Taman Desa residents lodge report with MACC over new condo project

Taman Desa residents are seen holding a banner on December 9, 2017 at The Address's project site to urge for a halt of the alleged over-development of the mature neighbourhood. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Taman Desa residents are seen holding a banner on December 9, 2017 at The Address's project site to urge for a halt of the alleged over-development of the mature neighbourhood. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 27 — Taman Desa residents today urged the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to probe the conversion and sale of land to a private developer for a new condominium project called The Address.

They are claiming that there appears to be irregularities linked to the project.

A total of 78 residents from the two existing condominiums Tiara Faber and Desa 1 — both directly affected by the project — lodged the report with the MACC at the latter’s Putrajaya headquarters today.

The residents want MACC to probe how the land — formerly gazetted as electricity producer Tenaga Nasional Berhad’s (TNB) reserve land in the previous Kuala Lumpur Master Plan and designated as a green area in the ungazetted Kuala Lumpur Master Plan 2020 — was converted to be for development purposes and sold to a developer.

“In addition, to review the process taken to approved such high density high rise on such a narrow piece of land with very close proximity to residential properties and schools,” the Protect Taman Desa coalition said in a statement today.

The Taman Desa residents’ complaint was addressed to MACC chief commissioner Tan Sri Dzulkifli Ahmad and acknowledged by the MACC to be received today.

The Protect Taman Desa coalition, which is opposing 13 upcoming condominium projects in the mature Kuala Lumpur neighbourhood, pointed out that The Address project involves three towers of over 30 storeys being built on the former TNB reserve that are only two chains or 132 feet wide.

A map showing the location of The Address project site, as well as the three neighbouring condominiums and three neighbouring schools. — Picture courtesy of the Protect Taman Desa coalition
A map showing the location of The Address project site, as well as the three neighbouring condominiums and three neighbouring schools. — Picture courtesy of the Protect Taman Desa coalition

The coalition also noted that The Address’ immediate residential neighbours are the Tiara Faber condominium with a maximum height of 10 storeys, the 12-storey-high Desa 8 condominium, the 13-storey-high Desa 1 Residences; while two primary schools and one secondary school are also near the project.

Protect Taman Desa said over 200 residents had attended the legally-required public objection hearing held in Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) on September 21, 2016, where they had posed over 40 questions to DBKL.

“DBKL had promised to call for a second hearing to respond to the questions but to-date nothing from DBKL,” the coalition said.

Protect Taman Desa said DBKL had given approval for the project to have its density increased from 60 persons per acre to over 650 persons per acre, adding that Taman Desa residents had later decided to file a judicial review against DBKL over the latter’s decision to allow the alleged “unsustainable” property development.

While noting that the federal territories minister had said plots of land sold by DBKL to developers was to enable the building of affordable homes under the Rumawip programme for the lower-income group in Kuala Lumpur, Protect Taman Desa pointed out however that The Address was “definitely not an Affordable Housing Project”.

Valerie Low, a Tiara Faber resident who is also the spokesman for the 78 residents who filed the MACC report, said The Address’ developer did not put up the necessary project notices as required by DBKL before starting work on the site.

“Sign boards were put up only after complaints were lodged. Till today, the information on the signboard remains incomplete — the approval references are not included and DBKL appear to be closing a blind eye to this,” the coalition said.

Citing alleged “irregularities” from August 2016 when residents were first notified of The Address and the subsequent lack of response by DBKL to residents, the coalition said that “it gives the impression that there are irregularities and improprieties which give rise to the need for a report to MACC”.

The coalition also urged the federal territories minister to fully disclose how the land was converted from a TNB reserve land to development purposes, as well as to provide justification for the high-density upmarket housing project.

Taman Desa residents are seen outside the MACC office holding the complaint they filed with the MACC today. — Picture courtesy of the Protect Taman Desa coalition
Taman Desa residents are seen outside the MACC office holding the complaint they filed with the MACC today. — Picture courtesy of the Protect Taman Desa coalition

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