NST Online Streets

by Dawn Chan

Derek Fernandez


KUALA LUMPUR: Residents of Federal Hill are prepared to go to court if City Hall permits the commercial development of the land around Travers police station near their homes.

The police station stands on a 1.15 hectare plot. A nine-storey block of police quarters and a three-storey police station are planned — as well as three high-rise blocks of commercial office space.

Their lawyer, Derek Fernandez, said: “It is impossible for institutional land, which is meant solely for government purposes, to be converted for commercial use. We will await the outcome of the hearing.”

Resident Lam Choon Kit said: “We have no other alternative than to go to court to resolve this problem.”

The residents made their stand after a two-hour hearing before the public hearing committee chaired by Datin Paduka Dr Halimaton Saadiah Hashim, principal fellow of the University Kebangsaan Malaysia Institute of Environment and Development. About 20 residents attended.

Fernandez presented the residents’ case in objecting to the proposed development of Lot 55 Jalan Travers by developer Primamuda Holdings.

The proposed new police quarters and police station will occupy about 0.4ha and Fernandez said the remaining land should be preserved for public purposes as a green lung, green buffer or recreational area.

Fernandez said the proposed development is inconsistent with national planning and urbanisation policy. In addition, City Hall had failed to incorporate Policy CF3 of Kuala Lumpur Structure Plan 2020 to “ensure that all government land is used for government or public facility purposes”.

He said the mayor Datuk Ab. Hakim Borhan should have rejected the proposal without a hearing, which was scheduled but was postponed several times since residents began pursuing the matter in 2007 at the preliminary objection stage.

The residents were instead asked to make their objections when the Kuala Lumpur Local Draft Plan were displayed from May 15 to June 30.

Fernandez questioned how the Commissioner of Lands could allow Primamuda’s application for land conversion, when the Commissioner is not the landowner and as the development violates the CF3 Policy.

He said the whole exercise was improper because City Hall had also failed to comply with the Town and Country Planning Act which states that there is a duty for consultation with the public.

Among the residents who spoke up was Theo De Wit, a Dutchman living here under the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme. He said he moved from Bukit Damansara to Federal Hill when he saw trees being cut down to make way for development.

“Unfortunately, a few months after settling here, I was told of the proposed development, which I feel will only cause traffic congestion. I was sold by the keywords — that Malaysia is a good place to live, retire and invest., and I enjoy living here very much. I hope the government will stay true to what the MM2H programme promised,” he said.

Charles Tan said there is simply no room for road expansion at Jalan Travers and Jalan Mahameru to accommodate increased traffic volume.

“We want to keep it a green area. We collected 7,000 signatures against the development. A Sultan has spoken out against it to City Hall, as well as the Hilton Hotel and Le Meriden.” The two hotels are situated across the road, at the nearby KL Sentral development..