Don’t use us as an excuse for TTDI condo project, longhouse residents say

Over 300 people joined in the TTDI residents association’s People Park event along with Earth Day celebrations at Taman Rimba Kiara. — Picture by Azneal Ishak
Over 300 people joined in the TTDI residents association’s People Park event along with Earth Day celebrations at Taman Rimba Kiara. — Picture by Azneal Ishak

KUALA LUMPUR, May 22 — Residents of the Bukit Kiara longhouses urged local authorities not to use them as an excuse for the proposed development in Taman Rimba Kiara.

The park in Taman Tun Dr Ismail (TTDI) is the site for the proposed 29-storey affordable apartments project and eight service apartment blocks.

The reasons given by the Federal Territories Ministry were that the affordable houses were for the public as well as to provide permanent housing for the longhouse residents which had been promised to them by previous administrations.

This, however, has not gone down well with third generation resident Gothai Vengidesalam, 36, who felt embarrassed and insulted that the local authorities used her community as a reason to take away part of Taman Rimba Kiara.

“We only insisted on the government’s promise to provide us with permanent housing. However we do not agree with the massive project that they propose to build in the park,” he said.

“We are not beggars. We did not ask for the project or did we ever agree on such a massive project that will potentially destroy the park,’’ she said at the Parks for People event held at Taman Rimba Kiara yesterday.

Another resident who wished to be known as Gothai, Taman Rimba Kiara was also an important part of her small community and she was appalled that City Hall (DBKL) would agree to a project that will take that away.

“Our community has been frequenting the park since we moved here in 1982. We also planted trees and flowers in the park and use the flowers as offerings at the temple.

To date, the longhouse community consists of 98 families, living in 98 units.

She said there were several plans to provide the community with permanent housing but none panned out.

According to Gothai only 53 signed documents agreeing to the proposed development.

“Even those who signed did not know the full extent of the development, only that they will get 100 free housing units and another 100 unit would be sold to them at RM175,000.

Taman Tun Resident Association spokesperson Leon Koay said they were moving ahead with legal action against DBKL.

Recent data made available by the Department of Survey and Mapping Malaysia indicate that the proposed development would take 47.5 per cent of the park. “This refutes the statements made by local authorities that the development will not encroach on the park,’’ said Leon.

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