Residents fear DBKL will okay controversial projects

dbkl-constrcutionKUALA LUMPUR: Taman Tiara Titiwangsa residents are concerned their grouses over two high-density projects in their neighbourhood will be ignored, according to a committee member of the residents’ association, Sylvester Navaratnam.

Speaking to FMT, Navaratnam said there was a fear of conflict of interest on the part of Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) because of the presence of certain individuals on the board of trustees of Yayasan Wilayah Persekutuan, which owns the pieces of land for the projects. Among the trustees are Federal Territories Minister Tengku Adnan Mansor, his deputy M Loga Bala and Kuala Lumpur Mayor Mhd Amin Nordin Abd Aziz.

“The head of DBKL — the Kuala Lumpur mayor — along with his bosses, the Federal Territories minister and deputy minister, appear to have vested interests in these development projects,” said Navaratnam.

A news report last month said the residents were unhappy with a hearing they had with DBKL on Feb 27, where they had hoped to get answers to their concerns over the projects.

According to the residents, the hearing became nothing more than a dialogue session because the relevant officials, including DBKL’s planning department deputy director, were absent.

Navaratnam said the meeting was instead chaired by an officer who recorded the residents’ complaints and merely promised they would be handed over to the relevant department.

“The point of an objection hearing is for you to provide some real answers to the concerns we have,” he said. “Instead, we were given this kind of treatment.

“Now, you take a look at those three people sitting on the landowner’s board of trustees. You tell me, was I ever going to get a fair objection hearing in the first place?

“DBKL failed to declare their interests at the hearing. It is impossible to have a fair hearing if the mayor sits as a trustee of Yayasan Wilayah Persekutuan. There appears to be a clear conflict of interest here and the mayor should know better.”

Navaratnam said he suspected the deputy director had dodged the hearing because it was held soon after a the appearance of a news report quoting Tengku Adnan as saying that the draft of the Kuala Lumpur City Plan 2020 would not be approved.

The plan was conceptualised in 2007 and public consultations were conducted a year later.

“This plan was made by all the professionals in DBKL and has been approved by all the relevant stakeholders, including the residents,” said Navaratnam. “It is a comprehensive, well thought out plan for sustainable development, and yet it has not been gazetted.”

Taman Tiara Titiwangsa is located on Map 085 of the plan, which caps the density for the area at 32 residents per acre.

According to Navaratnam, a condominium with 1,500 housing units is included in one of the two proposed projects. This meant, he said, that the population density would go up to 800 residents per acre.

Yesterday, the Kuala Lumpur mayor told reporters the 2007 plan would expire in three years’ time.

“Common sense tells us that gazetting the plan will not make sense at this point, and we are exploring alternatives,” he said. “Our planning department is working on a new blueprint for 2050, which we have started looking at and are working on.”

Navaratnam said he would like to know what would happen before the new plan was ready.

“Are you going to tell me that for the next three years, projects are going to be given the green light willy-nilly regardless of how it affects the residents?”

Navaratnam approached FMT after a report appeared on the portal of Taman Desa residents protesting DBKL’s approval of a plan by Era Ecoland Sdn Bhd for the construction of a high-rise structure, comprising 323 units of affordable housing. The report asserted that the site was meant to be reserved for a community centre.

Navaratnam said the site for the proposed condominium at Taman Tiara Titiwangsa was also meant for a community centre, including a football field.

“According to a DBKL plan in April 2005, the area here was meant to be for the existing community,” he said.

“I’m very sure this same kind of thing is happening all around Kuala Lumpur. With all this land being sold for new development projects, and the density getting higher and higher, are there going to be enough schools, hospitals, kindergartens and playing fields for our children in the future?”

Attempts to contact Tengku Adnan and Amin Nordin were unsuccessful.

In June last year, the New Straits Times reported that disgruntled Taman Tun Dr Ismail residents had gathered at Taman Rimba Kiara to stage a peaceful protest against a proposed redevelopment of a park to accommodate eight blocks of apartments.

The land also belongs to Yayasan Wilayah Persekutuan. According to a recent report in The Star, DBKL has already issued the development order.

According to Yayasan Wilayah Persekutuan’s official website, it is an organisation chaired by Tengku Adnan to provide aid for lower and middle income groups through education as well as economic, social, technological and religious development.

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