KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 16 — A coalition of residents that originally protested against condominium project The Address wants the authorities to revisit its approval after part of it collapsed last Friday afternoon.
Save Taman Desa Coalition said the collapse raised many concerns which were brought up in 2017 when residents first found out about the project.
A group of 11 Taman Desa residents even filed a lawsuit against the Kuala Lumpur mayor to stop the construction of The Address, as the project was to be built on land that was marked for utilities and not for development.
The group’s lawsuit, however, failed to stop its construction. Fast forward to today, the developer has started construction of a second phase — The Address II.
Taman Desa resident Philip Phang said residents’ concerns over the condominium project still stand today; safety concerns and question marks of how the project was approved.
“In the Kuala Lumpur City Plan 2020 (KLCP 2020) the land which The Address is built on, is still marked as a green lung.
“We asked many questions regarding the project, but none of them were answered by the government or the local authorities,” said Phang.
A stop-work order has now been issued to the contractor of the partially built condominium. At the same time, several parties will be investigating the cause of the collapse.
Although the Federal Territories Minister Khalid Abdul Samad said there was a high possibility the collapse was caused by weak foundation and structure, residents remain adamant the project should not have been approved in the first place.
“Why has the government ignored our previous queries?
“We even sent a memorandum to the FT Minister’s office shortly after he took office in November 2018, but we still have not heard back from them,” said Phang.
Apart from the memorandum to the FT Minister, the Save Taman Desa Coalition had also sent multiple letters to Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL), a memorandum to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commision (MACC) and even the prime minister.
When asked what could have been done prior to the condominium’s construction which is at the 13th floor to date, Phang said Khalid could have called for a stop-work order when he took office as minister to review the project, taking into account that the piece of land was gazetted as Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) reserved land and not residential land.
“He could have called for a review on the project.
“According to the KLCP 2020 (which Khalid had gazetted in 2018), the land was proposed to be gazetted as a green lung,” he added, referring to the Draft City Plan prior to its gazettement.
Commenting on the development, another resident Frank Yeh raised similar questions.
“There are so many questions which the government has yet to answer,” Yeh said.
Meanwhile, another resident who was one of the first few to alert surrounding neighbours about the collapse said the approval for The Address came as a surprise to Taman Desa residents.
The resident, who did not wish to be named, said he did not expect any building to be built right next to his current residence as the piece of land seemed quite small for any major development.
“When we received word that TNB no longer occupied that land, we thought that we could enjoy some greenery.
“That piece of land is quite narrow. We really did not expect anything to be built there.
“Our worry is now, whether the other side of the building might collapse and that would fall into our compound,” he said.
He currently resides in 1 Desa, which is a 13-storey condominium facing phase two of The Address which is where the collapse happened.
“We are not against development, but we are concerned over how development is done.
“Prior to the proposal of The Address, Taman Desa was already very congested.
“How is it that the government approved such a high density development in an already congested area?” he asked.
It has been previously reported that The Address will have 649 units in three blocks of between 34 to 42 storeys; this would increase density from 60 persons per acre to 650 persons per acre.
Since the Friday incident, the FT minister and Housing and Local Government minister have visited the development site, along with the Kuala Lumpur mayor.
Kok, who is currently abroad, has since posted a short update on her Facebook page indicating that she would correspond with DBKL and other government agencies regarding the incident.