High Court dismisses application to stay Taman Rimba Kiara development

Asila Jalil

Lawyer for Taman Tun Dr Ismail Residents' Association, Balan Nair leaves the Kuala Lumpur court complex, after the High Court dismissed the residents' application for a stay order for a project to build high-rise apartments in Taman Rimba Kiara, today. – The Malaysian Insight pic by Hasnoor Hussain, December 14, 2017.

THE High Court today dismissed an application for a stay order for a project to build high-rise apartments in Taman Rimba Kiara, Kuala Lumpur.

Taman Tun Dr Ismail (TTDI) Residents’ Association lawyer Balan Nair said the stay order was dismissed as third party rights were involved, the third parties being the third and fourth respondents, landowner Yayasan Wilayah Persekutuan and developer Memang Perkasa Sdn Bhd, respectively.

The court today said the stay would incur losses to the developer and the landowner, which is the welfare arm of the Federal Territories Ministry, as they had invested large sums in the project.

The stay application was dismissed with costs of RM40,000 – RM10,000 each to be paid to the first, third, fourth and fifth respondents, who are City Hall, Yayasan Wilayah Persekutuan, Memang Perkasa Sdn Bhd and Sunderem Residents’ Association, respectively.

In an immediate reaction, Save Taman Rimba Kiara working committee group coordinator Leon Koay said the dismissal was unfair. He said the TTDI residents had taken the case to court for the sake of public interest.

“We have nothing to gain from this. Our only interest is to protect the public park which has been there for 20, 30 years,” Koay said at the High Court complex today.

Koay said the residents were not objecting to the idea of permanent housing for the longhouse residents in the area, but new homes for them could be built where the longhouses now stood instead of in Taman Rimba Kiara.

Also, he said, housing for the longhouse tenants was only a fraction of  the development. 

“About 90% of this development is for high-end condominiums. Only 10% is for affordable housing for the long house residents. We are objecting to the 90%.

“This legal action was taken because we object to the 90%, but the respondents played up the 10% affordable housing in their filings to portray us as depriving the longhouse residents of housing, which is not correct,” said Koay, adding that the residents’ association had also proposed a sustainable and affordable alternative.

He said for acting in public interest, the residents had now to pay the exorbitant costs of the action.

“We are all simple residents. Everyone is putting together their resources to try and do something for the public good, and we have been hit with the exorbitant costs of lawyers.

“Is this the message that the government and court administration want to send out to the greater public?
“There has to be a balance somewhere and all we’re doing is asking this question and raising this issue. And for raising this issue, we are hit with the cost of RM40,000.”

Meanwhile, the longhouse settlers association chairman V. Sunderam said the settlers were satisfied with the court’s decision.

“If they (TTDI Residents’ Association) take (another legal action) also, we feel we’ll get God’s help

“If they (developer) carry on with the project, then (they will) carry on. What can they do?”  he said.

Lawyer Balan said he would next apply to the Court of Appeal for a stay, as instructed by his client.

Two weeks ago, the residents held a protest against approval for the proposed development, which was granted on November 6, three days after the Federal Territories Minister Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor told the residents in a dialogue session that the park would be untouched.

The protestors said they were appalled that City Hall had given the green light for Memang Perkasa Sdn Bhd to proceed with the development, and to build a sales gallery to showcase the high-end apartments in the development available for sale. – December 14, 2017.

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