‘Keep Bukit Kiara green’

Bukit Kiara park

We, the Friends of Bukit Kiara (FoBK), refer to two articles published on Aug 24 and Aug 26 in the news portal Twentytwo13.

We state as follows:

1)  In 1976 the government completed the compulsory acquisition of Bukit Kiara Estate ‘for public purposes’. RM49.14 mil of taxpayers’ money was paid out to the primary and minority landowners (equating to 74 sen psf).

2)  The plan which the government then conceptualised and pursued through the 1980s for a National Botanical Gardens was well intentioned and world class. After expending much time and resources (including hiring a world-renowned master planning consultant), it is a shame that this was not followed through to fruition.

3)  It is an even greater shame that this plan was mostly (75 per cent, acreage-wise) subverted by a ‘business agenda’ starting in 1991 when a second (private) golf club opened on 200+ acres originally slated for a park-like National (“Heroes”) Mausoleum – a key component of the Taman Kiara Master Plan. High-end residential (and later commercial/mixed) developments on this same acreage added to the original sin of allowing a private/exclusive golf course, both clearly violating the ‘public purpose’ of the 1976 government acquisition.

4)  The intents of acquisition as stated in the 1975 Federal Gazette did have a secondary component of “rancangan perumahan” and would logically have allowed for “privatisation deal/s” to develop housing for the masses. It is obviously impossible to relate such concept to the “resort style living within an exclusive golf course” as seen today. The authorities owe us an explanation for this perversion of the Land Acquisition Act. FoBK calls upon the government not to approve any further development applications associated with TPC (formerly known as Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club) and the ALYA (development) projects, and to order a freeze on any new building on these or any of the subject lands of the 1976 government acquisition, pending a comprehensive review.

5)  The remnant 466.86 acres of forested area promised by Cabinet in June 2007 to be gazetted as Taman Awam Berskala Besar (TABB) was as of that moment already compromised by prior “deals” made with two private entities. A February 2016 government press statement regarding the long-overdue gazettement was the first official acknowledgement of reduced TABB acreage (380 acres) without giving any further explanation. It also indicated that the gazettement would be done by 2017, which obviously has not happened.

6)   The authorities owe the public an explanation of how they had intended (in 2007) to untangle themselves from their deals with the private entities in order to make a “complete” TABB of 466.86 acres.

FoBK calls upon the government of today to pick up the pieces of the previous administration and to do its level best to ensure that all remnant forested areas of Bukit Kiara are gazetted as Public Park for perpetuity.

7)  As of this moment, a 300-room resort hotel cum conference centre is being developed on the Kelab Golf Perkhidmatan Awam (KGPA) golf course, i.e. the only (public) golf course originally intended by the Taman Kiara Master Plan.

KGPA, as a civil service officers’ association entrusted with managing this public course, has no business to be involved in operating a golf resort for its own profit. If they are given such mandate, then profits should rightly be channelled towards upkeep of the remnant public park areas on Bukit Kiara and not towards enriching their association.

Dr Kribanandan Gurusamy Naidu

President, Friends of Bukit Kiara