TTDI vs DBKL: KL High Court dismisses TTDI residents’ stay application

Leon Koay

KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 14): The Kuala Lumpur High Court has dismissed the stay application filed by the Taman Tun Dr Ismail (TTDI) residents to stop the proposed mixed development in Taman Rimba Kiara pending a judicial review.

Also, the residents’ group is required to fork out RM40,000 in legal costs incurred for the stay application, ordered High Court judge Datuk Wira Kamaludin Md Said.

“The third and fourth respondents (property developer Memang Perkasa Sdn Bhd and landowner Yayasan Wilayah Persekutuan (YWP) argued that there is cost incurred and that substantial costs are involved. this formed the basis for the dismissal," said lawyer Balan Nair who is representing the TTDI residents. The cost incurred is said to have amounted to RM115 million.

* TTDI vs DBKL: Are authorities “proud” of stay application dismissal, asks TTDI RA chairman

"(Our) next step would most probably be bringing the case to the Court of Appeal," Balan added.

“The substantive hearing is yet to be disposed, so there will be a case management on Jan 16, 2018,” he said.

The KL mayor, Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL), YWP, Memang Perkasa and Sundarem RA are the first, second, third, fourth and fifth respondents, respectively.

Speaking to reporters following the judgement, Save Taman Rimba Kiara Group lead strategist and coordinator Leon Koay noted that the stay application is a public action carried out by the residents purely in public interest.

“We have nothing to gain from this. Our only interest is to protect a public park which has been there for decades and not to have high-end condominiums built on a green lung. We have no objection to the permanent housing for the longhouse residents, they deserve it.

“However, their permanent housing can be delivered in many ways and on the existing 4.4-acre parcel that they’re living on — it doesn’t have to involve the destruction of the park. The bizarre thing is that 90% of the proposed development is on high-end condominiums, only 10% is for affordable housing for the longhouse residents.

“We are objecting to the 90% [of the proposed development]. But the focus that has been raised in report filings by respondents only plays out the 10% affordable housing and they try to portray that we’re depriving them (the longhouse residents) of the affordable housing which is not correct,” he said.

“We don’t need 2,000 condo units and that’s the only thing we are protesting here. And in doing so, we are denied the preservation of the status quo and we are hit with exorbitant amount for lawyer costs.

“The question here is, is this the message that the court administration and the government would like to send out to the greater public about public action — about doing things in the public interest? There has to be a balance somewhere. And for raising this issue at the interlocutory state, we are hit with cost of RM40,000,” he said.

According to Koay, the residents and applicant group will confer and evaluate the court’s decision.

“Clearly, it’s been an uphill battle and we’ve tried our best and we will continue to do so to protect the park because it is an important green lung.

“What has been claimed here by the developer and landowner (YWP) is that their rights as third parties have to be taken into consideration because they have spent so much money but what has not yet been addressed — and should’ve been addressed — is that the landowner is a welfare arm of the Federal Territories (FT) Ministry and the minister is the chairman of YWP. 

“And the approving party here — DBKL and the KL Mayor also sit on the board of YWP. So, all these issues have not been addressed yet. The question of interest and commercial loss to these entities have been raised. But what has not been considered is the entire process of getting this land.

“These parties have the custodian of KL City assets and somehow, they’ve come out with a scheme that a related entity is owning this land and developing it for commercial profit and oppressing residents who are trying to ask them to do the right thing by way of exorbitant lawyer cost. So, that’s an issue that may have been lost in the current proceedings,” he said.

The proposed development involves the building of eight blocks of 42- and 52-storey high-end serviced apartments (1,766 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.

On Aug 23, 2017, the TTDI residents were granted leave by the KL High Court to pursue a judicial review against DBKL and the KL mayor.

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, which Malton Bhd holds a 51% stake in, on Feb 28, 2017 and July 13, 2017, respectively.

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