Still stuck, TTDI longhouse residents urge govt to intervene in housing issue

TTDI longhouse residents handing over a second memorandum to the representative of National Unity and Social Wellbeing Minister P Waythamoorthy in Putrajaya.

PUTRAJAYA: Longhouse residents in Taman Tun Dr Ismail (TTDI) have reiterated their plea to the government to defend their rights by putting an end to their long wait for permanent housing in Bukit Kiara.

Pertubuhan Penduduk Perumahan Awam Bukit Kiara chairman Sunderam Vadiveloo said the residents had been waiting for permanent housing for 37 years now.

He said they had been given new hope when the previous administration approved the construction of affordable apartment units on 12 acres of mixed-development land there. However, opposition arose from the TTDI residents’ association (RA) and management bodies.

“Despite the master resettlement agreement (MRA) and the clear court decision dismissing the suit and stay order by the TTDI RA, longhouse settlers are still stuck and face an uphill task getting permanent homes.

“Are we to continue living like this as a marginalised and discriminated community? Can you imagine living in longhouses under a temporary five-year arrangement which has dragged on for 37 years now?” he told reporters after submitting a second memorandum to the representative of National Unity and Social Wellbeing Minister P Waythamoorthy here today.

Federal Territories Minister Khalid Samad recently said the project developers had agreed to scale down the size and number of apartment blocks. He said the project would take up only 3.2 hectares compared to the original 4.9 hectares.

However, the move was opposed by the TTDI RA, which has been a vocal opponent of the project.

Sunderam said the RA’s objection clearly showed that the rich and elite in TTDI did not want the longhouse settlers in their neighbourhood.

“Thirteen acres of the green portion of Taman Rimba Kiara will remain untouched for the public and joggers,” he said.

“But the TTDI RA just wants the project to be scrapped. This sets a very bad precedent for the multiracial society in Malaysia.”

Adding that the longhouse settlers are happy with the scaled-down proposal for housing, he said they are urging the Pakatan Harapan government to enforce the original MRA signed between the settlers and Yayasan Wilayah Persekutuan (YWP).

“We have no objection to this new proposal provided that the first and second generations are entitled to an apartment unit of equal size for free, or at a 50% discounted rate respectively while being allocated a bigger piece of land measuring 0.69 acres for the temple as promised in the original MRA.”

Noting that the land for development had been reduced to eight acres, he said the settlers could continue to reside in the longhouses until the new apartments are finished.

He urged the government to abide by the rule of law, saying both the court decision and the MRA are legally binding instruments.

“While we are very grateful and assured that the construction of our new homes will finally proceed with the court’s decision in upholding the validity of the development order, sadly we haven’t seen see any construction progress up til now.

“We hope there will be sincere and concerted efforts from the government, YWP and the developer to deliver our affordable housing swiftly as promised in the MRA.”