You’re a public servant, not a third world despot, Hannah Yeoh

You’re a public servant, not a third world despot, Hannah Yeoh

PUCHONG: Yesterday, Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh issued an ultimatum to Federal Territories Minister Khalid Samad in regards to the Taman Rimba Kiara development controversy.

In her ultimatum, Yeoh said Khalid should only touch the longhouse land area to build the low-cost houses for the residents there or scrap off the development plan altogether.

She also claimed that she had received support from seven other Kuala Lumpur MPs in her bid to save Taman Rimba Kiara.

Yeoh also urged MACC to investigate the entire development plan, claiming there was conflict of interest in the deal.

There are few things we need to look at when addressing this issue.

This entire plan was mooted during the reign of Barisan Nasional, where Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor was the Federal Territories Minister.

In 2015, the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) promised to build low cost apartments for the longhouse residents, whom were displaced 37 years ago after the Bukit Kiara rubber estate was taken over for development purposes.

The RM3 billion plan would comprise of eight blocks of 50-storey luxury condominiums and one block of affordable apartments.

An agreement between the longhouse residents and Yayasan Wilayah Persekutuan (YWP) ensured that each of the 98 families will have one unit of housing for free and another at 50% discount.

The project would have taken up 4.9 hectares of land, almost half of the 10.1-hectare Taman Rimba Kiara.

But Taman Tun Dr Ismail Residents Association (TTDI RA) went up against the plan, saying the green lung should not be touched.

After Pakatan Harapan took over the government, Khalid, by virtue of being the new Federal Territories Minister, took into consideration of the protests made by TTDI RA and the plight of the longhouse residents.

He then scaled down the project from 4.9 hectares to 1.6 hectares.

Khalid also explained that the development plan has to go on or the government will risk having to pay RM150 million in compensation to the developer if the project was cancelled.

But the TTDI RA, Yeoh and her supporters dismissed the offer outright, saying the park should not be touched at all.

Yeoh even claimed that even the longhouse residents support her call.

First up, Yeoh. What gives you the right to issue ultimatums to anyone? Perhaps, you need to be reminded that you are a public servant, not an autocrat from a failed third world nation.

Even Khalid, in his capacity as a federal minister, did not issue ultimatums to you or the TTDI RA for making his life difficult.

It is called being courteous and reasonable.

The TTDI RA, Yeoh and her supporters must remember that the mess was created by Tengku Adnan, not Khalid. The latter is trying his best to salvage the situation with his hands tied by promises and agreements signed by the previous administration.

But the damage is done. There is no turning back. So, all stakeholders must make concessions to come up with the best solution possible.

Khalid has mentioned countless times that he cannot cancel the development project altogether as it will cost the government RM150 million in taxpayers’ money to compensate the developer.

But Yeoh and the TTDI RA insist that Khalid should scrap the project. That is fine but who is going to fork out the RM150 million? This is people’s money we are talking about.

Unless of course, Yeoh and the TTDI RA can come up with the RM150 million from their own pockets. That will be good. If that is the case, I’m sure Khalid will be more than happy to cancel the development plan rather than having to suffer all this headache.

And is anyone thinking about the plight of the longhouse residents.

In May, the Bukit Kiara Public Housing Residents Association chairperson V Sunderam pleaded with the Prime Minister’s Department to intervene on the matter, saying the rich and powerful from TTDI RA marginalising them.

The not so rich and powerless longhouse residents are baffled on why the houses promised to them are not being built despite the High Court, on Nov 28 last year, giving the green light to the proposed development project saying there was nothing wrong with it.

The only people giving problem to the whole project are Yeoh and TTDI RA.

And Yeoh, in her ultimatum, want the developer to be build the low-cost houses where the longhouses are situated.

Good plan. But one must wonder. Where are the longhouse residents to stay while the low-cost houses are being built? Did anyone miss out on that point?

We must understand that if Khalid had wanted, he could have bulldozed with the development project using the green light given by the High Court.

But he did not. Instead, Khalid chose dialogue instead of issuing ultimatums like Yeoh.

As for Yeoh calling for MACC to investigate the new deal, how many times does the MACC have to investigate the whole thing again and again?

The anti-graft body has already cleared the latest development project. So, what is the problem?

So Yeoh, stop issuing ultimatums. It is understandable that the TTDI RA and yourself are trying to protect the green lung in Taman Rimba Kiara but like what was mentioned before, the damage has been done.

Some concessions need to be made by both TTDI RA and the longhouses residents, with minimum impact on the green lung there.

So, stop being arrogant. Talk to one another and move on.

And TTDI RA, remember this. You people have nice cosy houses to live in. So do not deprive the longhouse residents a chance to have a place they can call home.

They have waited donkey years for this.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of The Leaders Online