Taman Rimba Kiara: Land meant for residential development, not park, Federal Court told

PUTRAJAYA: The Taman Rimba Kiara land intended for a development project was meant for residential development and not as public park, the Federal Court heard on Friday (April 22).

Lawyer B. Thangaraj, representing the Kuala Lumpur mayor, submitted that the Court of Appeal was wrong in its findings that the subject land was demarcated as a public open space, recreational and green area under the local plan.

He said at the time when developer Memang Perkasa Sdn Bhd applied for the planning permission, the land was already zoned for residential use under the Federal Territory Zoning and Density Rules and was intended for mixed development.

"The application for planning permission was submitted to change part of the land for the construction of the service condominiums from residential to commercial while the land area which was meant for the Bukit Kiara Long House residents remains as residential," he said.

Thangaraj said the Court of Appeal had failed to consider that the land could not be an open space or park as part of the land was occupied by the Bukit Kiara Long House settlers and the other part was used temporarily as a car park for users of Taman Rimba Kiara.

Thangaraj was making his submissions before a three-member Federal Court panel in the appeals brought by the KL mayor, Memang Perkasa, Yayasan Wilayah Persekutuan and Bukit Kiara Public Housing Residents Association.

They want to reinstate the development order dated July 13, 2017 issued by Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) for development of eight blocks of high-end serviced apartments and 29-storey apartments, comprising 350 units of affordable housing to be built on the land.

The Court of Appeal had ruled in favour of Taman Tun Dr Ismail (TTDI) residents, who through management bodies of Trellises Apartment, Kiara Green Townhouses, Residence Condominium, TTDI Plaza Condominium, The Greens Condominium, TTDI Residents Association and four TTDI residents and house owners, filed a judicial review application in 2017 to quash the conditional planning permission and development order issued by DBKL.

They lost their case in the High Court on Nov 28, 2018.

In Friday's proceedings which were conducted virtually, the panel comprising Justices Datuk Nallini Pathmanathan, Datuk Rhodzariah Bujang and Datuk Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah also heard submissions from lawyers Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram and Khoo Guan Huat representing Memang Perkasa.

Sri Ram submitted that the residents who were joint management bodies and management corporations did not have the locus standi to institute judicial proceedings to challenge DBKL's decision to grant the development order.

He said the residents were not entitled to a certiorari order which was granted to them by the Court of Appeal to quash the DBKL development order as they had not shown that they were adversely affected by DBKL's decision to grant the planning permission.

He also said DBKL did not owe a common law duty to provide reasons to residents on why it had rejected their objections to the project.

Khoo submitted that the Auditor-General's Report 2019, which the residents wanted the court to accept, is not relevant to the appeals.

"The Auditor-General's report contains no additional primary facts and at best primarily consists of expressions of opinion on the purported non-conformity of the development order with the KL City Plan 2020," Khoo said.

In their judicial review application, the residents sought to quash the development order for the proposed development project.

They claim that the 10.08ha Taman Rimba Kiara is a public park located in TTDI and Bukit Kiara area and a green lung of Kuala Lumpur.

The hearing of the appeals continues on April 28.

Yayasan Wilayah Persekutuan was represented by lawyer Tan Sri Cecil Abraham while the TTDI residents were represented by lawyer Datuk Dr Gurdial Singh Nijar. - Bernama

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