Taman Rimba Kiara saga: Longhouse residents claim affluent neighbours denying them proper housing

The Bukit Kiara longhouse community claims their rich neighbours are standing in their way of proper housing. — Picture courtesy of Bukit Kiara Public Housing Residents’ Organisation
The Bukit Kiara longhouse community claims their rich neighbours are standing in their way of proper housing. — Picture courtesy of Bukit Kiara Public Housing Residents’ Organisation

KUALA LUMPUR, March 28 — The Taman Tun Dr Ismail (TTDI) longhouse community has voiced their unhappiness over their “rich and powerful” neighbours who they claim care more for public open spaces rather than their need for proper housing.

Bukit Kiara Public Housing Residents’ Organisation chairman Sunderam Vadiveloo said that some 100 families have been waiting for proper housing for 36 years.

And their wait, he said, could be prolonged by “elite” TTDI residents who did not wish to make any compromise on the development of Taman Rimba Kiara which would provide them with affordable housing.

“TTDI residents want a complete victory and do not want to compromise after meeting the joint working committee involving all parties. The rich and powerful TTDI residents just want the project to be completely scrapped and do not want poor people like us to stay in their elite neighbourhood.

“The fact that there is no compromise on their part sets a bad precedent for a multi-racial society like Malaysia and this should not be encouraged,” he said in a statement.

Sunderam said action by the neighbours have made them feel overlooked throughout the whole ordeal.

“We appear to be less significant than the 3.2ha trees and joggers in Bukit Kiara estate. Joggers talk about tracks to run on while we are just asking for a roof over our heads.

“Is saving the 3.2ha land for joggers more important than providing proper homes for the poor elderly families with children and grandchildren living in cramped and dilapidated conditions?

“The large 6.9ha of the green portion of Taman Rimba remains untouched for joggers. Are we to continue living like this as a marginalised and discriminated community?” he said.

Sundaram was referring to the latest decision by the courts to deny the TTDI Resident Association application for a judicial review on the project development order.

Subsequently, the developers have also agreed to scale down the development to 3.2ha (8 acres) while returning the 1.6ha (4 acres) remaining land on top of the large 6.9ha (17 acres) of green portion of Taman Rimba that remains untouched.

Sunderam also voiced his unhappiness with Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh whom he claimed to be “more concerned about her political career fighting for only the rich TTDI residents and ignore the homeless families like us here”.

The development, which has been mired in controversy since mid-2016, is to include high-end service apartments as well as affordable housing units for TTDI longhouse residents.

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