PETALING JAYA: Federal Territories Minister Khalid Samad has hit back at those who criticised his estimation that RM150mil in compensation has to be paid to developers of the controversial Taman Rimba Kiara condominium project.
"Yes, I know I mentioned RM150mil. That is based on the list of expenses provided earlier. I know full well the courts will decide," he said.
Khalid, who is also Shah Alam MP, said that the current government could not simply cancel contracts and agreements signed during the previous administration as it would still have to pay compensation and damages.
"I was told that as a minister, I must not allow some of the projects approved by the previous minister to proceed even though the contracts have been signed.
"The best a new government can do is to renegotiate the contracts and with the agreement of the other party, come to a compromise. This compromise is intended to minimise the 'damage'," he said in a statement on Thursday (March 28).
Khalid said on Sunday (March 24) that the Cabinet would decide on the controversial luxury condominium project in Taman Tun Dr Ismail, which residents say infringed on a park there.
He had claimed that cancelling the project would cost Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) RM150mil in compensation as it had granted the development order to the developer.
He also said that the developers are willing to scale down the proposed project from the initial 4.9ha to 3.2ha should it be allowed to continue.
However, Khalid's estimated compensation to the developer should the project be stopped did not go down well with some, including Deputy Women and Family Development Minister Hannah Yeoh.
Yeoh questioned the cancellation costs and called the estimated figure a "myth" while lawyers Ambiga Sreenevasan and Derek Fernandez argued that the cost for cancellation would not be RM150mil if the project was proved to be "tainted with illegality".
Meanwhile, the Save TRK working group, which is also campaigning to stop the development, said cancelling the project might only cost the government about RM115mil as the developer had only paid that much.