Public surprised to find popular Bukit Kiara park still closed

Park-goers at Taman Awam Bukit Kiara in Kuala Lumpur. -Photos:MUHAMAD SHAHRIL ROSLI/The Star

Taman Persekutuan Bukit Kiara managed by the National Landscape Department was still closed yesterday despite the Federal Government’s decision to allow public parks in Kuala Lumpur to remain open during the movement control order.

However, the adjacent Taman Awam Bukit Kiara managed by Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) was open to the public.

Tony Lim from Petaling Jaya was unhappy that they were not allowed into Taman Persekutuan Bukit Kiara despite Federal Territories Minister Tan Sri Annuar Musa’s announcement on Friday that public parks could stay open, although picnics and large group activities were prohibited.

“The minister already said parks can open, so why is the guard not allowing us in?” he asked.

Taman Tun Dr Ismail (TTDI) resident T. Moorthy said the government’s rules on the MCO restrictions were sometimes confusing and arbitrary.

“The first few days of the MCO, the parks were open, then they closed them, then the government said they could stay open.

“Now they don’t let us into the public park, and more people are crowding this small area from the parking area to the entrance gate.

“This is frustrating, ” he said.

Tan Kok Leong from Damansara Utama said Bukit Kiara was the nearest park for him to do his exercise.

“We would think that the authorities would be clearer in their decision-making by now.

“All they need to do is manage the crowd by allowing people to enter the park in batches, using the MySejahtera app, ” he said.

With him was Erica Heng, who frequented Taman Awam Bukit Kiara almost daily for hiking.

“The authorities should implement an SOP that allows a certain number of park-goers at any one time with the use of the MySejahtera app, to prevent the place from becoming crowded.

“More outsiders are coming here now because most parks in Selangor are closed, ” she added.

National Landscape Department director-general Rotina Mohd Daik told StarMetro that Taman Persekutuan Bukit Kiara would remain closed during the MCO following complaints from TTDI residents, park visitors and advice from the TTDI police station.

“Within three days of closing, there were a few cases of trespassing into the park.

“The trespassers entered behind the Sri Hartamas area and escaped the SOP of contact tracing via the mobile app and body temperature scanning.

“The culprits enter alone but group together once they are in the park, ” she explained, adding that the park spanned 161ha, including the hilly tarmac and lake area.

The lake area has been closed since October last year for upgrading work.

Rotina said the park was closed even during the MCO in March last year.

“There is a lot of pressure to open but, at the same time, we received a lot of complaints from park-goers.

“We tried to seek cooperation from the police to patrol the park, but it is difficult to monitor the whole area.

“With the increasing number of Covid-19 cases, we strongly feel we need to flatten the curve.

“On a regular day, the park receives roughly between 3,000 and 4,000 visitors daily, ” she said.

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