KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 14 – Taman Tun Dr Ismail (TTDI) residents were stunned today with the costs of RM40,000 ordered by the High Court here upon losing their application to temporarily halt all actions in a condominium project in Taman Rimba Kiara.
Save Taman Rimba Kiara spokesman Leon Koay told reporters after the hearing that he was surprised to be “hit with exorbitant costs of all these expensive lawyers”.
“They brought a senior counsel (Tan Sri Cecil Abraham) to argue an interlocutory application. Imagine the deep pockets sitting behind this,” he said.
“We are all simple residents and everyone has put together their resources to try and do something for public good and we have been hit with exorbitant costs of lawyers.
“The question is, is this the message that the government and court administration want to send out to the greater public about public action, about doing things in public interest?” Koay questioned.
Koay pointed out that the residents were acting on behalf of public interest and had nothing to gain but to protect a public park which has been around for decades.
“There’s a public interest to be balanced here, yes there is a public interest in the permanent housing for the longhouse residents and at the same time there is public interest in public park space, which is equally important for livability and larger interest of Kuala Lumpur population.
“All we are doing is raising this issue, and just for raising this issue at the interlocutory stage, we are hit with costs of RM40,000,” he said.
However, the TTDI residents’ lawyer, Balan Nair, said that since he might be taking the application for stay up to the Court of Appeal, the issue of costs will be addressed there as well.
Yesterday, TTDI residents asked the courts to stay the condominium project pending the end of their lawsuit to prevent the “irreversible” felling of trees.
On August 11, TTDI Residents’ Association chairman Abdul Hafiz Abu Bakar, the management bodies of five condominiums and four other TTDI residents had filed for judicial review against the Kuala Lumpur city mayor and Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) in a bid to stop the condominium project.
The disputed project’s landowner Yayasan Wilayah Persekutuan, property developer Memang Perkasa Sdn Bhd, and the longhouse residents association led by V. Sunderam have since then joined the lawsuit as respondents.
However, yesterday Kamaludin struck out DBKL as one of the respondents.
The TTDI residents’ lawsuit seeks a court order to quash both DBKL’s February 28 conditional planning permission and July 13 development order for the project, as well as a court order to compel the KL mayor to adopt and gazette the Draft KL City Plan 2020.