On Saturday, about 200 residents held a townhall meeting at Tadika Diyana to discuss their plan for tomorrow's protest that will begin at 11am before noon, but knowing fully that their action may likely be in vain as they go up against a well-connected developer.
“This is going to be a long and ugly fight,” Abdul Hafiz Abu Bakar, president of the TTDI residents association, told the meeting.
Yesterday Malay Mail Online reported that fringe parts of the Bukit Kiara Rimba Park has been designated as the site of a proposed 29-storey block high rise building with 350 affordable home units and an 8-block cluster with a total of 1,766 service apartment units, some towering up to 54 storeys.
The proposed development on Lot PT 9244 will be tentatively known as Pavilion Taman Tun.
The site is located at the northern end of Jalan Tun Mohd Fuad, adajacent to Plaza VADS and next to the Sri Maha Mariamman Bukit Kiara Hindu temple. The land is bordering the western side of the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club (KLGCC).
The size of the land is estimated to be 12 acres.
Apart from damage to the park, which has been gazetted as a forest reserve, residents are also concerned that the new project could see the neighbourhood’s per-acre density spike more than 13 times from just 74 people per acre to a potential 979 people.
Abdul Hafiz said he expected about 400 people to turn up at tomorrow's protest.
“I can't estimate but today's turnout is promising so maybe about 300 to 400 will turn up,” he said.
TTDI police have also given the greenlight for the residents to hold the protest.
During the meeting, Abdul Hafiz said he was aware that many of the residents were sceptical that the protest might be in vain.
But he said the RA have come up with contingency plans that include legal action against developers.
“But we see how it goes tomorrow first,” he added.
The developer of the project is Memang Perkasa Sdn Bhd, which had become a 51% subsidiary of Malton Berhad. The company was previously thought to be linked privately to Tan Sri Desmond Lim Siew Choon, who is also a major shareholder of Malton.
According to an announcement on Bursa Malaysia on 22 January this year, prominent property development and construction company Malton entered into a conditional subscription agreement with Memang Perkasa to subscribe 51% of Memang Perkasa’s shares, while Tegap Dinamik Sdn Bhd, which is currently the existing sole shareholder of Memang Perkasa, would have the remaining 49%.
The announcement stated that the rationale for the proposed subscription was to enable Malton to participate in Memang Perkasa’s mixed development project that is estimated to generate a gross development value (GDV) of over RM3 billion over the next 7 years.
Tan Sri Desmond Lim is the owner of the Pavilion Group and chairman of Pavilion Real Estate investment Trust (REIT) which owns Pavilion Kuala Lumpur. Besides Malton, he is also a major shareholder of publicly-listed Global Oriental Berhad as well as numerous private companies including Impian Ekspresi Sdn Bhd, the developer of Pavilion Damansara Heights.
Memang Perkasa said it was not in the position to comment as the project is in its “feedback stage” and is awaiting Kuala Lumpur City Hall's (DBKL) hearing on the matter, when contacted by Malay Mail Online.
DBKL had put up the notices on the proposed development around the longhouse site as well as the parking lot of Rimba Kiara Park on 14 June, along with a call for public feedback within 14 days.
Although the development at Bukit Kiara is also meant to provide new houses for residents of a longhouse there, they too felt that the project reeks of overdevelopment and may be “too much” even for them.
Their village head, V. Sundram, had acknowledged plans by residents to stage a protest against the project tomorrow, and said he understood their fears.
But Abdul Hafiz stressed today that TTDI residents are not against the redevelopment of the longhouses, and instead want the government to fulfill their promise to provide the longhouse residents proper housing.
“The current infrastructure does not allow for such a density... the Rimba Park should stay as a public park. Period,” he said.
The longhouses are home to some 100 families and an estimated 700 people, many of them former estate workers who were relocated to the area in the early 1980s.
A previous report by The Star said 100 units in the proposed housing project will be allocated to the former estate workers for RM25,000 while 83 units will be sold to other families for RM150,000 each.
The units each measure 850 sq ft. The report also said that the remaining units will be sold at market price to the public.
Meanwhile, Friends of Bukit Kiara (FoBK) president Tan Sri Dr Salleh Mohd Nor said allowing even a small encroachment into the park would open up the park to future projects.
“If they say the development for the multi storey is at the location of the present quarters are, that’s not a problem, but when it eats into the park, they will take a little bit, a little bit, until there is no more,” he said.
“The Cabinet had approved to make it a public park, so why is the mayor and the Federal Territories Ministry dragging their feet in gazetting it as a public park?”
Kuala Lumpur mayor Datuk Seri Amin Nordin Abdul Aziz, however, denied this and insisted that the park would remain untouched.
“The development does not affect the park. It does not touch Bukit Kiara as it is gazetted, and does not affect Taman Rimba itself. Anything that is gazetted will not be touched,” he told Malay Mail Online when contacted.
Amin Nordin also added that the size of the development is meant to address the city’s growing population, which is expected to reach three million people by 2020.
“The population of Kuala Lumpur is not going to be 1.7 million people forever. We have to allow new developments because of the population growth,” he said.
“That is why we are building MRTs, and such, people eventually have to shift to using public transportation compared to private.”
“The longhouse residents have been there longer than the other residents and they do not want to move away, they want to stay there. That is why they are getting affordable housing,” he added.
The background story
It was reported in PTLM last year [Article: Pavilion Group to develop highrise township] that Memang Perkasa submitted a Development Order dated 29 June 2015, which included a proposal to convert the land use from institution to commercial for the service apartment blocks and residential for the affordable home parcel.
The density that was proposed was 1,133 people per acre.
The open spaces of Bukit Kiara, TTDI and the forested hills of Kampong Sungai Penchala, was originally meant to be preserved together with the West Valley Park, according to the Kuala Lumpur Structure Plan 2020.
In June 2014, a company known as Damai Kiaramas Sdn Bhd made known of its intention to sue the Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor for allegedly breaching a joint venture agreement.
Damai Kiaramas was set up in early 2009 upon entering into negotiations with the landowner, a social economic foundation known as Yayasan Wilayah Persekutuan (YWP), or Federal Territories Foundation.
A joint venture agreement was made in September 2013 with an intention to provide a long-term solution for the former estate workers living on the said land after their estate was closed down more than three decades ago.
The former estate workers had worked on an estate that was developed into the KLGCC and were resettled into longhouses on the land as a temporary measure.
Damai Kiaramas then drew up plans for a mixed development on the land, including a planned low-cost apartment to house the former estate workers.
Subsequently, YWP decided to pick another developer, which is Memang Perkasa. The reason given by YWP was that Damai Kiaramas was unable to perform the redevelopment plans due to financial capacity.
This led to Damai Kiaramas filling a court injunction to restrain YWP, the Federal Territories Minister, acting as chairman of the foundation, and Memang Perkasa for allegedly wrongly terminating its joint venture agreement.
Damai Kiaramas contended that YWP had no right to terminate the agreement unilaterally and without valid reason. It claimed that its joint venture with YWP remained valid and that YWP's partnership with Memang Perkasa was invalid.
The company also claimed that Memang Perkasa had induced YWP with alternative proposals and greater profits despite Damai Kiaramas having done all the initial work for the project.
It is unclear what has happened after the court injunction won by Damai Kiaramas. Nevertheless, Memang Perkasa received its initial Development Order approval on 13 August 2015 with several development conditions including the need to fulfill "Rule 5" which is to obtain public feedback over its plans.
Subsequently, Memang Perkasa amended its plans several times with the latest amended Development Order submission being dated 20 May 2016. The density that was proposed was 979 people per acre, a slight reduction from the initial proposed density.
'Megaproject' in the making in TTDI
Memang Perkasa will be sub-dividing the said land into 6 smaller parcels with one parcel set aside for 350 units of affordable apartments.
The following are the latest composition details of the company's proposed plans.
Plot A: Affordable Housing
- Block A: 38-storey (350 units)
Plot B: Service Apartments (Phase 1)
- Tower 1: 45-storey (290 units)
- Tower 2: 52-storey (288 units)
Plot C: Service Apartments (Phase 2)
- Tower 3: 59/60-storeys (224 units)
- Tower 4: 51/60-storeys (100 units)
Plot D: Service Apartments (Phase 3)
- Tower 7: 52-storey (288 units)
- Tower 8: 45-storey (290 units)
Plot E: Service Apartments (Phase 4)
- Tower 5: 51/60-storeys (100 units)
- Tower 6: 59/60-storeys (224 units)
Plot F: Future Development (Phase 5)
- Future commercial component
Total: 1,804 units of service apartments + 350 units of affordable homes = 2,154 units
Density unit per acre: 2,154 units / 12 acres land = 179.5 units per acre