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The story of a park

  • Can't we even keep a park in a city inundated with greed and lust? The duty of a minister and mayor is to safeguard the interest of the people, not to destroy it.

Sin Chew Daily

Taman Rimba Kiara at the border with PJ is the last remaining piece of green lung in the capital city, and one of the best preserved urban forest parks in the country.

A regular visitor to the park, I go there on an almost weekly basis, walking freely along the trails and creeks in the thick woods and enjoying the varied floral landscapes with different paths I take. Each visit is an enrichment experience for both the body and soul.

Joining me are old folks strolling leisurely, mothers dancing by the lakeside and young kids frolicking at the water slide.

From early morning to sundown, people from near and far gather here irrespective of race and social class. It's a public space for all.

But, there is a hidden concern deep in the hearts of people familiar with the park: for how long more will it last?

Several years ago, when Tengku Adnan was the federal territories minister, DBKL transferred 12 of the park's 25 acres to a quasi-government organization called Yayasan Wilayah Persekutuan, which was chaired by Ku Nan himself with the city's then mayor its trustee.

Soon after that, YWP announced that it would work with a developer to construct a block of 360-unit affordable apartment said to accommodate longhouse residents on the fringe of the park.

At the same time, the developer was also prepared to build eight blocks of luxurious condominiums, each 42 to 54 storeys high, for a total 1,800 residential units at a cost of RM3 billion.

Half of the park will be gone if the project is to go ahead, and the population density of this neighborhood will surge from 74 per acre to 979!

Residents and park users have voiced up against the project through dialogues and legal means, but the federal territories ministry and DBKL were unperturbed and were determined to get the nine highrise blocks up and running.

They argued that to accommodate the 100 households of impoverished longhouse residents, the government would have to allow the developer to build another eight blocks of luxurious condominiums.

The thing is: do we need RM3 billion to accommodate 100 households at a cost of RM30 million per household?

Having consulted professional architects and engineers, the residents association claimed that RM15 million was more than enough to build affordable housing for those 100 families.

Can't we even keep a park in a city inundated with greed and lust?

We have fewer and fewer green lungs but more and more highrise towers in our city to satiate the ever expanding appetites of our politicians and developers.

The duty of a minister and mayor is to safeguard the interest of the people, not to destroy it.

The May 9 general elections have seen a change of federal government, and along with it the federal territories minster and KL mayor.

Yesterday, Ku Nan was charged in the court for three counts of corruption while the MACC is still investigating 97 questionable land deals in the city.

Many are eager to know whether the Taman Rimba Kiara deal is one of them.

People concerned about the fate of the park saw a ray of hope, but nothing has happened after half a year!

Have our new government, new minister and new mayor ever put in some effort and sincerity to save this park?


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