KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 4 ― Kuala Lumpur's green lung Taman Rimba Kiara will be preserved, Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor insisted yesterday.
In his townhall session with Taman Tun Dr Ismail residents who are objecting a high-rise project, Tengku Adnan said there was no “rift” between him and them, blaming instead alleged “misunderstanding” or wrong perception by those who he claimed were trying to “stir up people's emotions”.
“I will tell you, I will never touch Taman Rimba. The perception says that I will take Taman Rimba, I will never do it. I know the limits, the other side is not our land, it's people's land.
“I will make sure Taman Rimba will remain to be Taman Rimba for the people's recreation,” he said.
Later, he reiterated: “I won't take any part of Taman Rimba Kiara. Your park will still be there.”
When commenting on a planned housing project that will see nine high-rise blocks erected in the Taman Tun Dr Ismail neighbourhood, Tengku Adnan insisted that the project's land would not involve Taman Rimba Kiara and would instead be on land that has already been designated in 2012 for development.
“I would still say it's not Taman Rimba land.
“In November 19, 2012, they have given it as a mixed development area. They never touch Taman Rimba...it's not involved, it's not encroaching Taman Rimba,” he insisted during the townhall meeting.
Tengku Adnan's stance runs contrary to the position taken by the Taman Tun Dr Ismail residents, who highlight that a private developer's development will also be on land that was formerly public land.
Earlier, Save Taman Rimba Kiara working group committee's representative Leon Koay presented maps on Taman Rimba Kiara, including a 1982 masterplan report that had identified the park and a land title search that showed it was a public land with no land title issued until 2010.
“We cannot find evidence or file that this public land was converted to private land,” he said of the Lot PT9244 portion of Taman Rimba Kiara that will be used for the residential project and that is said to be owned by Yayasan Wilayah Persekutuan.
Koay noted that the KL Draft Plan 2020 had designated Taman Rimba Kiara as a public open space, also citing the same code used by the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) for tree tags throughout the park and the park's sole entry located at the planned development site as indicators that the entire land is park land.
A Taman Tun resident also stood up during the subsequent question and answer session with Tengku Adnan to ask: “So how did a gazetted park land suddenly become a commercialised, a mixed development plot? Can we see the document that all the changes took place, how did the changes take place?”
In response to multiple questions by Taman Tun Dr Ismail regarding Taman Rimba Kiara and the housing project, Tengku Adnan said they could meet him and his officers to discuss the matter.
When met later, Tengku Adnan told reporters that Taman Rimba Kiara will be retained.
“In fact, Taman Rimba will actually remain...We do tag all the trees in the Federal Territories, because we got a computerised system, we know how many trees we have, how many trees we plant, because we are looking at carbon emission. Certainly some part of the land that was sold to Yayasan (Wilayah Persekutuan) has trees that are tagged,” he said.
The “Bicara Rakyat” session last night was organised by BN component party myPPP in cooperation with the Federal Territories Ministry, DBKL and the Taman Tun Dr Ismail residents' association, and was also attended by deputy federal territories minister Datuk Dr Loga Bala Mohan.
The townhall session mostly revolved around Taman Rimba Kiara, with the residents loudly applauding during Koay's presentation and many stepping up to seek clarification and information on the matter from Tengku Adnan.
Another key issue raised repeatedly was existing parking woes suffered by Taman Tun Dr Ismail residents, with residents' association chairman Abdul Hafiz Abu Bakar identifying potential locations for multi-storey carparks and a plea to end the practice of allowing business entities to reserve private parking lots only for their own use or customers' use.
Tengku Adnan said Taman Tun Dr Ismail was the first place for the Bicara Rakyat series and that more sessions would be held in places such as Damansara, Bangsar and Setiawangsa, alleging that the elected representatives in these areas were uncaring as they were from opposition parties.
“We will go to all areas, not just opposition areas. We will go to all residential areas, luxury condominiums, condominiums, terrace houses and landed properties,” he told reporters.
Taman Tun Dr Ismail residents have filed a lawsuit as a last resort to object to the development that they say would add over 2,000 property units or up to 10,000 residents to the already dense neighbourhood and which DBKL had in July approved, suggesting a cheaper RM14 million alternative of 100 units as an affordable housing solution for estate workers living in longhouses near Taman Rimba Kiara and which would not encroach on park land.