REDEVELOPMENT of the Highland Towers site in Ampang that has been abandoned since the 1993 landslide tragedy can only be finalised only after several problems are resolved with the formation of a committee comprising 10 government agencies.
Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin said she did not have the relevant information and documents pertaining to the incident and the area for the authorities to proceed with the redevelopment plan.
The third term Ampang MP said she tried to solve the problem in the past but could not do so due to such problems.
“For example, I have found no records of the loan borrower from the bank and there are still several legal cases regarding the compensation for the owners.
“Once the matter is resolved, the state or Federal Government can take over and develop the land,” she said in an interview with StarMetro.
Zuraida added that residents living in the vicinity of the Highland Towers were concerned for their safety as the place was now a nest for robbers and drug addicts.
The Highland Towers area was prime land, and was left abandoned after one of its three blocks of condominium units collapsed on Dec 11, 1993 in a major landslide that claimed 48 lives.
The earth gave way after 10 days of rainfall causing the landslide. Residents of the two other blocks were evacuated.
There were plans to repair the two blocks in 1995, but checks revealed that both structures were unstable and that demolition was the only option.
Zuraida said a committee comprising 10 government agencies would study the redevelopment plans, namely the Selangor government, Land and Mines Department, Mineral and Geoscience Department, Drainage and Irrigation Department, Public Works Department, Ampang Jaya Municipal Council, and the ministries of Finance, Economic Affairs, Works, and Environment and Natural Resources.
It has been tasked to identify relevant issues involving the redevelopment of the Highland Towers area as well as decide on the direction and strategies of the redevelopment.
In a statement, the Housing and Local Government Ministry said the redevelopment plan included housing project for the B40 group (the bottom 40% of households with monthly income RM3,900 and below), recreational park, and tourists and sports centre.
The committee for the redevelopment of Highland Towers, chaired by ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Mohammad Mantek, would decide on the project that was most suitable on the land.
It was also stated that the Mineral and Geoscience Department found the site as being high risk for landslide and that only low impact and recreation and tourism development could be carried out there.
In a press statement on June 26, Zuraida urged residents living nearby the Highland Towers not to worry as developing the area was the way forward to conserve the land.
“We learnt from previous incidents and the ministry will ensure that the redevelopment of the site will bring positivity,” she said, adding that another committee will be set up to monitor the development works.
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