Khalid Samad to propose halving Taman Rimba Kiara development size

Federal Territories Minister Khalid Samad speaks to reporters in Putrajaya April 22, 2019. — Picture by Hari Anggara
Federal Territories Minister Khalid Samad speaks to reporters in Putrajaya April 22, 2019. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, April 22 — Federal Territories Minister Khalid Samad said he will submit to Cabinet a 50 per cent reduction of the proposed Taman Rimba Kiara high-rise project.

Khalid told StarMetro that the revised plan would comprise four blocks of 41- to 45-storey high-end serviced apartments (878 units) and a 17-storey block of 204 affordable housing units for the Bukit Kiara longhouse residents comprising 1,082 units in total, compared to the original plan of eight blocks of 42- to 54-storey luxury condominiums (2,277 units) and a 29-storey block of 350 affordable housing units, totalling 2,627 units.

The new plan was reportedly agreed upon by the project developer, Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL), and one of the two longhouse residents’ associations, Pertubuhan Penduduk Perumahan Awam Bukit Kiara.

“My stand in general is in line with the Cabinet’s instruction, which is to honour the promises made to the longhouse residents and renegotiate in order to get the best terms,” Khalid was quoted as saying.

“We cannot simply cancel contracts as it will create a loss of investor confidence unless it is a mutual thing. If not, then it is better to renegotiate the terms again.”

He said the size of the proposed development has been decreased to 3.2ha from 4.85ha.

“The developer had to take a cut in profits but it is going to provide housing for the 100 Bukit Kiara longhouse families who had earlier signed the agreement,” said Khalid, as he insisted that the project would not encroach into Taman Rimba Kiara.

“The development will not encroach into the park and more people frequent Taman Persekutuan, not Taman Rimba Kiara (TRK), which is smaller in size. There has been misrepresentation that the whole park would be destroyed, but this is not true and people exaggerated the consequences of such a move,” said Khalid.

Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh and a group of hikers pose with a large banner at Taman Rimba Kiara in Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Kuala Lumpur August 4, 2018. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh and a group of hikers pose with a large banner at Taman Rimba Kiara in Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Kuala Lumpur August 4, 2018. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

Taman Tun Dr Ismail residents have sued the government to quash the project, started by the previous Barisan Nasional administration, that they say violates the designation of TRK as a public open space under city plans.

Khalid also said it was better to let Cabinet decide on the matter due to intense “politicking”, even though it was he and DBKL who should be the decision makers.

“Hopefully, people will be more open to the decision made by the Cabinet. If not, then Segambut MP (Hannah Yeoh) and I will be blamed.

“I am trying to please everyone which I know, in the end, I won’t be able to but at least people cannot say I just ignore them. If people say there is corruption or foul play, prove it (to me),” he said.

Yeoh reportedly said yesterday that the promised homes for Bukit Kiara longhouse residents should be built on their current longhouse site, while the rest of TRK should be preserved.

“It is possible for both to co-exist at the same time — housing for the longhouse residents and preservation of TRK,” the DAP lawmaker was quoted as saying.