THE delay of a RM3 billion housing development in Bukit Kiara, Kuala Lumpur, by Malton Bhd’s 51 per cent-owned unit, Memang Perkasa Sdn Bhd, is affecting the livelihood of Taman Tun Dr Ismail (TTDI) longhouse settlers.
The proposed development —a joint venture between Memang Perkasa and Yayasan Wilayah Persekutuan (YWP)—comprises eight blocks of luxury serviced apartments, between 42- and 54-levels with 1,800 units. It also includes a 29-storey block featuring 350 affordable apartments with 200 units reserved for the relocation of the longhouse families.
TTDI residents are protesting the proposed development as they fear the 10.24ha Taman Rimba Kiara Park — their “last green lung” in the area — would be in jeopardy.
Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) had in mid 2016 approved the housing development on 4.86ha land in Taman Rimba Kiara, which is designated as a public open space under the Kuala Lumpur City
It was reported that YWP had carved out the 4.86ha for the proposed development and procured the issuance of a title to itself in 2014, after which it formed the joint venture with Memang Perkasa.
Bukit Kiara Public Housing Residents Association chairman Sunderam Vadiveloo said the prejudicial objections raised by TTDI’s residents associations and management bodies against the housing development have caused delay in the construction of the 29-storey block and has directly affected the rights of the longhouse settlers.
He said the settlers have waited for 36 years to move into their permanent homes.
In 1982, DBKL temporarily relocated some 98 families from Bukit Kiara Estate to the longhouses after the government acquired the rubber estate that is now known as Bukit Kiara.
The longhouses were built on a 1.78ha site, which now forms part of the proposed housing development by Memang Perkasa.
The settlers were told that the longhouses were merely temporary shelters and that they would be given proper homes.
According to Sunderam, permanent houses should have been built in five years but the families had been kept waiting longer.
In 2015, a Master Resettlement Agreement (MRA) was signed between YWP and the settlers.
Under the agreement, the settlers were offered permanent affordable housing on land next to the Sri Maha Mariamman temple and opposite the existing longhouses.
“The YWP made an offer of two affordable housing units for each family. The original settler would get a unit for free and a next of kin would be able to buy a unit at half the price, or RM175,000.
“All the families agreed to this and signed the agreement. The affordable apartments are supposed to be completed by next year, but it (the project) has yet to take off because of the dispute between the developer and TTDI residents,” he said.
Sunderam said the settlers hope that the affordable houses would be constructed soon so that they could rebuild their lives.
Recently, about 20 residents of the longhouses handed a memorandum to the Prime Minister’s Department asking Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Waytha Moorthy to speed up the construction of the affordable housing project.
The memorandum was received by the minister’s political secretary, Muniandy Ponnusamy.
“Our families including children, 500 people altogether, are still living in cramped and dilapidated conditions. We hope the new government will solve this problem soon,” Sunderam said after handing over the memorandum.
“We know there are people objecting and there have been court proceedings to try and stop the project, but our houses are in a bad state and the residents, who are mostly in their senior years, are in dire need of better homes.”
It was reported that Federal Territories Minister Khalid Samad was in negotiations with the developer to scale down the project and find an amicable solution so the longhouse residents get their apartments as promised.
Segambut Member of Parliment Hannah Yeoh had proposed building flats close to the TTDI market for the longhouse settlers, but Sunderam said they prefer to have a permanent home near the Indian temple as promised in the MRA.