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Longhouse residents: We can't wait anymore

KUALA LUMPUR (March 28): Bukit Kiara longhouse residents want the government to be decisive and ensure swift delivery of their affordable homes as promised. In a press statement today, chairman of Pertubuhan Penduduk Perumahan Awam Bukit Kiara Kuala Lumpur Sunderam lamented that the uncompromising positions held by certain parties regarding the proposed development in Taman Rimba Kiara near Taman Tun Dr Ismail (TTDI) are delaying the construction of their permanent homes.

“We have waited for 36 years and the elderly among us may have no chance to see or stay in these new homes due to the prolonged delay,” said Sunderam.

In June 1982, 98 families living in the Bukit Kiara Estate were forced to be relocated to longhouses in TTDI. The 98 families, also known as the first generation of Bukit Kiara Estate settlers signed the master resettlement agreement (MRA) with Yayasan Wilayah Perseketuan in 2015.

Under the MRA, the first generation would receive 100 units of affordable housing for free while the second generation can purchase a similar unit at a discounted rate of RM175,000 each. The agreement also clearly states that the longhouse settlers do not need to relocate and will remain staying at the existing houses pending the construction of the 30-storey affordable apartments by the property developer.

“The families are stuck and are not able to get their permanent homes after more than 36 years of waiting. The prejudicial objections raised by the Residents Association of Taman Tun Dr Ismail (TTDI) and Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh to scrap the entire development have caused delay in the development of the affordable housing, thus jeorpadising the TTDI longhouse settlers’ rights and interests.

“It saddens us that all the parties have completely ignored us and our existence. We appear to be less significant than the 3.2ha trees and joggers in Bukit Kiara. We are just asking for a roof over our heads.

“Is saving the 3.2ha land for joggers more important than providing proper homes for the poor elderly families with children and grandchildren living in cramped and dilapidated conditions? The larger 6.9ha of Taman Rimba Kiara will remain untouched for the joggers. Are we to continue living like this?”

Sunderam said the residents had submitted a memorandum to the Prime Minister’s Department through Minister of National Unity and Social Wellbeing P Waytha Moorthy last year and to Yeoh to highlight their plight.

“The FT Minister had assured us of getting our new homes soon after finding the best possible solution taking into consideration the wishes of all parties, namely TTDI residents, the longhouse community, the developer and KL City Hall. But today, we are still deeply unsettled with various media statements despite the legally binding MRA protecting our rights.

"Furthermore, the court has upheld the validity of the development order and the developer has agreed to scale down the development but the TTDI residents want a complete victory and do not want to compromise. While they may have self interests in protecting their elite community, don’t forget that we are also part of TTDI community and we were here first," he said.

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