Taman Rimba Kiara scandal gets PM’s attention, as joint investigative committee mooted

Federal Territories Minister Khalid Abdul Samad speaks during a townhall meeting with Taman Tun Dr Ismail (TTDI) residents, November 23, 2018. ― Picture by Razak Ghazali
Federal Territories Minister Khalid Abdul Samad speaks during a townhall meeting with Taman Tun Dr Ismail (TTDI) residents, November 23, 2018. ― Picture by Razak Ghazali

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KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 24 ― Federal Territories Minister Khalid Abdul Samad said his ministry will set up a joint committee to review the controversial mega project development involving parts of Taman Rimba Kiara (TRK).

He said plans to set up the committee had been referred “to the top”, stressing that Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has been briefed over the controversy.

“The PM already knows about this and I have sent a letter to him on this issue, which should be resolved as soon as possible,” he told reporters after attending the townhall meeting with Taman Tun Dr Ismail (TTDI) residents last night.

Also present were Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh, Mayor of Kuala Lumpur Datuk Nor Hisham Ahmad Dahlan and TTDI Residents Association chairman Abdul Hafiz Abu Bakar.

The meeting was attended by about 450 residents in the area.

Khalid said the government must resolve the issue as the project had already been approved and been through the agreement procedure by the previous government administration.

“I hope the developers are willing to withdraw the project because otherwise, this case will be brought to the court. If it is to be brought to the court, of course the financial implication is higher.

“The estimate of RM150 million may involve other expenses, but if losses and various costs incurred by developers including defaults (are factored in), the cost may be difficult for us to predict,” he added.

Khalid also hoped that there would be a company that wish to take over the developer’s project, which will have to tackle issues including a solution to the construction of the longhouse.

“As for now, [there is no company to take over]. Therefore, DBKL has to absorb all the costs,” he said, referring to the City Hall.

The controversy over the TRK project spanned two and a half years, causing TTDI residents to take legal action.

The residents claimed that the development will take half of the public park site and destroy area with the most trees that has been the habitat for nearly 40 species of local birds and migration.

In fact, the longhouse community residing next to TRK also asked not to be made the “scapegoat” in the project’s construction plans, and demanded for their homes to be built on the original site without destroying the public park.

However, on December 15 last year, the Kuala Lumpur High Court rejected the application of the TTDI residents and nearby condominium management to suspend the development orders in the area.

The decision was made after the court took into account major expenses incurred by the developer, Memang Perkasa Sdn Bhd and Federal Territory Foundation as the respondents in the project.

Meanwhile, Save TRK Working Group coordinator Leon Koai said the residents will absolutely continue to fight for the open space park.

He said, the area is not set up to be the commercial development or high density development.

“It is part of the original Bukit Kiara which was acquired for public purpose, it should never allowed to be developed.

“So let’s fix the wrong that were done in the past. It’s not easy we understand that, but let’s work on it together,” he added.

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