Stakeholders by the busload lodge objections to Bohol pond plan

RESIDENTS, stakeholders, NGOs, civil servants and politicians have objected to the proposed revocation of the Kg Bohol flood retention pond’s public-use status in Seputeh, Kuala Lumpur.

A hearing at the Kuala Lumpur Land and Mines Office (PTGWP) at Jalan Sultan Hishamuddin turned heated Monday (May 20) as residents demanded specific data on the pond, feeling the information provided was too general.

Many also asked why no officials from the Irrigation and Drainage Department were present.

"Where are they? There is no logic to this presentation," said one individual who did not wish to be named.

ALSO READ: Outrage over loss of Bohol pond

Some asked for a guarantee that the floods in the area would stop following the revocation.

Taman Desa residents association chairman Wong Chan Choy asked if the developer had already paid the land premium.

To this, PTGWP assistant director Rashid Ghazali said the session was not about the developer, but the revocation.

"The Bohol pond is getting smaller and smaller, and needs to be preserved," Save Kuala Lumpur (SKL) coalition chairman Datuk M. Ali said on the sidelines of the session.

"But they want to reduce the flood retention pond size, realign Sungai Kuyoh which flows into the pond, and encroach into the Kesas Highway. That is not acceptable."

Former Kuala Lumpur mayor Datuk Seri Nor Hisham Ahmad Dahlan, who served from October 2018 to September 2020, also opposed the move.

"I have to speak up and stop this because we have already lost so much government land to developers. The Bohol pond must be protected from development," he said.

ALSO READ: Bohol pond in peril again with new development plan

Social activist and former Bukit Bintang MP Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye, who also attended the objection session, said: "Alienating and selling the Kg Bohol flood retention pond, a critical flood mitigation site, is unthinkable.

“All forms of development at the flood retention pond must be halted and it must be protected as it constitutes a critical flood defense strategy needed to address climate change."

A busload of residents from Puchong and Kinrara in Selangor, and the Kg Muhibbah People’s Housing Project (PPR) in Bukit Jalil, as well as other areas in Kuala Lumpur, arrived as early as 9am Monday and filed their objections.

More are expected to arrive throughout the day until 4pm when the session will be closed.

However, as the majority were elderly, many struggled with using a QR code to register their attendance.

Residents said the proposed revocation goes against the government’s promise not to allow development in flood-prone areas.

Despite a previous commitment to scrap the land deal last year following opposition from area residents, stakeholders, and lawmakers, the government is now pushing ahead with plans to revoke the land's public-use status.

The Attorney General’s Chambers published a notice in the Federal Government Gazette on May 8 announcing the proposed revocation of the land reservation for public purposes under Section 64(2) of the National Land Code (Act 828) for Lot 35309, measuring 24.79ha.

ALSO READ: Developer gets Bohol pond upgrade job

It was signed by the Chief Secretary to the Government, Tan Sri Mohd Zuki Ali.

The land was originally designated for flood mitigation and gazetted on Nov 4, 2010. The surrounding area will be developed for residential purposes following the revocation.

Last week, StarMetro reported that a developer had been awarded the tender to upgrade the Bohol flood retention pond, as well as approval to develop the area adjacent to the land reserved for the pond.

PTGWP (land registration sector) deputy director Mohd Firdaus Ibaruslan said the developer will invest RM40mil to upgrade the pond and pay RM41.7mil for the premium 10.5ha land it will be developing.

ALSO READ: Residents show disapproval for housing project at Bohol pond site

He added that an additional 0.85ha of land will be gazetted as reserved for the retention pond.

"The current land reserve does not include the space and water inlet and outlet of the pond. Additional land has to be used for that," he said.

StarMetro reported on April 29 that new development plans had emerged for the area around Kuala Lumpur’s second-largest flood retention pond, nearly a year after the Federal Government stopped a similar proposal by the previous administration to allocate the land to a private developer.

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