Don’t take the people for granted, TTDI residents tell City Hall

“The authorities should not take the people for granted.”

Taman Tun Dr Ismail (TTDI) residents association chairman Abdul Hafiz Abu Bakar made the remark after a landmark ruling by the Court of Appeal today.

The ruling quashes a development order by Kuala Lumpur City Hall for a high-rise development project in Taman Rimba Kiara.

“The project site was marked as public open space under the Kuala Lumpur City Plan 2020. The authorities spent a lot of money on this plan, yet they issued a development order which went against their own plan,” said Abdul Hafiz.

“Our intention has always been to put things in perspective,” said Abdul Hafiz.

He added taking the authorities to court was a “team effort” and this includes donors who contributed to their legal fees.

The three-member bench led by Datuk Mary Lim unanimously decided that the development order obtained in 2017 and involving a joint venture between Yayasan Wilayah Persekutuan and developer Memang Perkasa Sdn Bhd was null and void.

Lim sat aside the development order dated July 1, 2017 and ordered City Hall to pay RM60,000 in cost. She also ordered Yayasan Wilayah Persekutuan and Memang Perkasa to pay RM40,000 in cost.

The development was to consist of serviced apartments and affordable housing with an estimated gross development value of RM1.8 billion.

The court also said it could not accept the explanation by the Kuala Lumpur mayor that a development order for the project was to resolve the housing issue faced by Bukit Kiara longhouse residents.

Save Taman Rimba Kiara Working Group committee co-ordinator Leon Koay said his group and TTDI residents will continue to stand with the longhouse community to ensure they get permanent housing.

“Our architects previously drew up a proposal for a low-density townhouse project which we hope the authorities will consider,” said Koay.

“The court’s decision has scuttled this monstrosity (project) but we hope the Federal Territories Ministry and City Hall will do the right thing,” he added.

Bukit Kiara Long House residents association secretary M. Sivakumar said it has been an uphill battle but the court decision will ensure the affected residents will finally get houses befitting their 40-year wait.

“We are not squatters. We were relocated here by City Hall in 1982 after the government took over the Bukit Kiara rubber estate. They told us they would build homes for us but there was nothing in black and white,” said Sivakumar.

“We have waited close to 40 years and we don’t mind waiting for a few more years as long as the people here get the justice they deserve. We fully support the proposal for townhouses on our longhouse footprint as we do not wish to live in a high-rise building on land meant to be green space,” he added.

The TTDI residents association has been trying to stop the project, including objecting to it legally, since 2016.

In November 2018, the High Court decided that City Hall’s planning permission and development order for the high-rise residential project was valid and complied with all procedures.

This prompted TTDI residents to appeal against the High Court’s dismissal of their judicial review to challenge the approval for the development.

Here’s a round-up of The News Normal today.

KAKI BANGKU SCORES AT ZEE REEL

Local Tamil short film ‘Kaki Bangku’ emerged as the top winner in the Short Film Competition – Zee Reel, defeating over 100 other submissions from Malaysia and Singapore.

The contest, which ran from Oct 28 to Dec 20, 2020, was organised by Zee Tamil Asia Pacific.

In congratulating the film’s producer, R. Nanthakumaran, the National Film Development Corporation (Finas) also acknowledged the other Malaysian short films that won – Paasam (R. Vengatesh), Trending Pistha (Lavinia Ann), Cubic Room (V. Kumaaran) and Deepawali (Aaron Nagaiah and C. Dinakaran).

“Finas, through its Tamil language and Indian marketing committee, has explored a strategic partnership with international broadcasters including Zee Tamil Asia Pacific. This partnership will open an opportunity to distribute and showcase local Tamil products,” Finas said in a statement.

The short films from Malaysia will be aired on Zee Tamil Asia Pacific’s channel and on Zee Thirai.

‘COME CLEAN WITH PRIVATE SECTOR NEGOTIOTIANS’

A state assemblyman has urged the government to come clean on its negotiation with the private sectors following the RM100 million allocation to private hospitals to treat Covid-19 patients.

Lee Chean Chung, who is PKR treasurer-general, said the government must also update the public regularly.

“I’m worried that if the negotiation process is not made transparent, the shortage of beds and equipment will be ill-addressed and the funds will be milked by selected sectors within a short period of time.

“Health director general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah announced that 1,286 beds in the private hospital have been identified to help treat Covid-19 patients. Assuming the RM100 million is used solely for capacity expansion, then each bed would cost the government a whopping RM77,000.

“No doubt that the price would be exorbitant if the market rate of a private hospital is applied. Even if the patients are allowed to draw from its medical card, eventually they are bearing the insurance premium and subsequently reduced drawing limit,” Lee said in a statement.

He added the government should focus on expanding the capacity of centralised isolation facilities like at the Malaysia Agro Exposition Park Serdang (MAEPS) for patients with mild or no symptoms, which definitely is more effective.

“Allocating RM100 million to the private sector to tackle Covid-19 might sound sexy, but the unintended consequences can be far-reaching,” he added.

PRIORITISE VACCINATION OF HOSPITALITY FRONTLINERS, OYO TELLS PUTRAJAYA

OYO Hotels & Homes says the hospitality industry, which has been badly hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, should be given priority for vaccination, after medical frontliners, the elderly and other high-risk groups.

Its vice-president and head, Malaysia & Singapore, Tan Ming Luk, said with vaccine supply initially limited, the availability to frontliners in essential sectors including hospitality will be critical to keep the economy going.

“As policymakers turn their attention to what we hope is the end stage of this public health emergency and finalise allocation and distribution plans, it is a relief to see the government paying attention to the need to vaccinate workers, as part of the national strategy to contain the pandemic raging within our borders. In this spirit, we urge Putrajaya to recognise the essential nature of workers in the hospitality industry.

“We are open to collaborating with other sectors to ensure that hospitality workers can be effectively vaccinated in a timely manner. OYO remains committed to being an important resource and doing our part for the community in Malaysia. When those in the hospitality industry are protected, it will send a strong message to the world that Malaysia is safe and the country is open for business,” Tan added.

MALAYSIAN RETURNING FROM ABROAD GIVEN RUNAROUND FOR COVID-19 TEST

A Malaysian, who is under Home Surveillance Order, wanted to get a second Covid-19 test done but was given the runaround for nearly six hours by private and government healthcare facilities.

All Jeanne (not her real name) wanted to do was get a Covid-19 test done so she could cut the pink bracelet on her wrist.

Instead, she felt abandoned and alone after being given the runaround.

‘VISIONARY JOZEF VENGLOS MADE US BETTER FOOTBALLERS’

Former national and Kuala Lumpur players Subadron Abdul Aziz and Serbegeth Singh pay tribute to football expert Dr Jozef Venglos who died yesterday, hailing him as a visionary who made them better footballers.