KUALA LUMPUR: Documents signed by former federal territories minister Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor and a developer, to develop high-rise condominium blocks in Taman Rimba Kiara, are legal and binding, FT Minister Khalid Samad said.
Khalid said the 12-acre park had been rezoned from open space to mixed development in 2013, and had been alienated to the Federal Territories Foundation (YWP), a welfare arm of the ministry.
He said the ministry then had to pay a land premium of RM60 million.
“There is an agreement. When Leon (Save Taman Rimba Kiara coordinator Leon Koay) and the people ask why do we still go on with Ku Nan’s plan, it is simple. It is because we have agreements which are formal, official and binding.
“It is binding and legal. This developer Malton Bhd has said that they will give up this project, but we will have to pay them RM155 million,” he told some 500 residents of Taman Tun Dr Ismail (TTDI) during a town hall session last night.
Also present were Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh and KL mayor Nor Hisham Ahmad Dahlan.
Back in 2014, YWP, under the purview of the former Barisan Nasional government, entered a joint venture with Memang Perkasa Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Malton Bhd, to build a mega project on 12 acres out of the 25-acre Taman Rimba Kiara land.
This mega project entailed the construction of a block of 350 units of affordable housing for the Bukit Kiara longhouse community, and eight blocks of 50-storey high-end condominiums (1,800 units) for a total gross development value of at least RM3 billion.
The Kuala Lumpur City Hall issued a development order for the mega project on July 13, 2017, despite massive objections from the TTDI community.
TTDI residents have been campaigning to save Taman Rimba Kiara from development and are up in arms over the recently gazetted Kuala Lumpur City Plan 2020, which shows that the park has been rezoned with the possibility for future development.
Khalid also told the residents that the area, which was previously an open space, has since been rezoned and was now mixed development.
“Technically, it was not wrong, because the plan was not gazetted (in 2012). Since it was not gazetted (then), he (Ku Nan) could do as he liked.
“The KL City Plan 2020 had never been gazetted. I am the first minister to have gazetted it, although there have been mixed reactions to that,” he said.
Khalid pleaded for the residents to be understanding over the issue, and that the government was trying to find a solution.
“Bear in mind there is an agreement which the former FT minister had signed under no duress. The agreement is legal.
“We are trying to find solutions. We are negotiating with the developer. I have to admit, I am not negotiating from a point of strength because there is an agreement,” he said.
Khalid said going to court would be pointless as the documents have been signed.
“The development order (DO) has been signed. The land is already in YWP’s possession. If we go to court, they will sue for what they have spent, and for loss of profits,” he said, adding that RM155 million was just the minimum.
The Shah Alam MP said he wanted the longhouse settlers to get their houses, but stated that it was unfair to place the burden of a 36-year-old promise for the settlers to get their houses on him.
“Where is the offer on the table? If I cancel the project without an offer, then what do I do? The longhouse residents will come running after me,” he said.
Koay had earlier said in his presentation that they were not developers, but residents who were willing to help.
“If you really focus on the residents only, that is all that needs to be done.
“If we are looking to implement a townhouse project for them, of course everyone is going to help. But we need the government to say this is the way. It has to be done,” he said.
Koay also proposed for a joint working committee to be formed to resolve the issue.
Yeoh concurred with Koay to set up of a committee, to be chaired by Khalid, and to include the three resident associations in the longhouse. Yeoh and the mayor will also be in the committee.
“We cannot decide on the issue here. This is just a platform for the minister to hear from all parties.
“We will move forward with this committee, a smaller group of people, together with the longhouse residents,” she said.
Yeoh further urged the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to look into the increase of the plot ratio from four to 10, which she said was unusual.
She also stated that the foundation, which had been set up many many years ago to help provide housing, cannot be let off the hook.
“I do not think they can just wash their hands off and now say ‘residents you go and build it’. No. That (providing housing) is the heart of what the YWP is,” she added.