Hannah Yeoh goes head-to-head with Khalid over KL development project

Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Hannah Yeoh.

PETALING JAYA: Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Hannah Yeoh had strong words for Federal Territories Minister Khalid Samad today over the the Taman Rimba Kiara development project, which has seen the two at loggerheads for several weeks now.

In a Facebook post, the Segambut MP who in April spoke out against the proposal to scale down the controversial project said she had spoken enough about the matter at the recent town hall.

“The FT minister also said that this matter would be brought to the Cabinet, but almost every week there are new videos or statements attempting to convince the public that their scaled-down version is a ‘good deal’ for the people of Kuala Lumpur.”

This, she said, is “precisely why the conflict of interest issue was raised”.

“Why the need for special officers and special newspapers going the extra mile to defend a venture of Yayasan Wilayah Persekutuan (YWP) whose chairman is also the FT minister? I wonder if other developers in KL receive the same level of effort and resources to justify their developments,” she added.

Concerns over conflict of interest were raised in April by Taman Rimba Kiara residents who said Khalid is both the federal territories minister and chairman of YWP, and that he retains powers under the Federal Territories Planning Act to overrule the KL mayor on planning issues.

The Taman Rimba Kiara development will see the construction of a block of 350 units of affordable housing where residents from the current longhouses will be placed, and eight 50-storey high-end condominium blocks, with a gross development value of at least RM3 billion.

Kuala Lumpur City Hall approved the project in July 2017 despite massive objections from surrounding residents.

Khalid later said that the project developers had agreed to scale down the size and number of apartment blocks, and that the project would take up 3.2 hectares compared to the original 4.9 hectares.

He also said a 350-unit apartment block for the Bukit Kiara longhouse residents would remain as part of the project.

However, the move did not get the support of the Taman Tun Dr Ismail residents’ association (TTDI RA), among the most vocal opponents of the project.

In her Facebook post, Yeoh said critics who failed to “paint her as a lawmaker who ‘defends the elite and marginalises the poor'” had now turned to attacking the TTDI RA.

“Leave the residents alone,” she said.

“They do not have a single ringgit profit to gain by fighting for the preservation of Taman Rimba Kiara unlike YWP which has a RM160 million price tag attached to all these promotional efforts.”