KUALA LUMPUR: Disgruntled Taman Tun Dr Ismail (TTDI) residents gathered at Taman Rimba Kiara yesterday to stage a peaceful protest against a new development project on the park.
TTDI residents association chairman Abdul Hafiz Abu Bakar announced two objectives during their protest, which was to call for Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) to stop receiving plans for development on the park, and to proceed with the gazettement of the park as a public open space.
"This gazettement has been long overdue and until such gazettement is in place, there will always be threats of development (on this park)," he said, adding that they urged the authorities to proceed with the redevelopment of housing for 100 longhouse families which were promised 30 years ago.
"We are appealing to the authorities to retain Taman Rimba Kiara as a public park for the benefit of the residents of TTDI. This is where we have our outdoor activities, wedding receptions and photography. We will tabulate the numbers of signatures of the petition and will send it to them tomorrow," he said.
Nearly 500 supporters ranging from the elderly to children turned up to protest against the proposed redevelopment of the site to eight blocks of serviced apartments, going as high as 54-storeys, and a block of apartments with 350 affordable units.
Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) president Henry Goh has been living in TTDI for 38 years. He said the park is a green lung which should be preserved as it is rich in bird life, and is home to 43 species of birds.
"This park, besides being a recreational area for us, is also a place for the MNS’ Selangor Branch Bird Group to study bird life. This is where you can see the wild Oriental Pied Hornbill in the city," Goh said.
Fariza A. Jalil, 49, has been living in TTDI for 26 years. She was in tears at the thought of losing the park to redevelopment.
"Most of my neighbours had their weddings here. This place is a treasure for us as we had many fond memories here. There are three schools here and the students come here for their science projects," she said.
Benedict Yee, 60, has been living in TTDI for 35 years. He comes to this park regularly for photography and Tai Chi exercises.
"Taman Rimba has been delineated as a public park. A public park cannot be given to any individual or corporation to make money out of it by building luxury condominiums," Yee said.
The park has been gazetted as a forest reserve in the Kuala Lumpur Draft Plan 2015. Apart from damage to the park, the redevelopment will raise the density of 60 persons per acre to as high as 979 persons per acre.