Published 27 Jan 2021, 3:40 pm
The Court of Appeal has unanimously quashed the development order (DO) previously issued to Yayasan Wilayah Persekutuan and developer Memang Perkasa Sdn Bhd to jointly develop a portion of the Taman Rimba Kiara public park.
The decision was delivered today via online video conferencing by judges Mary Lim, Has Zanah Mehat and S Nantha Balan.
In an immediate statement, the TTDI Residents’ Association and the Save Taman Rimba Kiara Working Group hailed the judgement as a “major victory”.
“This decision is a major victory for our community and neighbouring communities who have been relentless and unwavering in their fight and commitment to preserving Taman Rimba Kiara.
“Many of you may recall our first protest in 2016 and the many subsequent protests held throughout the years since.
“This long and difficult struggle has been possible because of our collective unity, perseverance and commitment to protect our green space against the might of commercial interests, coupled with the staunch support of our Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh,” they said.
In light of the decision, the two groups urged Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) and the Federal Territory Ministry to construct “affordable, low density and permanent” housing for families living in the park’s longhouses.
“We reiterate our desire for new housing for the longhouse families and we will continue in our efforts to get a proper and fair resolution to permanent housing for them.
“They are our neighbours and partners in the TTDI community and we will stand with them,” they added.
Conflict of interest
DBKL had issued the DO on July 13, 2017. The project was first proposed by former federal territories minister Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor in 2016.
According to Malay Mail, judge Lim rejected the Kuala Lumpur mayor’s argument that the development was approved to resolve longstanding housing issues faced by the Bukit Kiara longhouse residents.
The proposed project comprised four 40-storey luxury service apartments (1,082 units) and one 17-storey affordable housing block (204 units).
The court agreed with the appellant that the DO contradicted Taman Rimba Kiara’s role as a public park, as indicated in the city’s development plan.
It further found conflict of interest in the project seeing how the mayor was also one of Yayasan Wilayah’s trustees.
“No matter how the Datuk Bandar (mayor) attempts to separate or distance itself from the joint venture agreement (JVA) and also from the impugned decision and now claiming in the affidavits filed that the development was to relocate the Bukit Kiara Longhouses, it is undeniable that the terms of the JVA, looked at as a whole, all point inexorably to the existence of a conflict of interest,” Lim was quoted as saying.
Court rules Taman Rimba Kiara development order null and void
Residents’ groups have been fighting to preserve park since 2016
Updated 4 hours ago · Published on 27 Jan 2021 2:45PM
KUALA LUMPUR – The Court of Appeal today unanimously ruled that the 2017 development order obtained by Yayasan Wilayah Persekutuan and developer Memang Perkasa Sdn Bhd’s joint venture for their Taman Rimba Kiara project is null and void.
In a statement today, the Taman Tun Dr Ismail Residents’ Association and Save Taman Rimba Kiara Working Group said this decision is a major victory for the community and neighbouring communities who have been relentless in their fight and commitment to preserve Taman Rimba Kiara.
The group has been protesting the development project since 2016.
“This long and difficult struggle has been possible because of our collective unity, perseverance and commitment to protect our green space against the might of commercial interests, coupled with the staunch support of our Segambut MP, Hannah Yeoh.
“Concurrent with today’s decision, we reiterate our desire for new housing for the longhouse families and we will continue in our efforts to get a proper and fair resolution to permanent housing for the families. They are our neighbours and partners in the TTDI community and we will stand with them.”
Following the judgment, the groups called on Kuala Lumpur City Hall and the Federal Territories Ministry “to finally do the right thing” and leave Taman Rimba Kiara untouched.
“Let us work together to deliver affordable, low-density, permanent housing for the longhouse residents within the existing four acres (1.6ha) of the longhouses and leave Taman Rimba Kiara to be the wonderful public park that it already is.”
Meanwhile, Yeoh in a statement congratulated the legal team – comprising Christopher Leong, Aliff Benjamin Suhaimi, Abraham Au and Phoebe Loi – led by Prof Gurdial Singh Nijar.
“I felt that the new Harapan administration could do better than just scaling down the development approved by (the previous) BN (government). I went to see many politicians to argue my case. Some agreed with me. Some felt I was being unreasonable.
“There were plenty of exchanges between me and the (then) FT minister in the news. Supporters of Harapan and BN watching on the sidelines said such open infighting was terrible.”
When Pakatan Harapan won the 2018 general election, Shah Alam MP Khalid Abdul Samad was appointed Federal Territories minister. He was replaced by Tan Sri Annuar Musa after the Sheraton Move last February led to Perikatan Nasional taking over the federal government.
“Fighting with your political opponent is difficult. Fighting with your own administration and colleague can be painful.
“But with every difficult step I had to take in the last few years (including the threat of being sued for RM10 million by landowner Yayasan Wilayah Persekutuan) and each time I questioned if I had done the right thing, my residents and my voters were right there to cheer me on.
“Today justice prevailed. When the local authority, FT ministers (old and new) and MACC failed us, the Court of Appeal restored my faith.”