KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 10 — Taman Desa residents protesting alleged overdevelopment in their neighbourhood are not opposing local authorities, but merely want legal development, a Taman Desa representative said.
Frank Yeh, the protem chairman of the Protect Taman Desa coalition, said that residents should also pursue legal methods to ensure legal compliance.
“I’m not saying we go for riot and go for huge demonstration. We are very happy so many of you came, but we are saying, know your rights and know the laws and regulations and do something about it. Do it the legal way.
“We are not against governments, politicians, either side. We are not against DBKL (Kuala Lumpur City Hall). We just want to make sure the good rules and regulations and laws are being followed, that is all,” the engineer said yesterday during a peaceful sit-in protest outside the site of an upcoming condominium project named The Address.
Yeh said the Protect Taman Desa coalition currently has majority support from Taman Desa residents, namely 18 out of 24 condominiums and two out of four residents’ associations in the neighbourhood.
He said the group has managed to chalk up over 1,000 ‘likes’ and ‘followers’ for its official Facebook page Protect Taman Desa from Over-development in just four weeks’ time.
Yeh said that there are 13 projects that are earmarked in Taman Desa and which he claimed would double the mature neighbourhood’s population in the next four to five years, calling it a “ridiculous” situation.
“We are not against development; we are against unsustainable, unreasonable development,” he said, later noting that Taman Desa residents are not merely concerned about the “inconveniences” during construction works but also the long-term effects.
Citing as example the already low water pressure said to be experienced by residents in Taman Desa following population growth over the years, he said it would likely suffer further in the future if there is overdevelopment.
He urged the Taman Desa at the protest, which numbered at least 70, to spread awareness among Malaysians of the potential over-development problems that could also one day affect their neighbourhoods.
“Watch out for green lungs, if there’s empty space and your place is very popular, every day you pass by, make sure you look if there’s any notice however small,” he said, noting the legal requirement for public notification of proposed new projects to enable residents to object.
Philip Phang, a media coordinator for Protect Taman Desa, also noted that residents merely wanted The Address’s developer to follow the existing laws and guidelines while carrying out substructure works approved by DBKL.
“As far as the developer is concerned, we respect their rights. They have the rights to start work, because they have been given the approval by the authorities.
“What we are hoping for is whilst you wish to exercise your right, please do it with a sense of moral compass, comply with the law,” he told reporters.
Yesterday, Taman Desa residents handed over a memorandum to the project developer and contractor, where they asked for compliance with 17 conditions including to abide by the authorities’ existing rules and regulations on construction, environmental management, traffic management, safety and health.
They sought for “real engagement” and a complaint resolution mechanism, as well as the forming of a joint consultation group between residents and the two firms to hold periodic meetings and facilitate information sharing on good construction practices.
They also want the developer or contractor to ensure works are not carried out beyond DBKL’s approved work hours of 7am to 7pm from Monday to Saturday, which residents claimed was breached on a few occasions.
The project contractor’s site manager M. Chandiran yesterday told reporters however that one incident did not involve his firm and the two others were due to unavoidable circumstances.