997.

They also claimed that City Hall failed to carry out their statutory responsibility diligently when they failed to ensure the local Plans for the area under its jurisdiction are up to date and that they had been considered and approved by the second respondent and approved by the Head of State in a timely manner.

State Attorney-General Datuk Roderic Fernandez appeared for City Hall and CTCPB and Senior Federal Counsel Steve Ritikos for the Federal Attorney-General.


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