KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 28 — Despite public discontent, the government cannot afford to cancel planned development projects in Taman Rimba Kiara due to the hefty compensation such a move will incur, Khalid Abdul Samad said.
The Federal Territories minister asked instead that the public be open-minded and consider alternative measures, including reducing the scale of the development projects there.
“We can discuss to reduce or scale down the project where we will get some benefit and don’t have to pay out crazy amounts.
“While we haven’t had any discussions with the joint committee yet, I still want to discuss with the developer to scale down the project,” he was quoted by The Star daily as telling a news conference yesterday about the ongoing controversy.
City dwellers, especially Taman Tun Dr Ismail (TTDI) residents who live next to the park, have been fighting hard to save what is considered the last green lung in the densely-populated capital city
In a townhall meeting last week, Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh had proposed a joint committee comprising representatives from the TTDI Residents Association, the Bukit Kiara Longhouse residents, Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL), Yayasan Wilayah Persekutuan (YWP), and FT Ministry officials, to find an amicable solution to the park land issue.
Khalid said some people had proposed that he exercise his power as the FT minister and cancel the development projects on the public land sold by the previous administration, which they argued were illegal, and get some money back.
But he said that if he did as they suggested, he would then have to cancel other development projects elsewhere in the city.
“If we cancel the Taman Rimba Kiara project, that alone will entail a minimum payment of at least RM200 million.
“If I were to cancel 10 projects that are in contravention of the KL Local Plan, then that would come to RM2 billion.
The controversy over the Taman Rimba Kiara project has been ongoing for the past two-and-a-half years, causing TTDI residents to take legal action.
The park is the site of a massive development project for nine super high blocks of high-end serviced apartments ranging from 42 to 54 storeys. The project includes a 29-storey block of 350 housing units meant for the Bukit Kiara longhouse residents.