Khalid’s RM150m Rimba Kiara project cancellation cost ‘mythical’, says Segambut MP

A general view of Rimba Kiara Park in Kuala Lumpur December 6, 2018. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
A general view of Rimba Kiara Park in Kuala Lumpur December 6, 2018. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

KUALA LUMPUR, March 25 — Federal Territories Minister Khalid Abdul Samad’s claim that cancelling a property project at Taman Rimba Kiara would cost over RM150 million is a “mythical” allegation that needs to be backed by evidence, Hannah Yeoh said today.

Yeoh, who is MP for Segambut where the proposed project is located, asserted that the entire Taman Rimba Kiara “must not be touched for development”.

“This alleged ‘RM150 million compensation’ is an imaginary figure and needs to be supported by receipts or proof of payment for the alleged transactions.

“The FT Minister must not jump the gun in putting a mythical price tag for cancellation of the proposed development especially in light of the revelation made by C4,” Yeoh, who is also Women, Family and Community Development Deputy Minister, said in a statement today.

She was referring to anti-graft watchdog Centre to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4), which she said had “provided fresh revelation of conflict of interest involving Yayasan Wilayah Persekutuan” in the proposed project and noted that she believed it is pending investigation by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

When commenting on Khalid’s alternative proposal of continuing the project at Taman Rimba Kiara on a smaller scale, Yeoh again stressed that such an option should leave the green lung untouched, except for the current footprint of longhouses on site.

Yesterday, Khalid reportedly said he would present the matter of the Taman Rimba Kiara project to the Cabinet, to let federal ministers decide whether to cancel the project and pay compensation costs of over RM150 million to the developer, or to proceed with it.

Khalid reportedly said Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) would be the one footing the compensation bill as the agency had granted the development order to the developer.

Local daily The Star reported Khalid as saying that the proposed project has been scaled down from the initial 4.9 hectares to 3.2 hectares, with half of it to be for the longhouse residents’ housing and the other half already rezoned for use as mixed development.

Khalid reportedly said the untouched green portion of Taman Rimba Kiara after the development would remain relatively large at 6.9 hectares.

The Star reported Khalid as saying that he personally feels that it would be reasonable to proceed with the smaller-scale project as it would also involve the building of homes for the longhouse residents, while money that would have been used on compensation can instead be spent on purchasing land and constructing parks in other areas that need parks.

Taman Tun Dr Ismail residents had in the past said the project site would take up almost half of the 25-acre Taman Rimba Kiara that was meant to be a public open space, also claiming that close to 800 trees are estimated to be located on the proposed project’s site.

The project that was planned under the joint venture by Yayasan Wilayah Persekutuan and developer Memang Perkasa was said to involve the construction of multiple condominium blocks, including one tower with 350 units designated as permanent housing for the longhouse residents who are former estate workers.

It is unclear how many blocks or units are envisioned under the proposed scaled-down version.

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