Friends can disagree too, says Hannah Yeoh about Pakatan conflict over Taman Rimba Kiara

 

Deputy Minister of Woman, Family and Community Development Hannah Yeoh attends a briefing regarding the update on the Taman Rimba Kiara issue in Kuala Lumpur May 18, 2019. ― Picture by Hari Anggara
Deputy Minister of Woman, Family and Community Development Hannah Yeoh attends a briefing regarding the update on the Taman Rimba Kiara issue in Kuala Lumpur May 18, 2019. ― Picture by Hari Anggara
KUALA LUMPUR, May 18 — DAP lawmaker Hannah Yeoh asserted today that her opposition to proposed development on Taman Rimba Kiara will not disrupt her friendship with Federal Territories Minister Khalid Samad nor cause cracks within the ruling Pakatan Harapan.

The Segambut MP said that her disagreement with the project is at a professional level as she was elected to speak out against developments that are not her constituents’ interest.

“Yes we are friends. Khalid Samad is my friend and when I was the Subang assemblyman, he came alongside me and protested when the Telekom land, a utility land was used for commercial development.

“But I believe as public figures, as members of parliament given mandate by the people, friends can also disagree and friends must disagree if what we are fighting for is not the best for the rakyat.

“To preserve Taman Rimba Kiara is a fight worth fighting for,” she said at a town hall session held at the Taman Tun Dr Ismail community centre here attended by about 500 people.

Yeoh dismissed the views that she still held onto an Opposition mindset, saying there are many ways to be pro-business and pro-development.

Deputy Minister of Woman, Family and Community Development Hannah Yeoh speaks during a briefing regarding the update on the Taman Rimba Kiara issue in Kuala Lumpur May 18, 2019. ― Picture by Hari Anggara
Deputy Minister of Woman, Family and Community Development Hannah Yeoh speaks during a briefing regarding the update on the Taman Rimba Kiara issue in Kuala Lumpur May 18, 2019. ― Picture by Hari Anggara

She said combating corruption would benefit all of businesses to have a better future in Malaysia.

“I want to remind Yayasan that I have 10 years’ experience being part of the state government of Selangor,” she said, referring to Yayasan Wilayah Persekutuan (YWP).

“We were not the Opposition, we were part of government. I have never been in Opposition. I have more experience being in government than the FT minister,” said Yeoh.

She was formerly Selangor Legislative Assembly Speaker and for two terms, the Subang Jaya assemblyman when Pakatan Rakyat was in power.

“From all the evidence presented, I didn’t just fight. We try to be reasonable. We proposed many alternatives and are willing to compromise.

“I hope you are satisfied that I don’t have opposition mindset. This is good governance mindset.”

Yeoh, who is also women, family and community development deputy minister, also insisted she had met with Khalid many times to discuss the Taman Rimba Kiara project, contrary to his assertion two days ago.

However, she said an agreement has not been met as those opposing the project disagrees on the encroachment of the public park.

“We have met so many times but we cannot agree. Every meeting they will say scale down version, but we say if you want to build, build within the longhouse area.

“We have a duty to protect every last piece of greenland. We have more than enough condominiums in KL, so many projects cannot be sold. Why continue to do this,” said Yeoh, adding that she has submitted two proposals to Cabinet on the matter.

The first proposal includes cancelling the development order given to the developer, Malton Berhad, and have the government build low density townhouses to replace the current longhouse residence, in which Yeoh said would cost only RM25 million.

The second alternative suggested that the developer continue with the development but only within the 4.4-acre longhouse footprint and not encroach into the park.

Both proposals suggest YWP return Taman Rimba Kiara land to the government to have it gazetted as a public park.