By INS Contributors

KUALA LUMPUR (March 2)--Recent news that Kuala Lumpur Mayor Mahadi Che Ngah is seeking to reverse the Court of Appeal’s decision quashing City Hall’s development order in Taman Rimba Kiara (TRK), has drawn the ire of the Selamatkan Kuala Lumpur or Save KL Coalition.

The group’s chairperson M. Ali likened the move with “Rakyat’s money used against the Rakyat” and said that such action went against what is ultimately a ruling in favor of the area’s residents, with wider implications for the rest of the city.

“Even if it’s legally permissible but morally one must not use the public money to wack the Rakyat. Especially so, when City Hall claims “City for All”. “Who is all?”

“On the contrary, the Rakyat who have pursued the TRK matter up to this stage are the ones who have been concerned in protecting the environment, greenery, etc for the benefit of the present generation and the future generations,” he told INS.

Instead of taking an antagonistic route, the civil society activist appealed to the mayor to review the stance and engage with the concerned groups for the good of the rakyat.

“We must put aside the ego and look at what would be beneficial for warga kota Kuala Lumpur and Malaysia,” he said.

In a sworn affidavit, Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) Legal and Prosecution Department deputy director Izmah Nor Idris said the city’s development will come to a standstill if everyone claiming to be adversely affected by decisions to grant planning permissions could put forth challenges, the Vibesreported.

It was reported that others connected with this matter have filed applications for leave at the Federal Court.

The bid seeks to challenge the appellate court’s ruling favouring TTDI residents.

The proposed development has drawn criticism from various quarters, criticising the fact that residents voicing objections would have to do so at their own expense while DBKL and the mayor have deep pockets filled by ratepayers.

Local government advocacy group DBKL Watch (DW) also lent its voice to the argument, stressing that DBKL, the mayor and others involved should act for the people rather than be seen as siding with developers and constantly appealing against court decisions in favor of residents.

“This is not the first time and it will certainly not be the last time that we have a mayor and DBKL itself moving against a judgement that would be impossible to justify if the mayor had been elected and so accountable to his electorate,” DW told INS in a statement.

Citing the even more blatant case of a development in Taman Tiara Titiwangsa, which had been originally approved as affordable housing but has now been approved as a high end development, DW added that the mayor and DBKL needed to reassess their priorities.

“Development, projects and all associated with these activities involve large sums of money, whether as income for the council or as profit for the developer. But when the judiciary, which commands a high degree of respect among the Rakyat, rules in favor of the residents, how is the local council going to justify taking the money it collects in taxes and using it to fight against the Rakyat. This only exists when representatives are not elected but rather appointed. There is a lack of accountability or initiative on the part of an appointed mayor,” it said.