KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 23 — Taman Dusun Bandar, the tropical fruit orchard in the heart of the city which opened its doors to the public on Sept 1, is in shambles.
The Malay Mail, in series of probes in 2011, highlighted the pathetic state of affairs at the fruitless RM17.2 million orchard park located in Jalan Bellamy, forcing the closure of the park then.
City Hall had two weeks ago issued a statement saying the park was now open to the public.
A visit by The Malay Mail team, however, revealed the 7.7ha urban oasis has yet to live up to its name and there has not been much change over the last two years.
Our observations revealed:
- Many trees were unhealthy as its leaves were either eaten by insects or caterpillars.
- Fruit trees were still young.
- Trees and plants were not tagged.
- Park seems to be breeding ground for mosquitoes.
- Lack of shade in the park as most trees have yet to mature.
- Buildings are not well maintained.
- Cafeteria appeared to be still under renovation.
- Toilets were filthy, filled with cobwebs while tap heads were broken.
- Large chunk of the plaster ceiling in women’s toilet had collapsed.
In the 2011 probe, the contractor of the park Zikhtar Associates Sdn Bhd, admitted to only spending RM600,00 from the RM17.2 million allocated for the project for tree planting. The contractor had also then told The Malay Mail that tree planting was not the priority.
Upon further scrutiny, it was revealed that the bulk of RM17 million was used to construct buildings, bridges, earthworks, landscaping and internal drainage works.
Our investigations then also showed there were hardly any fruit trees in the park. There were also trees that were dead or disease-infested.
This prompted then mayor Tan Sri Ahmad Fuad Ismail to shut down the park and promised to only open the doors to the park once the shortcomings had been rectified.
Our reports went on to win the Malaysian Press Institute Best Investigative Report for 2011.