We told you so, residents tell DBKL after building collapse

The group outside the premises of the condominium under construction.

KUALA LUMPUR: A coalition of NGOs has called for transparency from the authorities in its investigations after the collapse of a partially built condominium block in Taman Desa.

The group, Protect Taman Desa, wanted the findings of the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to be made public, stressing that the building should be torn down if its structural integrity was found to have been compromised.

Yesterday, Federal Territories Minister Khalid Abdul Samad was reported as saying that weak foundations or pillars, which did not meet the specifications, could possibly be the cause of the collapse.

The group, comprising around 30 resident associations and joint management bodies in Taman Desa, also said Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) had been warned earlier that the development project was a “disaster in the making”.

“It’s proven now and it’s just the tip of the iceberg,” the group’s committee member Philip Phang said at a press conference here today.

Maxim Holdings, the developer for the 37-storey condominium block, had stated that part of the floor for the swimming pool under construction on the 6th floor had collapsed. A stop-work order has already been issued to the contractor.

In the incident, two Bangladeshi workers were trapped under the rubble at 3.40pm.

The first victim was rescued at 5.15pm and the second at 9.40pm. Both were taken to the Kuala Lumpur Hospital for treatment and one was later discharged.

Philip Phang (second from left), speaking at the press conference, asks how the project was allowed on a piece of land earlier designated as a green lung.

Yesterday, Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin said the Attorney-General’s Chambers will suspend the condominium’s sales licence until investigations into the matter were completed.

Phang said the land on which the condominium is being built had been gazetted as a green lung under the 2020 Kuala Lumpur Master Plan, adding that they had been protesting the development since its announcement in 2017.

“The federal territories minister, and DBKL as the statutory body for Kuala Lumpur, must explain why the land, designated as a green lung, was allowed to be developed.

“Was there a review of the project by the new federal territories minister or DBKL? If not, why?”

He said two judicial reviews filed by residents with the Kuala Lumpur High Court were dismissed in favour of DBKL, while an appeal to the Court of Appeal had also failed.

He also highlighted that, just after the 14th general election, Seputeh MP Teresa Kok had promised a town hall session to be held on the matter once a federal territories minister was appointed.

“It has been almost two years since then and the town hall meeting has yet to materialise.”