Taman Rimba Kiara supporters gathered at the park in Taman Tun Dr Ismail (TTDI), Kuala Lumpur, for a peaceful protest to oppose a move to convert part of the park into a high-rise development.
The protest attracted people from other areas such as Subang Jaya, Bangsar and Bandar Utama.
TTDI Residents Association (TTDIRA) chairman Abdul Hafiz Abu Bakar said the government must be sensitive to the wishes of the public on the proposed housing development on a section of the 4.85ha park.
“They cannot just take a public park and turn it into a housing development.
“We are not against development but development must be done responsibly,” he said.
Abdul Hafiz urged DBKL to reconsider the project.
“We want DBKL to cancel the development order for the proposed project and to gazette the Taman Rimba Kiara as the public park.
“We also want the government to construct affordable housing for longhouse residents.
The proposed housing development included eight blocks of between 42- and 54-storey high-end serviced apartments, while another 29-storey block comprising 350 units of affordable housing would be allocated to TTDI longhouse residents.
The matter first came to light when notices were erected at the park last year and since then, residents have protested the project.
The project now includes construction of a six-lane highway and a flyover.
TTDI residents then filed a judicial review application with the High Court to quash the conditional planning permission as well as a development order granted by Kuala Lumpur City Hall earlier this year.
The hearing for the stay application was fixed for Dec 13.
Abdul Hafiz also said he found out that DBKL had approved the construction of a showroom on the project site on Nov 6 during the intervenor application hearing on Nov 15 when one of the intervenors of the legal case submitted an affidavit with the information.
“We even had a townhall session called Bicara Rakyat @ TTDI with Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor on Nov 3,” he said.
During the protest, the group held placards stating “Save Taman Rimba Kiara” and voiced out against the project.
Save Taman Rimba Kiara Group coordinator Leon Koay said the park, including some endangered trees, would be at stake if the project gets the green light.
“When they say they are not going to touch Taman Rimba Kiara, it is a lie, because the development is going to encroach into the park.
“There are a lot of greens that were planted by Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM) after the initial rubber estate at this site was cleared.
“There are more than 214 plant and tree species and over 1,800 mature trees and plants in the park.
“On the proposed development site itself, there are 800 mature trees and plants there,” he said.
“I was also told that there is a particular tree called Pokok Kapur that is rare even in an untouched tropical forest. But one can easily find 10 to 15 of those trees here in Taman Rimba Kiara.
“This is a public and natural treasure that should be preserved for generations to come,” Koay added.
To spread awareness of Taman Rimba Kiara, there will be a TTDI 5.5km Fun Run and Family Carnival on Dec 17 at the park.