Open Letter to Prime Minister regarding unsustainable development in Setapak, KL

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Dear Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim,

We, concerned residents of Taman P Ramlee and the Setapak township, urgently bring to your attention the issue of unsustainable development in our community. We believe our concerns reflect the sentiments of the majority of residents, who have placed hope in the transformative vision of your Madani Government.

Despite our efforts to partner with YB Wangsa Maju, we have learned that DBKL is likely to approve the development of two 48-storey blocks with 840 units in Taman P Ramlee without meaningful engagement with residents. It is concerning because it is the tallest and 5th densest condominium among other 29 high-rises within a 2 km radius. Despite more than 100 signed petitions were submitted during the protest period, our concerns remain unaddressed.

Central to our concerns is the concept of unsustainable development, which prioritises present progress at the expense of future generations. Our community has suffered from unsustainable development practices for too long, leading to negative consequences for our well-being and quality of life. We urge you to champion sustainable development principles that prioritize our community’s long-term welfare and future generations, aligning with the Madani concept of good governance, sustainable development, and racial harmony in our country.

Allow us to highlight two key areas where unsustainable development poses immediate risks in Taman P Ramlee and the Setapak township.

Traffic – Close to 1,000 additional cars from the Proposed Development will worsen existing traffic conditions

Our roads are already burdened with heavy traffic, and the proposed development, with its additional approximately 1,000 cars, will exacerbate the already dire situation. Instances of emergency services struggling to reach their destinations in time have become distressingly common. As a practising doctor, I have personally witnessed the life-threatening consequences of delayed medical interventions due to traffic congestion.

The traffic impact studies conducted by the developer were biased and misleading, given DBKL’s reliance on a Traffic Impact Assessment (TIA) conducted and paid for by the Developer. Our team conducted independent research that easily refuted the developer’s claims, as confirmed by YB Tan Yee Kew’s reprimand of the developer during the Town Hall meeting.

Many residents already experience difficulties in exiting their own gates during peak hours, where a short stretch of 350m can take more than 10 minutes to navigate. Despite the presence of traffic police to manage congestion during peak hours, I can only imagine the worsening traffic conditions once the proposed development is given the green light.

Infrastructure – Quality of life at Taman may be compromised with the proposed 1:7:20 plot ratio and should adhere to the plot ratio approved in the Kuala Lumpur City Plan 2020 (KLCP2020)

Taman P Ramlee was originally designed in the 1960s to support low-rise development. Therefore, the existing infrastructure, including roads, water supply, schools, and drainage systems, is ill-equipped to sustain the increased demands resulting from high-density development.

Water availability is already well below the recommended reserve margin of 10 to 15%, leading to frequent disruptions. For example, residents could experience at least 1 or 2 water disruptions per month. This proposed development will further increase water consumption, with the developer claiming that it is the Government’s responsibility to ensure sufficient water supply. This places the burden on the Government to spend millions replacing miles of ageing pipes, while the developer merely constructs and shifts the problem to the Government.

The existing drainage system is inadequate to support high-rise development and has already led to rising cases of dengue fever. The strain on schools due to increased population density is also a significant concern.

Conclusion – Urgent Review of Proposed Development with DBKL Engaging Residents

While we have shared our concerns with the Mayor, we were disheartened by the indication that the development is likely to proceed. Mayors, though entrusted with significant responsibilities, are not infallible, as evidenced by previous legal actions taken against them. Therefore, we respectfully appeal for your timely intervention in this matter and urge DBKL to engage with the residents together with the YB Wangsa Maju.

We remain steadfast in our hope that your Madani Government will uphold the principles of sustainable development, ensuring the equitable growth and prosperity of our beloved city. By prioritising the well-being of the community and fostering dialogue between residents, developers, and relevant authorities, we can chart a more sustainable and prosperous future.

Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter. We place our trust in your leadership and commitment to the well-being of our community.

Yours respectfully,

Dr Tan Guat Ming

On behalf of more than 100 Residents of Taman P Ramlee and the Setapak Township