Flawed zoning of Taman Rimba Kiara in KL City Plan 2020, says group

Taman Rimba Kiara has been rezoned into three categories in the Kuala Lumpur City Plan 2020, says a group fighting to save it. (Facebook pic)

PETALING JAYA: A civil society group claims the recently gazetted Kuala Lumpur City Plan 2020 contains flawed zoning of Taman Rimba Kiara (TRK).

Save Taman Rimba Kiara (STRK) said preliminary observations by a group of volunteers found serious deviations from the 2008 version of the plan.

STRK noted that in the 2008 version, other than the Hindu temple and the longhouse area which were zoned as “institutional”, the rest of TRK (more than 20 acres) was zoned as “public open space”.

“In the 2018 version, TRK has apparently been rezoned into three different plots: a mixed development, a housing plot of about seven acres below the mixed development plot which appears to be zoned for high-density housing, and a third plot of about six acres at the lowest section of TRK which is zoned as public open space.

“These are serious deviations from the 2008 version of the KL City Plan and we will be seeking clarification from the Segambut MP (Hannah Yeoh), the Kuala Lumpur mayor (Nor Hisham Ahmad Dahlan) and the federal territories minister (Khalid Abdul Samad),” said a representative from STRK who wished to remain anonymous.

He said the last version of the KL City Plan that was made available to the public for review and comment was the 2008 version.

Under the Federal Territory Planning Act 1982, the city plan can only be gazetted after a public review, comment and objection process has been conducted.

“The last time such an exercise was conducted was in relation to the 2008 version of the city plan. None of the subsequent versions were taken through the proper process,” the representative said, referring to the 2015 and 2018 versions.

“The public can only rely on documents that have been made available to them, and in this case, only the 2008 version was made available.

“It is, therefore, a matter of significant concern that the gazetted city plan appears to adopt versions that were not previously made available for public review and comment.”

He also said the KL City Plan 2020 had different plot ratios from the 2008 version.

“In the 2008 version, TRK, including the temple and the longhouse area, was categorised as zero development intensity, meaning the plot ratio was zero and there was zero person-per acre.

“In the 2018 version, the mixed development plot is apparently allocated a plot ratio of four but this has been made worse by the development order granted in 2017 which increased the plot ratio to 10 for a density of 979 persons per acre.

“The new housing plot below the mixed development appears to have a density of 400 persons per acre. This further encroachment, if allowed, would add to the transgressions that the previous administration was trying to perpetrate against the public park,” said the representative.

He said even the six acres set aside as public open space within TRK under KL City Plan 2020 might not be safe.

“The six acres fall within the newly-created ‘transit planning zone’ which is a zone of 400m radius from a transit centre, in this case, the TTDI MRT station.

“From our reading of the gazetted city plan, it would appear that the KL mayor has the power to allow higher density development within the transit planning zones and that may include overriding or superseding pre-existing zoning or density limitations.

“This means any public open space that falls within a transit planning zone could potentially be taken for development.”

The representative also asked why the KL City Plan 2020 only listed violations found in the 2015 and 2018 versions but not those from 2008.

He claimed that the focus was mainly on plot ratio violations, not on widespread land-use zoning violations from 2008.

“For example, there are attempts to describe the ‘original’ land-use zoning for TRK as ‘mixed use’ – this description is patently defective, as, in the 2008 version of the city plan, TRK was clearly marked as public open space,” he said.

He added that the defective planning permission, which is being challenged in court, to change the status of the upper TRK area to mixed use was only granted in early 2017.

He said the STRK hoped the government would listen to what it has to say.

“Other residents’ associations, communities and civil society organisations have already highlighted their reservations on the contents of the new city plan.

“We will be similarly highlighting the flaws and defects to the Segambut MP, KL mayor and the FT minister, and we trust they will take due cognisance of the issues which arose from this problematic version of the city plan, and work with KL residents.”