HANNAH Yeoh today said she met Khalid Abdul Samad several times to discuss the controversial Taman Rimba Kiara project, following the Federal Territories minister’s claim that his critics never bothered to do so.
At a town-hall meeting with Taman Tun Dr Ismail residents, the Segambut MP showed photographs of her meeting the minister along with other parties involved in the matter, including Bukit Kiara longhouse residents whose new affordable homes depend on the outcome of the dispute.
She said Khalid never budged from his stance to support a scaled-down version of the luxury condominium project and refused to entertain suggestions to cancel it, save for the new homes for longhouse residents.
Two days ago, the minister said activists opposed to the project should meet him in person instead of issuing statements to the media.
“The fight to preserve Taman Rimba Kiara is also a fight worth fighting for.”
The deputy women, family and community development minister told the town-hall meeting this is her response to comments that it is not good for members of the administration to fight openly.
Khalid has left it to the cabinet to decide whether to accept the scaled-down version of the project, which will reduce encroachment on Taman Rimba Kiara, or the proposal by Yeoh and TTDI residents that either the condominium be scrapped or the project built only within the longhouse’s footprint, without touching the park.
Yeoh and TTDI residents have also proposed that town houses be built on the site instead of an affordable housing complex.
Khalid has said under the renegotiated deal, the developer will return half the land – about 1.6ha – and halve the number of condominium blocks from eight to four.
He called the renegotiated project a “win-win” situation, as 1.6ha of park area will be preserved and the project will proceed.
Longhouse residents will still get their promised homes as the developer will build affordable units for the displaced families for free, he said.
Lawyer and activist Ambiga Sreenevasan, who was present at the town-hall meeting, said she and Centre to Combat Corruption and Cronyism executive director Cynthia Gabriel will meet Khalid on Monday.
She said the fight is not personal, adding that any project with elements of corruption should not be encouraged.
She called for a moratorium on the project, pending the completion of Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission investigations.
“This is not about friendship. It is not personal. Friends will hold you to a higher standard.
“We are holding you, Khalid, to a higher standard.” THE MALAYSIAN INSIGHT
Putrajaya can afford compensation if Taman Rimba Kiara project scrapped, says Yeoh
THE government can refund the developer of luxury condominiums at Taman Rimba Kiara if the project is cancelled, Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh said, refuting Federal Territories Minister Khalid Samad’s earlier claim that the government will have to fork out RM150 million if the project is axed.
Yeoh said the payment would only amount to RM115.41 million and that the money could be refunded as 97% of it had already been paid to government agencies.
“So, we can pay back,” she said at a town hall session on the project in Taman Tun Dr Ismail today.
It was reported that RM115 million was the amount of the land premium and consultancy fees paid to government bodies and Yayasan Wilayah Persekutuan, which, as the landowner, is in a joint venture with the developer.
“It will only take RM25 million for the government to build town houses. The government has spent so much more that they can spend that (much).”
However, she said if the government could not afford to refund the developer, or if the developer is unable to build town houses, another developer should undertake the project.
“If Malton cannot build this, let others build it,” she said, referring to Malton Bhd, which owns project developer Memang Perkasa Sdn Bhd.
In Yeoh and the TTDI residents’ proposal, the town houses will be the new housing for the Bukit Kiara longhouse residence and will be built within the existing longhouse footprint, which does not encroach on Taman Rimba Kiara park.
THE MALAYSIAN INSIGHT