Development in Taman Desa

KL residents want contentious projects halted

Kuala Lumpur residents wonder if there will be light at the end of the tunnel following investigations into the controversial sale of 64 parcels of land in city.

The sale of land by City Hall to Yayasan Wilayah Persekutuan since 2013 had hogged the spotlight in recent weeks, more so after Pakatan Harapan’s May 9 takeover of Putrajaya.

Residents fear the probe by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) would be a wasted effort if City Hall does not issue a temporary stop-work order for construction on the said land.

In Taman Desa, 15 parcels of land are being developed.

Development in Taman Desa
This plot of land is among the 15 being developed in Taman Desa. Image: Arif Kartono

Central to the residents’ concern is a proposed mixed development on the site of the former Taman Desa Waterpark.

The land, previously owned by City Hall, was sold to developer Aset Kayamas Sdn Bhd two years ago. The land surrounds the SMART Storm Water Retention Pond.

Documents sighted by Twentytwo13 show there are plans to build more than 3,000 units of Federal Territories Affordable Housing (Rumawip) and 1,120 residential units on the 17ha land.

Danau Villa residents’ association secretary Bibiana Smith, whose house is behind a lake near the former theme park, said: “Work on the Rumawip project has started. The buffer between our homes and the lake is not big enough.

“There are already cracks on the walls of some homes here as a result of soil movement.”

Smith wonders if the lake will be retained in its original form.

“The pond is the second holding area before water flows into Sungai Kerayong. When it rains heavily, the water level rises. We are concerned as our houses are just behind the lake,” she added.

Residents say other projects that should be halted include:

  • A 340-unit condominium project on land earmarked for a library and playground.
  • A total of 323 units of affordable housing on land meant for a community hall.
  • Several high-rise development projects on four plots of Tenaga Nasional Berhad reserve land earmarked as a green area.
  • Mixed development projects on three parcels of land marked as recreational space.
  • Development of 263 service apartments on land marked for a police station but now occupied by a car wash.

Protect Taman Desa From Over-Development media co-ordinator M. Gunasekar said the authorities have not frozen the development projects.

“We are afraid that regardless the outcome of the investigations, the controversial projects will continue and the lands will eventually be developed,” said Gunasekar.

“The equipment at the playground has already been removed for the 340-unit condominium project while piling work and land clearing are in progress on land earmarked for the community hall and recreation place.”

Development at Taman Desa
Gunasekar takes a closer took at a Rumawip project in Taman Desa. Image: Arif Kartono

He said had the Draft Kuala Lumpur City Plan been gazetted, such land grabs would not have taken place.

“We have seen how land meant for public use is being robbed for development projects.”

“We have raised our concerns with City Hall and informed our MP Teresa Kok but we have been told to wait until the Federal Territories Minister is appointed,” he said.

The group had late last month sent a memorandum to Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad urging the prime minister to intervene.

Resident Philip Phang said Taman Desa, comprising Taman Bukit Desa, Taman Abadi Indah and Taman Danau Desa, has a population of some 37,000.

“Building affordable homes is a noble cause but does this mean the authorities should forsake those who have been living here for years?”

“We are not against development but there must be proper planning. Any form of development should take into account the existing problems, including uneven roads and single bus service to cater to the community,” Phang added.

Bangsar residents have written to City Hall to find out why a 0.2ha land meant for an open space in Jalan Maarof was being cleared for the development of a four-storey commercial building.

Bangsar Baru residents’ association secretary Prem Kumar Nair said the area had been cordoned off and land clearing was being carried out.

“What is going on there? The land was supposed to be an open space as reflected in the Kuala Lumpur City Plan,” said Prem.

Jalan Maarof open space
Bangsar residents say this land which is beind developed at Jalan Maarof is supposed to be an open space. Image: Twentytwo13

Kuala Lumpur mayor Tan Sri Mhd Amin Nordin Abd Aziz said: “If the developers have obtained approval from City Hall, including the development order, they can continue with their work.

He declined to comment on the status of the 64 parcels of land under investigation.

“MACC is investigating the matter but there is nothing preventing the developers from continuing their projects.”