If anyone deserves free legal aid, it’s TTDI folk, says Hannah

Noel Achariam

Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh says it doesn’t make sense for a prominent lawyer like Gopal Sri Ram to offer free legal services on the Taman Rimba Kiara case. – The Malaysian Insight pic by Seth Akmal, November 26, 2019.

IT is the Taman Tun Dr Ismail (TTDI) residents and not Kuala Lumpur City Hall who deserve free legal aid in the Taman Rimba Kiara development dispute, said Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh.

Yeoh said top lawyer Gopal Sri Ram need not have worked for free to defend a development decision made by the previous Barisan Nasional administration.

“They (City Hall) don’t need help as they have deep pockets,” she said, adding that DBKL is one of the richest city councils in the country.

“The residents, on the other hand, are passing the hat around and carrying out fundraising on their own to save a neighbourhood park.

“I hope the Federal Territories minister (Khalid Samad) realises that KL residents are informed voters and that his explanation on this pro bono offer simply doesn’t make sense.”

Yeoh, a deputy minister, was responding to Khalid’s revelation that former Federal Court judge Sri Ram offered to work pro bono for DBKL on the controversial Taman Rimba Kiara case.

The Federal Territories Ministry also shot down claims that Sri Ram was paid “a large amount” for his services.

“Please be informed that he, in fact, offered his services pro bono to DBKL on this case. When the offer was referred to the law firm representing DBKL, it agreed to take it up.  

“Therefore, the allegations that DBKL spent a large amount for his services are false and baseless,” the Federal Territories Ministry said in a statement yesterday.

Federal Territories Minister Khalid Samad denies that City Hall is paying a top lawyer exorbitant fees to work on the case against TTDI residents over development in Taman Rimba Kiara.  – The Malaysian Insight file pic, November 26, 2019.

The case revolves around an appeal filed by TTDI residents to reverse a lower court’s dismissal of their application for judicial review over approval for the Taman Rimba Kiara development.

The residents oppose a proposal by Yayasan Wilayah Persekutuan (YWP) and Memang Perkasa Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Malton Bhd, to build nine apartment blocks on the land.

DBKL approved the plan in 2014, which residents said would destroy 10ha of one of the last few green lungs in Kuala Lumpur.

Khalid negotiated to scale down the project to four blocks of serviced apartments and 204 affordable housing units, a suggestion largely rejected by the residents.

Sri Ram’s appearance at a preliminary hearing on Friday, as lead counsel for DBKL, stirred up further resentment among the residents, who accuse the local authority of sending in the big guns to demolish them in court.

Sri Ram is the lead prosecutor in two ongoing 1MDB cases involving former prime minister Najib Razak. The lawyer is reported to also be contributing his services pro bono on the two cases. – November 26, 2019.

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  • khalid is a changed man. big let down. power hungry now. Hannah, please keep it up.

    Posted 4 years ago by . . · Reply