THE Federal Court’s decision to quash the development order for Taman Awam Bukit Kiara in Taman Tun Dr Ismail has been met with jubilation by Kuala Lumpur residents.
They say the verdict, which brings to a close a seven-year saga involving stakeholders in the Taman Awam Bukit Kiara (previously known as Taman Rimba Kiara) against Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL), was a win for all residents fighting to preserve the park.
“Windfall. I have no other words to describe this incredible news,’’ said Selamatkan Kuala Lumpur chairman Datuk M. Ali when contacted by StarMetro.
“This win gives hope to every other resident in Kuala Lumpur who has had sleepless nights about the current or future developments happening in their backyard that may affect their quality of life. There is hope in fighting for what you believe in,’’ said Taman Desa Residents Association chairman Wong Chan Choy.
“This also goes to show that if residents stand united and work together, we can achieve anything and this judgment is a win for all of us in Kuala Lumpur who are facing uncooperative developers.
“We congratulate the group behind this success, you guys have inspired us all.”
This is groundbreaking, said Taman Tun Dr Ismail Residents Association chairman Abdul Hafiz Abu Bakar.
“This was an amazing collaborative effort by everyone. The key points made by the court show that residents who have a genuine case have locus standi to question the authorities on development issues in their neighbourhood.
“The authorities are duty-bound to engage with us. We have achieved one of the objectives today, and the next step is the poor residents at the longhouse whose interest needs to be looked into as well,” he added.
Friends of Bukit Dinding president Jonson Chong said he was very happy to hear about the big win.
“I will be even happier if the government decides not to allow any more development on hillslope or forested areas that will affect the biodiversity and ecosystem, and that authorities like DBKL will not challenge such decisions,’’ he said.
Lawyer Derek Fernandez described the decision as very good and correct.
“The Federal Court in its decision has upheld the basic principles of fairness in proper planning and development control,’’ he said.
In a Facebook post yesterday, Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh said: “We won today for its preservation as a public park! A battle that has taken us more than five years and can finally be put to rest.
“For me, this is also a battle against the might of those with deep pockets and we prevailed. A big thank you to our lawyers.”
In a unanimous decision, a three-member panel led by Federal Court judge Justice Nallini Pathmanathan, along with Chief Judge of Malaya Justice Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah and Justice Rhodzariah Bujang, affirmed the decision of the Court of Appeal.
On Jan 27, 2021, the Court of Appeal quashed the development order given by DBKL.
DBKL, Yayasan Wilayah Persekutuan and the developer Memang Perkasa Sdn Bhd then appealed to the Federal Court for the development order to be reinstated so that they could continue to develop Taman Rimba Kiara.
TTDI residents have been fighting against the development order since it came to light in 2016.
In 2017, TTDI residents filed for a judicial review against DBKL and the mayor, seeking to quash the development order.
The High Court subsequently denied the request in 2018, after concluding that no elements of illegality were found in the order’s issuance.
The proposed project involves building a 29-storey apartment block with 350 units of affordable housing, as well as eight blocks of serviced apartments and eight storeys of parking facilities.
Last year, the Dewan Rakyat was told that DBKL had so far spent RM1.106mil on legal costs for the Taman Rimba Kiara lawsuit between 2017 and 2021.