Ambiga calls for moratorium on Taman Rimba Kiara project

Social activist Ambiga Sreenevasan.

KUALA LUMPUR: Former Bar Council president Ambiga Sreenevasan has called for a moratorium on the proposed Taman Rimba Kiara development project.

The social activist cited “transparency issues” which warrants a thorough investigation by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

“I hope the Cabinet will make that decision. We are all interested in transparency.

“There must be a relook at Yayasan Wilayah Persekutuan (YWP) and the fact that the minister is its chairman,” referring to Federal Territories Minister Khalid Abdul Samad.

“It doesn’t take rocket science to work out this conflict of interest,” she told a town hall session with about 450 residents from Taman Tun Dr Ismail and its surrounding neighbourhoods.

Ambiga also questioned the legality of YWP being entrusted with future projects after sighting evidence presented by Center To Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4), which apparently showed a conflict of interest.

In a contract document of the proposed development project, presented at the town hall meeting, it was stated:

“Assistance from Yayasan WP:

A section of those who attended the town hall session on the proposed Taman Rimba Kiara development project.

“As and when requested by the developer, YWP shall provide all necessary assistance to the developer in all applications with a view to expediting all approvals for the development, including but not limited to the following:

“a) liaising with all the relevant authorities to procure, on a best efforts basis, the Planning and Plot Ratio Approvals;

“b) liaising with all the relevant authorities to procure, on a best efforts basis, all approvals for carrying out the development on the land.”

Ambiga said she would raise this matter up with Khalid when she meets him on Monday.

She added that Khalid had requested to meet her and C4 executive director Cynthia Gabriel.

On Thursday, Khalid had expressed his disappointment over “friends” who chose to air their criticisms on the Taman Rimba Kiara development project through the media instead of meeting him.

Commenting on this, Ambiga said this was not about friendship and nothing personal.

“But I can tell you, friends probably will hold you to a higher standard than they hold anyone else.

“So we are holding you, Khalid, to a higher standard,” said Ambiga.

It was reported that Khalid had proposed a revised development project plan which would comprise of four blocks of 41- to 45-storey high-end serviced apartments (878 units) and a 17-storey block of affordable housing units for the Bukit Kiara longhouse residents.

This was revised from the original plan of eight blocks of 42- to 54-storey luxury condominiums (2,277 units) and a 29-storey block of 350 affordable housing units, totalling 2,627 units.

According to Khalid, the size of the proposed development had been decreased to 3.2ha from 4.85ha.