Preserve Taman Rimba Kiara

JUNE 24 — The proposed high-rise project near Taman Rimba Kiara in Taman Tun Dr Ismail (TTDI) will likely affect the park and cause traffic congestion.

The mixed development project by Memang Perkasa Sdn Bhd, which comprises a 29-storey affordable housing block (350 units) and eight serviced apartment blocks of between 42 and 54 storeys (a purported 1,766 units) at Lot PT 9244, Jalan Tun Mohd Fuad, will drastically raise the density of the population in the area 13 times from 74 to 979 people per acre.

Kuala Lumpur mayor Datuk Seri Mohd Amin Nordin Abdul Aziz reportedly said the project would not affect the park and that it was not in the gazetted area, but at the longhouse site instead that currently houses former rubber estate workers who have been waiting for proper housing for over three decades.

The open spaces of Bukit Kiara, TTDI and the forested hills of Kampong Sungai Penchala, after all, are meant to be preserved together with the West Valley Park, according to the Kuala Lumpur Structure Plan 2020.

It’s a pity that the 100 families of former estate workers, who used to work on the estate that has since been developed into the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club (KLGCC), are still waiting for affordable housing until the fourth generation, when the longhouses were meant to be temporary.

Why didn’t the government do anything for so long? Everyone has the right to quality of life, including decent housing.

If the affordable apartments are to be located at the longhouse site without encroaching on the park, then perhaps it’s acceptable.

However, the serviced apartments are completely unnecessary.

According to an announcement on Bursa Malaysia, prominent property development and construction company Malton Berhad entered a conditional subscription agreement with Memang Perkasa on January 22 this year to subscribe 51 per cent of Memang Perkasa’s shares, while Tegap Dinamik Sdn Bhd, which is currently the existing sole shareholder of Memang Perkasa, would have 49 per cent. Upon completion of the proposed subscription, Memang Perkasa will become a 51 per cent-owned subsidiary of Malton.

The announcement stated that the rationale for the proposed subscription was to enable Malton to participate in Memang Perkasa’s mixed development project that is estimated to generate a gross development value of over a whopping RM3 billion over the next seven years.

As it is, Malton already hit record sales of RM1 billion as of last November following its Bukit Jalil City development launch.

How much will the serviced apartments in TTDI be sold for? We residents don’t need yet another luxury high-rise project that will only benefit corporations and the rich.

 

Property is highly unaffordable as it is, especially to young people, that we risk becoming a “homeless” generation.

There also appears to be some discrepancy between the mayor’s notice and the local councils’ OSC Portal on the number of units for the proposed serviced apartments. The former, which has been reported in the press, states 1,766 units, but the latter states a total of 1,804 units in eight serviced apartment towers. The 1,804 figure was also stated in the Bursa announcement.

The mixed development project has been embroiled in controversy after a developer, Damai Kiaramas Sdn Bhd, sued in 2014 Yayasan Wilayah Persekutuan (YWP); Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, who’s also YWP chairman; and Memang Perkasa for the alleged wrongful termination of a joint venture between Damai Kiaramas and YWP to develop the 12-acre land.

Tengku Adnan had claimed that the YWP board picked another developer, Memang Perkasa, because Damai Kiaramas couldn’t “perform” its part in the project. Damai Kiaramas denied the allegation and insisted it had sufficient funds and the necessary expertise.

Damai Kiaramas also alleged that after it finalised with YWP the terms of agreement for the joint venture dated September 2013, Tengku Adnan and the foundation had repeatedly asked for more profits in the project to the tune of tens of millions.

Damai Kiaramas won an injunction at the High Court here in June 2014 to stop Tengku Adnan, YWP and Memang Perkasa from disrupting the joint venture, but it’s unknown what happened after that.

We need to protest against the serviced apartment project near Taman Rimba Kiara. Not only is it unnecessary, it will bring way too many people into the neighbourhood that’s already congested during peak hours. It’s even worse if it encroaches into the park.

The estimated RM3 billion value of the project will hardly benefit TTDI residents.

We have to preserve what’s left of KL’s green lung before it disappears under a mass of concrete.

* This is the personal opinion of the columnist.

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