KUALA LUMPUR, May 15 — DAP’s Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh and Centre to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4) today called for the Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) to scrutinise the Taman Rimba Kiara development project.
In a press conference today, Yeoh said there is a clear conflict of interest in the development project as it is under the purview of Yayasan Wilayah Persekutuan (YWP) whose current chairman is Federal Territories Minister Khalid Abdul Samad.
Khalid has said previously that he and the stakeholders are proposing to cut the development project by half and if they were to cancel the project, the government would incur hundreds of millions in compensation payments.
C4 has disputed this, claiming that there are no laws in place to force anyone to pay such an exorbitant amount.
“The Federal Territories (FT) minister talks a lot about compensation if we cancel this project. So since it involves compensation from the government, I want the Attorney General Tommy Thomas to be consulted,” said Yeoh at a media briefing at C4 headquarters in Petaling Jaya today.
“Currently, there are two proposals. The one from Khalid is to scale down the project to which we have said no. Our counter-proposal is if they want to build, they must only build within the longhouse footprint and not encroach into the park.
“Secondly, Khalid said he will bring these decisions to the Cabinet and I agree with this because the minister is in a conflicted position because he is also YWP chairman who now owns part of Taman Rimba Kiara.”
The third matter brought up by Yeoh was the fact no action has been taken by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) who has been given all the information and proof of conflict of interest by C4.
“Clearly, there is a conflict of interest but why hasn’t MACC replied to these allegations?” Yeoh asked.
“All the information and background work has been done by C4 and given to MACC. What’s taking them so long I don’t know but this is evidence of clear conflict of interest.”
Lawyer and former Bersih chairman Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan, who was in attendance at the press conference, highlighted how disgusted she was to see the current administration colluding with developers.
She said she hoped under the Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration there would be no more overdevelopment in Kuala Lumpur where many buildings and office spaces are yet to be used yet more continue to sprout in and around Kuala Lumpur.
“I have to express my utter disappointment in the PH government for not fulfilling a vision we all had for the future of Malaysia,” said Ambiga.
“Kuala Lumpur is so over-developed and I thought this government will put a stop to that and we won’t be held captive by developers. Unfortunately, this example of Taman Rimba Kiara is a stark example of how this government is not distancing itself from the previous one.”
Ambiga questioned Khalid’s motives for not distancing himself from the someone like former FT minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Mansor who for years has been involved in issues relating to developers.
Tengku Adnan was the former YMP chairman.
Ambiga asked if Khalid had considered looking at the legality of the contracts awarded during Tengku Adnan’s tenure.
“Where there has been a clear illegality, then your duty is to the people and not the developers. That includes looking into the possibility of the legality of the contract,” Ambiga said.
“It is so disappointing and disgusting, with due respect, to use the longhouse residents to further the agenda of a private developer when it’s the public’s interest that must come first.”
Ambiga said since there are other projects also in development, C4 and other agencies have appealed to all MPs in Kuala Lumpur join them and support them to ensure overdevelopment in Kuala Lumpur stops.
“There was an article a year ago or so that suggested that we would have 30 new malls in Kuala Lumpur by the year 2020.
“Why aren’t we looking at the KL City plan, which was gazetted without consultation from relevant stakeholders.
“Meanwhile, we’re being held captive by developers who want to put up more and more office spaces and residences when there is an oversupply.
“If I am wrong in assuming these deals are bad for us, then I am glad to stand corrected, but I would like the minister to please be rational in your answers to us.
“You criticised the Barisan Nasional government when it did almost exactly the same thing. Now you need to be able to take those criticisms and be frank with us as to what is going on.
“Why do we still have this Yayasan? Yayasan means helping the poor but look at the way it’s disguised. It helps a few poor but the largest beneficiary of that joint venture is the private developer.”
Ambiga said she believed Khalid and team were getting advice from a private lawyer on these matters and felt this was wrong as they should have sought the AGC for advice.
“It’s hugely disappointing that this government continues to do this to us so we have to stand up and speak up,” Ambiga continued.
“The PH government owes it to us to ensure that there is full disclosure and investigations into this project. And when giving us answers be clear cut with facts.
“Don’t be glib and sarcastic with the answers,” she said.
According to C4, Khalid’s figures of the need to pay the developers RM115 million in compensation if the project is cancelled was inaccurate.
Ambiga and Yeoh said since no actual work has been done in Taman Rimba Kiara, the compensation to the developers would only be for work that has been done so far according to Section 256 of the Federal Territories Planning Act of 1982.
“The compensation figures given by the FT minister were initially RM500 million, then it dropped to RM150 million. Then we corrected him to say it’s RM115 million based on the affidavit in court,” Yeoh explained.
“If the developer wants to build the longhouses they can do so but do not go beyond the current footprint of the longhouse because that’s encroaching into Taman Rimba Kiara.”
Yeoh has organised a town hall meeting this Saturday (May 18) at TTDI Community Centre on Jalan Athinahapan starting at 9am.
The meeting is open to all and Yeoh wants to brief all interested parties on the latest developments and get their feedback and concerns.
“Once this matter goes to Cabinet, decisions on compensation contracts must be reviewed by the government, in particular the Attorney General Tommy Thomas,” said Yeoh.
“And also go after those who have entered into these contracts wrongly,” Ambiga added.