Residents welcome decision

By Veena Babulal

The state government will reinstate the 7.7ha plot for recreational use.

The state government will reinstate the 7.7ha plot for recreational use.

SUBANG JAYA: The Selangor government will reinstate the 7.7ha plot within the Subang Ria park, which was approved for commercial activities under the Subang Jaya 2020 local plan, to a private recreational land.

The decision was made by Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim during a state executive committee meeting earlier.

He said the state would be reinstating the land using Section 16 of the Town and Country Planning Act.

Khalid, however, said the state would only begin the process of cancelling the plans after the state planning committee meets in a month.

The cancellation process will be carried out within a month after that.

Khalid said it would be done properly as it involved stakeholders such as Sime Darby Property Bhd whose rights as landowners could not be disputed.

"The decision was made based on complaints and objections raised by the residents as well as non-governmental organisations," he said after announcing the decision in a town hall session with residents at the Subang Jaya Municipal Council headquarters here.

The announcement was met with cheers from the residents who had earlier appealed to Khalid to use his power to reinstate the land as a private recreational site.

"After detailing the conditions of the local plan it was also found that the site which was proposed for development was not meant to be developed commercially," he added.

The state planning committee had earlier in principal approved the development of the park in a letter to the Subang Jaya Municipal Council in April 2009. This followed an application by Sime Darby to sub-divide the park and convert part of it from recreational use to residential and commercial use.

Khalid said the approval, which the developer had assumed to be the final decision, was, however, subjected to the submission of more development details on the part of the developer.

He said Sime Darby also did not cooperate with the state in its efforts to find the best solution for the long-standing dispute.

Khalid said this was largely due to the fact that the six-member task force appointed by the state to negotiate, acquire and raise funds to buy over the entire 29.39ha of the Subang Ria Park had been unable to meet with the developer.

Task force head Subang Jaya assemblyman Hannah Yeoh, who had written a letter to the developer seeking a meeting on the acquisition of the park earlier this year, said that Sime Darby was not interested in meeting or negotiating a price.

"They were adamant that the price of the park be set at RM165 million based on their valuation as well as their consultation with MPSJ officers," said Yeoh, adding that they claimed that the objections raised by residents were not the opinion of the majority of Subang Jaya folk.

Yeoh, however, said the valuation was based on several assumptions. The main assumption by the developer was the belief that MPSJ would approve their development plans based on the letter from the state planning committee.

She also claimed that Sime Darby was probably comparing the prices of the site, which is under a 99-year leasehold, to other land in the area, which has a freehold status.

Under the three separate evaluations conducted by consultants appointed by Yeoh's office, the state town and country planning department and MPSJ, the land was valued at RM15 million, RM53 million and RM165 million, respectively.

Also present at the dialogue was Kinrara assemblyman Teresa Kok and state town and country planning department director Datuk Jaafar Mohd Atan.

The final hearing on Sime Darby Property Bhd's appeal to the state planning committee to subdivide and convert the land usage of 7.7ha of the park will take place on May 4 and 5.

The appeal challenges MPSJ's refusal to approve its proposal to subdivide the park and convert it partially from recreational to residential and commercial use.

The proposal, submitted in April 2009, specified that 6.88ha was meant for the development of low-density homes while 0.82ha was meant for the future expansion of the Sime Darby Medical Centre.

The park's remaining 21.69ha would be retained as a recreational park and upgraded.

At press time, Sime Darby was unavailable for comments.

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