Where’s our ‘free’ unit, asks TTDI longhouse resident 

Tan Wan-Peng

Taman Tun Dr Ismail residents taking part in the 'Save Taman Rimba Kiara' event today. – The Malaysian Insight pic, May 21, 2017

ONE of the beneficiaries of housing in the controversial Taman Rimba Kiara project said after 36 years, the former estate workers displaced by a golf course have yet to receive their promised units.

Gothai Vengidesalam claimed the authorities had misled the former estate workers and their families during a press conference at the “Save Taman Rimba Kiara” event today,

“No one knows what is going on,” she said, referring to the federal territories minister’s announcement on May 8 that the authorities will proceed with a planned development at the park and that 180 units would be given to the longhouse residents.

Gothai moved to the longhouses in Taman Tun Dr Ismail when she was two months old. Her family is one of the 98 families who moved there after the government acquired an old rubber estate in 1980 and promised to build alternative housing for them within five years.

“I feel very insulted. We’re not beggars. They placed us here. Free mana ada?” she said, disputing minister Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor’s claim that the longhouse residents will be provided with free units.

The longhouse residents are entitled to one free unit but would need to purchase the other unit at a price yet to be announced.

Gothai added that she was against development which will destroy one of the city’s largest green lungs.

“They are using us. I don’t want this garden (park) destroyed. It’s a very beautiful place.”

Gothai Vengidesalam claims the authorities have misled the former estate workers and their families. – The Malaysian Insight pic, May 21, 2017

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 Structure Plan 2020.

On May 7, the TTDI residents’ association (RA) said it would sue DBKL to stop the project.

Save Taman Rimba Kiara working group committee member Leon Koay said the RA was against the destruction of almost 48% of the park to build the other eight blocks of apartment, not the building of housing for the longhouse residents. 

“The RA’s stand is please go ahead and build housing for the longhouse residents but it should be low-density and sustainable,” Koay said at the same event today.

He said planners consulted by the RA have suggested a sustainable project at a cost of RM40 million.

TTDI RA vice-chairman Clinton Ang said DBKL’s record of gazetting green lungs is appalling.

“How do you make KL a liveable city if you keep taking over green lungs?” he said.

Gothai, the longhouse resident, said: “I can show you the trees my father planted here. Why do they ask us to plant trees and now, dig them out?” – May 21, 2017.

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