MACC probe into Taman Rimba Kiara reopened, in final stages, says deputy chief

Kalidevi Mogan Kumarappa

MACC deputy commissioner (operations) Azam Baki says investigations into the proposed Taman Rimba Kiara luxury condominium project was completed but had been reopened due to public pressure and is now in its final stages. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, May 18, 2019.

INVESTIGATIONS into the proposed Taman Rimba Kiara luxury condominium project had been completed earlier but was reopened after a new round of controversy erupted, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) said.

Responding to complaints that the MACC had dragged its feet on the case, its deputy commissioner (operations) Azam Baki said the probe was never closed and the agency had not stopped its probe.

“We had already completed the investigation earlier but had to reopen the case after the issue was raised again.

“We have recorded statements from several witnesses and the investigation officer is in the midst of wrapping up the case before referring it to the deputy public prosecutor for further action,” Azam told The Malaysian Insight.

He did not specify when the first round of investigations were completed nor when the case was reopened.

However, in recent weeks, Federal Territories Minister Khalid Samad and Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh, who opposes the project together with Taman Tun Dr Ismail residents, have openly disagreed with each other over Taman Rimba Kiara’s redevelopment.

Yeoh, who has alleged elements of corruption in the project as Khalid’s ministry has direct interest in through Yayasan Wilayah Persekutuan, earlier today said MACC should close shop if it could not find any wrongdoing after several reports were lodged against it since last year.

Azam urged all parties to be patient as MACC is awaiting further instructions from the DPP.

A source, however, told The Malaysian Insight that the case had arisen due to dissatisfaction from certain parties.

“It’s a case of dissatisfaction more than criminality.

“But as the public had wanted MACC to investigate it, we are hence complying with their requests,” said the source.

The project to build eight blocks of luxury apartments and new affordable housing for former plantation workers now living at the Bukit Kiara longhouse was approved in 2014 when Barisan Nasional’s Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor was then federal territories minister.

The ministry’s Yayasan Wilayah Persekutuan is the landowner and joint-venture partner with developer Memang Perkasa Sdn Bhd, which is owned by Malton Bhd. According to the joint-venture agreement, Memang Perkasa would bear development costs while the foundation would receive a fixed sum of RM160 million.

Yeoh, as well as Save Rimba Kiara, a group of residents against the project, and the Centre to Combat Cronyism and Corruption said the project has conflict of interest involving Tengku Adnan as well as elements of corruption.

On those grounds, they argue that the ministry under a new government should not proceed with the luxury condominiums and only build new housing for the longhouse residents within the current footprint to avoid encroaching on to Taman Rimba Kiara.

Khalid, however, is sticking to a scaled down version of the condominium, from eight blocks to four and a smaller portion of the park affected.

The cabinet is to decide between the two proposals. – May 18, 2019.

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