Conflict of interest over Setapak high-rise, high-density project?

By Jonathan Edward and Danial Dzulkifly

KUALA LUMPUR, March 13 — A proposed construction of a high-rise development project in Taman Tiara Titiwangsa, Setapak, has raised the ire of residents who questioned the legality of the project. 

According to documents sighted by Malay Mail, land owners Yayasan Wilayah Persekutuan appointed developer Lakaran Ceria Sdn Bhd on Nov 23, 2015, to develop two 51-storey condominium blocks comprising 1,702 units and another 40-storey storey block with 460 units of affordable homes.

The development would raise the population density (people per acre) from 60 to 800 ppa, far higher than designated in the Draft Kuala Lumpur City Plan 2020.

The developer had applied for a 3.1-hectare plot (Lot PT 9885) to be converted from public use to commercial.

The board of trustees of the foundation comprised Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, his deputy Datuk Loga Bala Mohan, mayor Datuk Seri Mohd Amin Noordin Abd Aziz, Setiawangsa MP Datuk Ahmad Fauzi Zahari and Titiwangsa MP Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani.

Residents had in their Dec 28 objection letter to City Hall, said the land was earlier earmarked for a sewage treatment plant and in April 2005, there were suggestions by City Hall to develop a community centre.

However, the land was transferred to a third party developer and not developed for a public project.

It is learnt that the residents had sent a letter of protest to the trustees of the foundation and that their letters had been received and acknowledged by all five.

A resident, speaking on condition of anonymity, claimed there was a conflict of interest.

“What is going on here? The land is designated for something but had been converted into a housing project,” she said.

“It is overseen by the same people approving the projects.”

Another resident said the development was only one of the numerous projects in the city facilitated by the delay in gazetting the draft plan.

“All this is because the plan is not gazetted. The approving authority and the foundation are run by the same people, namely City Hall and the (Federal Territories) ministry,” he said.

The foundation, however, insists there is no conflict of interest. Its chief executive officer Datuk Roslan Hassan said although Tengku Adnan, Loga Bala and Mohd Amin are on the board, they are ex-officio members.

On Feb 27, Malay Mail highlighted Tengku Adnan’s intention to not approve the draft plan and “bulldoze” development in the city to overcome demand for living space.

He said he would never sign the plan in its current configuration as it did not take into account the changes in land demand and housing since the plan was conceived in 2008.

Several opposition MPs called for Tengku Adnan to vacate his post and for him to be charged with violating the Federal Territory Planning Act 1982 which makes it mandatory for the plan to be gazetted within “a reasonable time”, interpreted to mean six months.