City Hall ‘won’t take over Taman Rimba Kiara project’

Raevathi Supramaniam

Federal Territories Minister Khalid Samad says Kuala Lumpur City Hall simply cannot afford to pay out billions of ringgit in compensation if it is to cancel deeply unpopular projects. – The Malaysian Insight pic by Nazir Sufari, December 7, 2018.

KUALA Lumpur City Hall will not take over the controversial Taman Rimba Kiara (TRK) project as it is too costly, said Federal Territories Minister Khalid Samad.

The financial consequences of cancelling the project are not limited to the RM155 million already spent by the developer, he said, adding that DBKL will also have to pay a lot in compensation.

“Cancelling the project will include interest, other costs and a loss of profit for the developer. A loss in profit for a RM3 billion development project is quite substantial,” Khalid told The Malaysian Insight.

“The developers don’t care. They will get their money back and some returns on their investment. So, it will not hurt the developer but it will hurt City Hall.

“For example, we sell the land for RM100 million and buy it back for RM150 million, we will be incurring a loss.”

Residents of Taman Tun Dr Ismail in Kuala Lumpur are protesting against the proposed TRK development as they fear the loss of the “last green lung” in the area.

The proposed development – a joint venture between Memang Perkasa and Yayasan Wilayah Persekutuan (YWP) – comprises eight blocks of luxury serviced apartments, between 42 and 54 levels, with 1,800 units.

It also includes a 29-storey block featuring 350 affordable apartments with 200 units reserved for the relocation of longhouse families nearby.

City Hall had in 2016approved the housing development on a 4.86ha land in TRK, which is designated as a public open space under the Kuala Lumpur City Plan 2020.

The TTDI residents’ association took the matter to court but their judicial review application was rejected last week. The court ruled that the development order on the project was legal.

Khalid said scrapping the project will also mean the longhouse residents of Taman Rimba Kiara will not have the homes promised to them since the days of the Barisan National government.

“Let’s say the developer moves out and we pay the compensation, we’re still stuck with the longhouse residents. We will have to build at least 200 houses or apartments for them. And not low-cost housing,” he said.

“This will incur a minimum of RM30-40 million, that’s my personal estimate. This money will have to come from City Hall, too.”

Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh with hikers at a picnic in the park at Taman Rimba Bukit Kiara in August. Taman Tun Dr Ismail residents are fighting to save one of the last green lungs in the city. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, December 7, 2018.

Under the previous administration, the longhouse residents were promised affordable homes at RM300,000 per unit. The residents were told they would get homes at 50% the market rate.

“Each family will have to be compensated RM450,000 if the houses promised to them are not built. I cannot just be giving away City Hall’s money like that,” Khalid said.

If DBKL is to cancel all development projects to which the people objected, it would be paying out billions of ringgit in compensation. And that, Khalid said, will not be fair to the other residents of Kuala Lumpur.

Khalid added that he has his hands full trying to juggle the interest of various parties, mainly the residents of TTDI, developers, longhouse residents and City Hall.

“The residents of TTDI want their green area and I’m trying to get it back as much as possible. 

“I also have to consider the interest of the developer who has put in money. They want their profits. I’m trying to negotiate with them so that we don’t get sued.

“I also have to consider the longhouse residents. They need to get their homes after waiting for 36 years. Three generations have been staying there now, in wooden houses, we have to be fair to them.”

Khalid said his priority is to protect City Hall and make sure it does not lose money.

“I don’t think, just for the sake of being popular, I can give everyone what they want. It won’t be very responsible on my part to do that.” – December 7, 2018.

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  • Has there been an investigation into whether money changed hands prior to DBKL granting approval for this project? Seems like an obvious place to start.

    Posted 5 years ago by Arul Inthirarajah · Reply

  • Shouldnt YWP be investigated ? Since theres so many cases of inappropriate land sale under them ?

    Posted 5 years ago by SG Lim · Reply

  • The minister has a point. Put ourselves in his shoes....what would we do?

    Posted 5 years ago by Azaman abu bakar · Reply

  • The minister has a point. Put ourselves in his shoes....what would we do?

    Posted 5 years ago by Azaman abu bakar · Reply

  • Use MACC and investigate. Any corruption can be used to rescind the contract and get back the land. Please do this to all developers and knock them out of business. This will also prevent new construction until the overhang in the property market takes a number of years to resolve. Be smart, think commercially. Hit the project with high development charges. Please have some will to save green space otherwise there will be an eventual migration away from KL and its decline into a third world ghetto will eventually happen with ageing suburbs and a prevalent lower social class.

    Posted 5 years ago by K Pop · Reply

  • The whole episode is a 'corruption game' in which most Malaysian politicians are champions. The land use promise under which TTDI was originally developed is no longer binding because some politicians made an 'ass of the law'. and now the cards are falling without a fight. Let us have a show of the 'RULE OF LAW' and take the people who responsible for selling the land by changing its use 'status'. to task. We will be at least satisfied that the PH government tried its best, Just like the ICERD promise and attempt, everything crumbled and now on Saturday, we are shamelessly having a victory celebration to tell the world that we have racial discrimination in Malaysia. Come on City Hall, please do not give up so easliy

    Posted 5 years ago by Shaikh karim · Reply

  • Khalid priority is wrong. His priority needs to be people in KL not City Hall.

    Posted 5 years ago by Heisen berg · Reply

  • You also said if it could be proven due process of the law was not followed, the developer loses their rights. Dig more. For sure there was corruption involved.

    Posted 5 years ago by Malaysia New hope · Reply

  • Just round up a large crowd of a few thousands and organise a protest rally demanding that the project be cancelled. The gutless PH government will immediately make a cabinet resolution to annul the development project immediately. Learn how to get the PH govt to work for you from the goons in UMNO and PAS.

    Posted 5 years ago by Shanmugam V K Subrayan · Reply