TAMAN Tun Dr Ismail longhouse residents are divided into two groups with different ideas on what the best permanent housing solution would be.
The first group, registered in 2003, is Pertubuhan Penduduk Perumahan Awam Bukit Kiara comprising mostly the older generation of residents.
Bukit Kiara Rumah Panjang Residents Association, registered in 2009, is the second group that consists of the younger generation.
Both groups claim to have over 100 members with at least one representative from every household.
A total of 98 families that were temporarily relocated to the longhouses from Bukit Kiara estate about 37 years ago, are waiting for permanent housing.
To address this issue, Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) approved a 29-storey block comprising 350 units of affordable housing for the residents, as well as another eight blocks of between 42- and 54-storey high-end serviced apartments.
The project, which is a joint venture with a developer, also involves building a six-lane highway and a flyover that will take up part of the Taman Rimba Kiara park.
The older generation group supports DBKL’s plan but the second group is pushing for the proposed 104 units of townhouses designed by volunteer architects from the Save Taman Rimba Working Group, which addresses the housing needs without affecting the park. This project is estimated to cost RM15mil.
Pertubuhan Penduduk Perumahan Awam Bukit Kiara chairman Sunderam Vadiveloo, 66, said he would not go against anything that will make their dream of getting permanent homes come true.
“We have got signatures from all 98 families in support of this idea in 2015 in an agreement with the landowner Federal Territories Foundation (YWP) and developer.
“This year, there are other groups interfering in our housing issue.
“We were assured by YWP and the developer that we will get one house free and another at a subsidised rate.
“As long as this comes through, I am not concerned about the other projects,” he said.
When asked about possible misappropriation of RM700,000 in funds given by the foundation for the maintenance of longhouses last year, Sunderam said he was only aware that a sum of money was transferred to a contractor commissioned to do repair works.
“Some repair works have been done on the roof, doors and water tanks of some units, while other works are still in progress,” he said.
Bukit Kiara Rumah Panjang Residents Association secretary Sivakumar Muniandy, 46, said in 2015, many were bought over with the sweet promises of each household owning two houses.
“The agreement did not state details of the actual housing project, when or where it will be built.
“About 40 families who initially declined were brainwashed and compelled to sign the papers.
“The younger generation has been declined membership by the other group, so we have to state our stand separately.
“We believe the best way to preserve the community living that we currently enjoy is to implement the townhouse design, and we hope that it will come through,” he said.
Sivakumar also said he did not see much repair works in the longhouses as claimed by Sunderam.