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Leave granted by KL High Court to TTDI residents to pursue judicial review against DBKL and KL mayor

KUALA LUMPUR (Aug 29): Residents of Taman Tun Dr Ismail (TTDI) has obtained leave from Kuala Lumpur High Court to pursue a judicial review against Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur (DBKL) and the KL mayor. 

“The leave was granted [by KL High Court] on Aug 23 and the judicial review papers have been served on DBKL and KL mayor as respondents on Aug 28. The KL High Court has fixed Sept 6, 2017 for case management where the respondents are expected to be present on that day.

“For many years, DBKL has treated Taman Rimba Kiara with care. We recall DBKL works in the past to improve parking space, walking paths and drainage in the park. DBKL even conducted geo-tagging of trees. But the conduct changed beginning 2016,” said Save Taman Rimba Kiara Group lead strategist and coordinator Leon Koay in a press conference today. 

He elaborated that the judicial review requests an order from the court to quash the condition planning permission and development order (DO) granted by DBKL to property developer Memang Perkasa Sdn Bhd on Feb 28, 2017 and July 13, 2017, respectively.

“Other than that, we also request an order from the court requiring the KL mayor to adopt and gazette the KL Draft City Plan 2020 and another order staying the planning permission, DO and all related processes and actions, pending disposal of substantive matters raised in the application. 

“All of us in the TTDI community and users of Bukit Kiara and Taman Rimba Kiara look towards having this matter adjudicated speedily. We wish this issue did not have to enter into such adversarial situation. However, the actions of the authorities in relation to this matter have left us and the park lovers no choice but to seek redress in the courts of law,” he said. Malton Bhd holds a 51% stake in Memang Perkasa.

The proposed development involves the building of eight blocks of 42- and 52-storey high-end serviced apartments (about 1,800 units), and a 29-storey affordable housing block (350 units), thus increasing the population density in the area from 74 persons per acre to 979. It also involves the construction of a six- to eight-lane highway. A total of 2,116 units of homes will be built. 

There are more than 50 existing condominiums in TTDI but there is only one Taman Rimba Kiara, said Koay, noting the park is a public treasure. 

“The park is a mature, well-planned lush green sanctuary, and is home to a rich spectrum of flora and fauna. Wild hornbills are regularly sighted in the park’s tree canopy. 

“Taman Rimba Kiara is also an important community space. Besides its lush green canopy and wildlife, the park is one of the rare public green spaces in KL which is flat and large enough to host large-scale activities,” he said. 

Based on the chronology of events, Koay cited that the TTDI community was kept in the dark as to the actual status of the proposed development despite DBKL’s public statements that the residents will be informed of any decisions made. 

“The development is claimed to be on private land and not on Taman Rimba Kiara — it’s an inaccurate statement. In 2014, 47.5% of the 25-acre park was alienated to Yayasan Wilayah Persekutuan (YWP) as PT9244. 

“It is also claimed that the proposed development is required in order to pay for the cost of permanent housing for the 100 families of the longhouse residents. But our Save Taman Rimba Kiara Working Group, together with technical volunteers comprising architects, engineers and planners, generated an alternative housing design. 

“The design is able to cater to the 100 families within the existing 4.4-acre plot that is being occupied by the longhouse residents. The construction cost of the design was a moderate RM15 million compared with a RM3 billion development. 

YWP is currently chaired by Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Utama Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor while the board members include KL mayor Datuk Seri Mohd Amin Nordin Abd Aziz. 

Koay further added that Taman Rimba Kiara (previously known as Taman Kiara) was acquired by the government in the 1970s which was meant to house arboretums, parks and even longhouses. 

“Since then, you already have the park in existence. No title was allocated for Taman Rimba Kiara, so it means this wasn’t always a private land, up until 2010. PT9244 has been carved out as private land in 2014. 

“Under the KL Structure Plan 2020, the park is designated as city park. In the face of this designation, if anyone wishes to change the land status, it requires to have a public process; however, there is none. 

“We see no public process and the alienation was done without any public knowledge. So, we question these moves. We believe that it is incorrect in law to have this development approved and how the land zoning was done. Yes, DBKL said they’re planting a lot of trees but how about stop cutting trees? This park is created by Malaysians and it is a public treasure,” he said. 

TTDI RA chairman Abdul Hafiz Abu Bakar said if the high-density project is carried out, the sanctity of TTDI “will change forever”.

“We are all doing this [saving Taman Rimba Kiara] on our own capacity — we want to preserve the park by stopping this development,” he said. 

Another TTDI resident who was also present at the press conference and was none other than Tawfik Tun Dr Ismail, the eldest son of the late Tun Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman — Malaysia’s second deputy prime minister, which TTDI was named after. 

“Unfortunately, the government that created TTDI is not the same as the current government. They don’t take into account the residents of TTDI. I don’t understand people who have the power to change things for the better do not want to engage with the residents. 

“If the development goes through, TTDI as a model township will be gone. Why do we need to degrade history? Encroachments on public land should really be blocked out. Kuala Lumpur Gold and Country Club’s (now known as TPC KL) initial intention was not to have a golf course. 

“It was meant for DBKL to make it as a park but somewhere along the lines it turned into a golf course. DBKL seems to be suggesting to us to forget the past and just wants to make money,” he remarked. 

Timeline of events (dated Aug 27, 2017):

Dates/Periods

DBKL

FT ministry

Community

Early mid-June 2016

DBKL puts up notice of proposed development within Taman Rimba Kiara (Mega Project)

 

 

26 June 2016

 

 

Community organises first protest inside Taman Rimba Kiara against Mega Project.

29 June 2016

 

 

Community submits petitions with 5,600 signatures to DBKL, documenting objections to Mega Project.

18 Aug 2016

DBKL issues Rule 5 notice to TTDI RA, Kiara Green and Trellises, stating hearing date of 29 Aug 2016.

 

 

21 Aug 2016

 

 

Community organises Save TRK Merdeka event inside Taman Rimba Kiara to continue highlighting objections to Mega Project.

29 Aug 2016

DBKL holds ‘briefing session’ for community representatives.

DBKL informs representatives that their objections are noted and that DBKL will revert to them.

 

In the ‘briefing session’, community representatives discover for the first time, plans for six-lane highway and extensive roadworks (Roadworks) within TTDI in conjunction with the Mega Project. Community representatives reiterate their objections to the entire Mega Project, plus express objections to the Roadworks.

Sept 2016 – Jan 2017

 

 

No communication received from DBKL.

15 Feb 2017

DBKL receives application from developer for planning permission in relation to the Mega Project. This includes proposed changes in land use zoning from ‘Open Space’ to ‘Mixed Development’.

 

No communication received from DBKL.

17 Feb 2017

 

FT Minister is quoted in Star Metro as saying that development order has been issued for Mega Project.

No communication received from DBKL.

28 Feb 2017

DBKL grants conditional planning permission to developer. Approval was granted within 13 days. Client charter stipulates typical 108 days for this type of approval.

 

No communication received from DBKL.

31 Mar 2017

 

 

TTDI RA, Kiara Green management and Trellises management each writes to DBKL reiterating their objections to the Mega Project and requesting updates from DBKL.

3 and 4 Apr 2017

DBKL writes to Kiara Green and Trellises advising that the Mega Project is still being evaluated and that the parties will be notified when a formal decision has been made. No mention is made of the conditional planning permission that was already granted on 28 Feb 2017.

 

TTDI RA does not receive any reply from DBKL. Only Kiara Green and Trellises receive responses as described.

 

The community is not notified that condition planning permission was granted on 28 Feb 2017.

7 May 2017

 

 

The community conducts a town hall to highlight the Mega Project, and to continue expressing its objections to the entire Mega Project.

8 May 2017

 

FT Minister is quoted on Astro Awani and other media as saying that the Mega Project will continue.

No communication received from DBKL.

10 May 2017

Datuk Bandar KL is quoted in the New Straits Times as saying that the Mega Project has yet to be approved and is still under the Rule 5 process. He states that the DBKL director of planning will convene a meeting to hear objections to the Mega Project.

 

No communication received from DBKL.

21 May 2017

 

 

The community organises an Earth Day event within Taman Rimba Kiara, to highlight the park and continue expressing objections to the Mega Project.

1 June 2017

No response from DBKL.

 

Solicitors for community request DBKL to advise status of Mega Project.

11 July 2017

No response from DBKL.

 

Solicitors for community request DBKL to advise status of Mega Project.

13 July 2017

DBKL approves development order for Mega Project.

 

No communication received from DBKL.

20 July 2017

No response from DBKL.

 

Solicitors for community request DBKL to advise status of Mega Project.

20 July 2017

DBKL receives application from developer to set up temporary sales office within Taman Rimba Kiara.

 

No communication received from DBKL.

24 July 2017

DBKL receives application from developer for approval of Site Work Plan.

 

No communication received from DBKL.

28 July 2017

 

 

Residents notice survey work being conducted within Taman Rimba Kiara.

8 Aug 2017

DBKL approves developer’s Site Work Plan within 16 days. Typical processing period according to client charter is 57 days.

 

No communication received from DBKL.

10 Aug 2017

 

FT Ministry issues written reply to Parliamentary query from YB Lim Lip Eng. FT Ministry states that development order was issued on 13 July 2017, and that TTDI RA, Kiara Green and Trellises were notified on 3 Aug 2017.

Contrary to FT Ministry’s Parliamentary reply, no notification received from DBKL by TTDI RA, Kiara Green and Trellises pertaining development order. As of Friday, 25 Aug 2017, still no notification received.

11 Aug 2017

 

 

Solicitors for applicant/

plaintiff group file application for judicial review with the KL High Court.

23 Aug 2017

 

 

KL High Court grants leave to applicant/plaintiff group to proceed with judicial review against DBKL and Datuk Bandar.

6 Sep 2017

DBKL expected to be present on this date.

 

Judicial review suit due for case management on this date.

Source: Save Taman Rimba Kiara Group

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