TTDI residents to sue City Hall to save Taman Rimba Kiara

Tan Wan-Peng

Taman Tun Dr Ismail residents' association members have resolved to pursue legal action to stop a massive development in one of the city's green lungs, at the 'Save Taman Rimba Kiara' town hall in Kuala Lumpur today. – The Malaysian Insight pic, May 7, 2017.

RESIDENTS of Taman Tun Dr Ismail will proceed with legal action to stop a mammoth development project in Taman Rimba Kiara, one of Kuala Lumpur’s largest green lungs.

Last June, City Hall (DBKL) approved the development of a 29-storey block of affordable housing (350 units), and eight blocks of high-end apartments (42 to 54 storeys, 1,766 units) on 4.86ha of land in Taman Rimba Kiara, which was designated as public open space under the Kuala Lumpur City Plan 2020.

On June 18 last year, the residents initiated the protest against the project. Today, about 1,000 residents and activists turned up at a town-hall meeting organised by “Save Taman Rimba Kiara” were told that the residents’ association was pursuing legal action to stop the project that had been mired in secrecy and conflict of interest from the get-go.

Leon Koay, a member of the Save Taman Rimba Kiara Working Group, said a land title was issued in 2014 to Taman Rimba Kiara, which converted the open space to commercial land (lot PT9244).

There have also been accusations of conflict of interest. Yayasan Wilayah Persekutuan claims to be the holder of the title to lot PT9244. The federal territories minister, who oversees DBKL, is the chairman of the foundation’s board of trustees and the KL mayor is also a director of the same board of trustees.

The other issue, which has alarmed the residents’ association, is the omission of the extensive road and infrastructure works from the development notice.

“RM80 million is to be spent on roadworks and infrastructure alone when only RM40 million is needed for an affordable housing project,” Koay said, referring to the 100 families of former estate workers living in longhouses in the area who were promised housing in the 1980s after the estate was developed into the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club.

Among the infrastructure to be built is a two-way flyover and an eight-lane highway on Jalan Datuk Sulaiman, the main road in the housing estate.

The entrance to Taman Rimba Kiara, where approval has been granted for a 29-storey block of affordable housing and eight blocks of high-end apartments.  – The Malaysian Insight pic, May 7, 2017.

The residents heard today that suing DBKL was the only option now that the local authority had stated it would proceed with the project and that it has not received the petition signed by 5,600 residents last June.

P. Gunasilan, a retired town planner who attended the meeting today, said the blame lay squarely with Federal Territories Minister Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, who had refused to gazette the KL City Plan 2020.

“Land under Yayasan Wilayah Persekutuan should not be involved in high-density projects… you can keep it reasonable or keep it green,” he said.

On February 28, The Star reported the KL members of parliament’s shock at Tengku Adnan’s statement that the draft Kuala Lumpur City Plan 2020 might not be gazetted as planned.

He was quoted in a local English daily as saying he would not sign or approve the plan as there was room in it for abuse. The draft plan was scheduled to be gazetted in 2012. – May 7, 2017. 

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