Fulfilling our hopes of Taman Rimba Kiara, what say you?

THE promise in the manifesto was to “rebuild the nation” and to “fulfill the hope of the people”. The people believed it and against all odds put into power a new government.

Our hopes on Friday, November 23 have descended to despair.

In descending order, the story (strictly a “community concern”) is as follows.

November 26

News report shows “Putrajaya will not scrap the controversial development order on the Kuala Lumpur green lung of Taman Rimba Kiara but will instead propose that developers scale back the project. The minister who is responsible said he had proposed to the developers to consider taking up only half of their originally offered 4.9ha site, and proceed with a smaller-scale development…”

November 23

The federal territories minister promised that his ministry will set up a joint committee to review the the controversial housing development project in Taman Tun Dr Ismail (TTDI), which involves some parts of Taman Rimba Kiara (TRK) and the prime minister knew about this project.

This promise was made during a press conference after attending a townhall meeting with TTDI residents. He added, “I hope the developers are willing to withdraw the project because otherwise, this case will definitely be brought to court”.

August 10

News report showed that Yayasan Wilayah Persekutuan (YWP) chief executive officer said in a statement “We are still discussing with all related parties including the longhouse residents, local authorities and the developer regarding the idea and concerns raised, which include efforts to protect and preserve Taman Rimba Kiara. YWP will also await the decision of the full hearing of the judicial review at the high court scheduled on September 26 and 27 regarding the development. The hearing was postponed to end November.

Other parts of the story include eight protests in the last two and a half years to preserve the park created by the Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (FRIM) as a nursery and as a public park.

The justification for the development with a gross development value (GDV) of RM3 billion is to subsidize 98 longhouse settlers. It may be a dream come true for the settlers but nine blocks of apartments would definitely choke the area. TRK is a green space/public park in the Draft KL City Plan of 2008 (the plan that was just gazetted did not go through public viewing).

What happened to “fulfilling the hope of the people” when there was a promise made to set up a joint committee and the hope that the developers are willing to withdraw the project?

What happened to the discussions by YWP with all related parties to protect and preserve TRK since folks at TTDI are not aware of it?

There is a glimmer of hope when YWP said it will await the decision of the full hearing of the judicial review at the high court. The hearing was postponed due to a request by DBKL to allow time for the parties to the action to pursue discussions towards a mutual resolution of the matter, on a without-prejudice basis.

Mr minister, why did you unilaterally propose to the developer to scale back the project without consulting parties to the court action? And after the promise of a joint committee! Is it upon advice from your advisers? I will give the benefit of the doubt to the new DBKL mayor since he has been in office for just over a month.

The new prime minister made a commitment that Pakatan Harapan (PH) is willing to be judged by the people on how far it fulfil promises when PH is in government – if we fail or if we break our promises, by all means reject us in the next general election.

This is not a threat but a friendly reminder to fulfil promises that are within PH’s control or influence.

Hopefully there is some “harapan” on this matter and the new government.

What say you? – November 26, 2018.

* Saleh Mohammed reads The Malaysian Insight.

* This is the opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insight. Article may be edited for brevity and clarity.

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