THE remaining green lungs in Kuala Lumpur are being stolen right under our eyes. Take my neighbourhood as an example. I moved to Taman Tun Dr Ismail (TTDI) in 1977. A single-storey house was pricey then at RM34,000 but the location was good. It was near Section 17, Petaling Jaya where I was then living. Being a green activist, I was also attracted by the advertisement that said: “Live beside a green neighbourhood (rubber estate).”
Bukit Kiara in its present condition is our precious gift to future generations. I consider myself fortunate to have this 189ha park adjacent to my house for exercise and recreation. This area is equivalent to 300 football fields!
TTDI has always been a much sought-after address because it’s generally clean and serene and has parks – Taman Rimba Kiara, Taman Lembah Kiara and Bukit Kiara – nearby. Being an exercise freak, I find Bukit Kiara (pic) and these other parks ideal places for workouts and hiking activities.
This means that I not only enjoy the greenery, flora and fauna and the fresh cool mountain air but also take advantage of the hill to improve my health and overall fitness by hiking, walking or cycling. City folks can certainly do with places where they and their families can go to after work and during weekends to relax, exercise and breathe fresh air.
But the scenario is changing fast with Kuala Lumpur City Hall or DBKL playing an active part in approving new high-rise condominium developments. In the process, DBKL is now opening the floodgates for other developers to propose dense development on the few remaining open/public spaces in Bukit Kiara and TTDI.
Bukit Kiara and Rimba Kiara are two of the few remaining green lungs in urban KL adjacent to the TTDI neighbourhood. Can TTDI not remain as it is? We don’t need any more new towering development.
TTDI residents should never take the precious hill, a prized natural beauty and an oasis, for granted. Everyone has to stand up and be counted to protect Bukit Kiara. The 6,000 residents here need to come together and do their part to ensure that what they are enjoying now will also be enjoyed by their grandchildren and great-grandchildren. The collective effort will also go a long way to help counter climate change issues.
For this to happen, the whole of Bukit Kiara needs to be gazetted as a permanent forest reserve immediately. Many are wondering why the authorities are dragging their feet to complete the process since the Cabinet approved the gazetting of Bukit Kiara as a forest reserve 10 years ago on June 27, 2007.
Undoubtedly, much hope rests on DBKL to come up with an unequivocal and strong statement that they will not entertain any new development plans in the vicinity of Bukit Kiara. This message should be made loud and clear so that developers would stay away from Bukit Kiara and TTDI.
I hope and pray that common sense will prevail and that all parties will not be blinded solely by the short-term profits at the expense of the long-term adverse environmental effects on Bukit Kiara and the TTDI neighbourhood.