KUALA LUMPUR: Residents of Jalan Abdullah in Bangsar have been left puzzled and annoyed after finding that demolition work has begun on three plots of land where a 30-plus storey apartment project is proposed to be built.
The residents say no work can be done there as the new geotechnical report is still pending.
The demolition comes just two weeks after residents and the Save KL Coalition (SKL) met with representatives from the developer and Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL), among others, at Lembah Pantai MP Fahmi Fadzil’s office.
T Ksharmini, a resident, said they were caught off guard when they noticed workers dismantling the tiles from one of the empty houses on the land last Saturday. The workers then started to hack down the house’s walls on Monday.
She told FMT that several residents lodged complaints with DBKL’s building control department on Tuesday. It is believed the workers stopped hacking the walls on Thursday.
Checks by FMT on Thursday morning found that the car park and car wash that used to be on two of the plots of land were now gone. Workers could be seen on-site loading materials onto a truck, while construction safety netting had been set up around the empty houses on the plots of land.
Ksharmini, who has represented the residents in working with SKL, said the outcome of the March 27 meeting was that another geotechnical study and report would be conducted. DBKL was also to carry out a site inspection with the stakeholders soon.
She added that DBKL city planning department head Zulkurnain Hassan had promised to propose to the city council’s top management to consider reverting the area to its original “residential” status, something warmly welcomed by the residents.
In early 2019, the area had been re-designated from “residential” to “major commercial” under the Kuala Lumpur City Plan 2020,
Ksharmini also pointed out that residents have repeatedly requested for a copy of the development order for the proposed project but the developer has yet to furnish this to them.
Jalan Abdullah houses some of the oldest remaining residential properties in Bangsar, comprising mostly bungalows and semi-detached houses. Most of the properties were built between 1929 and 1940.
Residents have long been protesting against the proposed 32-storey apartment project on the land. At the latest meeting on March 27, they were informed that the development was now a 34-storey, 180-unit service apartment.
In February last year, residents and the Save KL Coalition (SKL) held a press conference stating their opposition to the project. They claimed they had not been consulted before it was even proposed.
Fahmi told FMT that residents had raised a number of issues at the last meeting which the developer was supposed to respond to during the next engagement, such as concerns over the project’s geotechnical report.
He said the pre-construction engagement with the residents was not concluded yet, with DBKL promsing to relook at the reports before giving the go-ahead for the project.
“I personally highlighted that I was not satisfied with the traffic impact assessment report and asked DBKL to study the matter more comprehensively.
“Since then, I have not received any updates from DBKL or the developers,” he said.
While expressing some surprise at the fact that demolition works seemed to have begun, he said he was made to understand that permission to proceed with the development and to demolish were two separate orders.
Ksharmini and SKL chairman M Ali said it was not right for the developers to begin demolition works as a dilapidation survey has yet to be conducted, with Ali urging DBKL to ensure action is taken against the firm.
Ksharmini added that even if the developers had obtained permission to begin demolition works, the adjacent houses would have to be notified beforehand.
Ali warned that proceeding with the demolition without the dilapidation survey would affect the neighbourhood, adding that there had been no update from DBKL or the developer since the meeting two weeks ago.
FMT has reached out to KL mayor Mahadi Che Ngah as well as DBKL’s planning and city planning departments for comment. The planning department has said it will respond soon.