LETTER | We note with alarm the statement by Federal Territories Minister Khalid Samad on March 24 regarding the disputed Taman Rimba Kiara development.
Although the Minister has stated that the Cabinet will decide the fate of Taman Rimba Kiara development, he appears to be putting forward the propositions that:
The compensation payable to the developer is in the region of RM150 million if the development is cancelled; and that it is reasonable to proceed with the construction.
It is our view that the Federal Territories Minister and the Cabinet ought to take proper, independent legal advice on the matter and review the whole process involved in this development.
It is also our view that:
(a) Where a contract is found to be tainted by illegality, the so-called “binding contracts” may be set aside, the Development Order revoked and the project terminated. It would then be arguable that any developer involved in such illegality is not entitled to any compensation for its termination on the grounds of public policy.
(b) The relevant Development Order issued by the Minister for the project does not accord with the 2013 Draft KL City Plan where Bukit Kiara was zoned as a park with no changes.
(c) The gazetting of the 2018 KL City Plan is not legal as it violates the law and has included unilateral changes to the Bukit Kiara Park without displaying the same for public hearing, in accordance with the law.
(d) The only compensation payable in the event of termination (subject to any allegations of illegality being proven) and where the land is undeveloped, is the actual expenditure incurred as stated in section 25(6) of the Federal Territory (Planning) Act 1982. This would involve the purchase price paid for the land, the land premium and other expenses, all of which must be supported by receipts or proof of payment for the alleged expenditure. This is unlikely to be anywhere near RM150 million, as mentioned.
(e) Furthermore, MACC must urgently proceed with investigations into Yayasan Wilayah Persekutuan and its establishment and the irregular dealings in relation to this land, which the Center to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4) has found to be in conflict of interest.
(f) The Minister must revisit the 2018 KL City Plan and carry out the required legal process of consultation before proceeding to implement it.
(g) The Minister must resolve the conflict of interest that arises due to his position as Minister, having oversight over planning and development control in DBKL and being the chairperson of Yayasan Wilayah Persekutuan, which is involved with development projects.
We welcome the statement by Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh who has expressed concern that the price tag for termination is grossly inaccurate and that this development must be further investigated before it is proceeded with.
We trust that the Pakatan Harapan government will pay heed to the grossly improper manner in which this project was earlier awarded and will, as promised, uphold the legitimate wishes and rights of the people in this regard.
Above all, the Cabinet must make its decision based on all the facts and on advice on the correct position in law.
AMBIGA SREENEVASAN is a former Hakam president and DEREK FERNANDEZ is a Petaling Jaya City Councillor.
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.