BUKIT Kiara is one of the few remaining green lungs in urban Kuala Lumpur. Strategically located in the heart of the city, this “gold mine” is increasingly being eyed by opportunists and the well-connected.
On June 27, 2007, the Cabinet decided to gazette the 189ha Bukit Kiara into a green lung. After a decade, however, Bukit Kiara has yet to be gazetted.
The public have now been assured that the gazetting will be completed next year but the area to be gazetted will only be 159ha due to parcelling out of land over the years. In other words, the 10-year delay in gazetting has cost the public 30ha of prime green space. Will this trend continue?
Even as I write this, there are many opportunists waiting to grab a slice of Bukit Kiara for commercial exploitation. The area is slowly but surely being stolen right under our eyes. For instance, the eight high-rise condos at Taman Rimba Project (TRK) in Bukit Kiara represents a further nail in the greens’ coffin.
More importantly, the devastating impact, especially on the environment, ecosystem, peace and quiet, and flora and fauna is hardly considered. Many will only realise this after the forest is gone but it will be too late to do anything then.
Bukit Kiara is an open space that is loved and used by thousands of people, especially the Taman Tun community and nearby neighbourhoods.
The open spaces in Bukit Kiara provide an important amenity for recreational purposes. It is a welcome haven to de-stress, relax, re-invigorate and sweat it out.
We walk, hike, play, cycle and run on them. Our families enjoy a picnic or sit and enjoy the view.
We patronise such open spaces to relax, exercise and breathe fresh air to not only raise our quality of life but also make a big difference to our overall well-being.
Bukit Kiara in its present condition is our precious gift to future generations.
Can you please help us preserve and protect existing Bukit Kiara green lung? Can you please assist us to leave a positive and sustainable legacy for future generations in the spirit of rakyat didahulukan (people first)?
The way forward is to expedite the speedy gazetting of the whole of Bukit Kiara as a forest reserve as promised by the Government in June 2007.
Pending that, DBKL must come up with an unequivocal and strong written 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 and opportunists would stop eyeing Bukit Kiara for commercial exploitation.
In this regard, the Government should totally reject and stop “backdoor” ways to develop and monetise green spaces.
In the name of transparency, all transactions related to green areas (names of those applying to lease a plot of land in the green areas, the lease agreements, change of status in usage of land, developers who have submitted development plans, and etc.) must be plotted on a map in real time (a kind of green space atlas) and this information must be made available for all to see.
If this new SOP were to materialise, it would surely contribute to curbing corruption and strengthening the green integrity governance system in Malaysia through improved transparency and accountability.
It would also make us one of the “champions” in the world in addressing corruption in the development of green spaces in the city.
Since Kuala Lumpur has always tried to pride itself on being a green city, the relevant authorities such as City Hall should walk the talk and strongly endeavour to preserve all the green lungs in the city.
I hope and pray that common sense will prevail.
DR POLA SINGH
Cofounder of Friends of Bukit Kiara (FoBK)