Do better at public hearings, MP tells DBKL after Tiara Titiwangsa case

Setiawangsa MP Nik Nazmi Ahmad says DBKL should improve the way it conducts meetings to hear public objections to development projects.

PETALING JAYA: Setiawangsa MP Nik Nazmi Ahmad has voiced his dismay over the decision by Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) to appeal against a court ruling favouring the residents of Taman Tiara Titiwangsa.

Speaking to FMT, he said DBKL should instead learn a lesson from the ruling by improving the way it conducts meetings to hear public objections to development projects.

He was referring to the Court of Appeal’s decision on March 13 to nullify a public objection hearing on a high-density project awarded to Yayasan Wilayah Persekutuan (YWP).

The court accepted the residents’ argument that they were unable to present their case in a meaningful way under Rule 5 of the Federal Territory Planning Act 1982, which allows public participation in areas of planning and development control.

The residents said DBKL failed to give a detailed explanation of the project and did not meet their request for disclosure of technical reports such as those that are related to the project’s impact on traffic flow and social well-being.

Taman Tiara Titiwangsa became part of the Setiawangsa constituency after a re-delineation exercise carried out before the general election last year.

Nik Nazmi, a prominent member of PKR, noted that the land on which YWP plans to construct three high-rise buildings had been gazetted as a public space and earmarked for a community centre under the Draft Kuala Lumpur City Plan 2020.

He repeated his call for the government to stop giving out land for “so-called” charity purposes.

He said YWP would have to find means of generating income that would not “victimise” Kuala Lumpur residents.

According to a spokesman for Taman Tiara Titiwangsa residents, Sylvester Navaratnam, lawyers representing the residents were informed early this month of DBKL’s intention to appeal the March 13 decision.

He said this showed that DBKL was determined to withhold crucial information from the residents.

“And guess what? When the mayor appeals, whose money is he using? Our money, taxpayers’ money. Is this fair?”

Associations representing several Kuala Lumpur neighbourhoods affected by controversial development projects earlier voiced their discontent over the alleged lack of support from Kuala Lumpur MPs.

Save Kuala Lumpur deputy chairman M Ali has said the residents are still waiting for their MPs to keep their promise to meet them regularly.

“Before the 14th general election, they promised us that they would look into these issues,” he said. “Where are these MPs now? Why have they all gone silent?”

Another group, Protect Taman Desa Community (PTDC), has voiced a similar concern over the absence of their MP, Seputeh representative Teresa Kok.

“She is rarely seen in the area,” a spokesman for PTDC said.

Last May, Kok said there was too much overlapping of functions between the federal territories ministry and DBKL.

“The ministry drives DBKL and the previous federal territories minister had influenced the running of DBKL too often when he was supposed to be neutral,” a news report quoted her as saying.