KUALA LUMPUR, June 26 — Nearly 500 Taman Tun Dr Ismail (TTDI) residents gathered at the Bukit Kiara Rimba Park today to object to a new project they say will cause over-development of their neighbourhood.
Residents ranging from the elderly to toddlers gathered from 11am and held signs that read "Save Taman Rimba Kiara. Say no to development" and "Hands Off Taman Rimba Kiara."
While there were no chants, cheerful chatter could be heard of parents explaining the protest to children and of residents discussing the importance of the park, deemed the "green lungs of TTDI."
"Our message to DBKL (Kuala Lumpur City Hall) is please complete the gazette of Taman Rimba Kiara,” Abdul Hafiz Abu Bakar, president of the TTDI residents association, said when addressing the crowd.
"If you look around here, we have Taman Tun, Bandar Utama, Bukit Antarabangsa, this is the only public park we have where people come here for recreation, people come here for weddings also."
Malay Mail Online reported on Friday that some parts of the Bukit Kiara Rimba Park have been designated as the site of a proposed 29-storey high-rise building with 350 affordable units and an eight-block cluster with 1,766 serviced apartment units, some towering up to 54 storeys.
Apart from damage to the park, which has been gazetted as a forest reserve, residents are also concerned that the new project could see the neighbourhood’s per-acre density spike more than 13 times, from just 74 people per acre to possibly 979 people
At a townhall meeting yesterday, Abdul Hafiz said that the battle to preserve the park will likely be “long and ugly” seeing as they are up against an established developer, adding that they were also mulling legal action.
However, he clarified today that they will not take any legal action, but merely “appeal” to the government and to DBKL not to destroy the park.
Dr Pola Singh, a committee member of the TTDI residents association, explained that only 12 acres, namely the parking lot and the driveway into the park, will be taken up by the proposed development.
While these 12 acres will not encroach on the limits of the gated park, he insisted that any development there will still affect Taman Rimba Kiara regardless.
“It only goes up to the gate, it doesn’t touch the park. But we still need room to breathe. All of this entrance, the parking (lot), it’s all part of the park,” he said when met at the protest today.
The protest lasted one hour without incident before most residents began to disperse, while some stayed to watch a busking session in the park.
Many who attended also signed a petition, which will be submitted to the authorities, although Abdul Hafiz did not know how many signatures they collected today.
The 350 affordable homes are meant to house the residents of the longhouses here, but the group said in an interview with Malay Mail Online yesterday that the project may be “too much” even for them.
The longhouses are home to some 100 families and an estimated 700 people, many of them former estate workers who were relocated to the area in the early 1980s.
A previous report by The Star said 100 units in the proposed housing project will be allocated to the former estate workers for RM25,000 while 83 units will be sold to other families for RM150,000 each.
The units each measure 850 sq ft. The report also said that the remaining units will be sold at market price to the public.