Subang folks broke into thunderous applause when Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim announced the state was going to study the cost and acquisition process of their green lung- Subang Ria park.
In a “dialogue with the MB” session held last night in Hotel Villa, Khalid said he will assign the state planning director to start doing planning and cost-calculating for the park, as soon as today to know the value and compensation needed to acquire the Sime Darby-owned park.
After an hour-long hearing of residents’ opinions, Khalid concluded that the acquisition can be done, but stressed he must ensure fairness in the process.
“The state indeed holds enormous power for state land, but the acquisition process must be fair… It must be a fair price,” he said, saying he must respect the property rights of Sime Darby.
He said one way to evaluate the park is to calculate the current value of the 10 houses exchanged to Sime Darby, which will be equivalent to the park’s value.
In 1987, UEP, now Sime Darby, obtained the park through an “exchange trade” surrendering 10 units of houses to the state. The land was worth RM1.5 million at the time according to declassified documents.
Khalid said he will come back to the residents in one-and-a-half months time. In the mean time, the state will allocate funsd to clean up the ill-maintained park.
Many residents seemed to welcome the announcement. Subang Jaya Consumer Association (CASJ)chairman Lau Bing said his association will suggest “a dollar for a dollar” fundraiser to help state government acquire the park.
“For every dollar the state puts up, we will top up with a dollar,” he said.
Subang Ria Park, the only sizeable green lung in Subang Jaya, frequently came under threat when the property owner, Sime Darby, insists on developing part of it..
In 2007 the initial development proposal was withdrawn by the company after some 1000 residents vociferously protested.
The listed developer then proposed an amended plan last year- to upgrade 53.7 acres of the park to a world-class recreational site, while converting the remain 18.9 acres for commercial use.
Last night, Subang assemblywoman Hannah Yeoh said she received the third proposal from Sime on April 27 to build a recreational membership club. The consequence will be that the public would have no access to the park anymore.
“I am against a ban of access of the public to the park,” Hannah said.
When briefing the public on the case’s background, Hannah mentioned some other options – including lodging a report with the Malaysia Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to investigate the case.
However, for residents, it is just about preserving the green lung.
Subang Jaya Resident Association president AC Gill said the 18.9 acres targeted by Sime is the only flat land of the park, thus the conversion is contentious.
“Sime said we did not use that part. But the fact is, there is no facility there. When there is no facility, how are we going to use it?” he asked.
Premesh Chandran, a resident association member in USJ6 agreed with Hannah’s idea of getting the MACC involved. He said the public should know who the corrupted politicians were in this case.
In contrast, another group of residents voiced different opininons. The group setup a booth at the hotel’s entrance to distribute a “win-win” tee-shirt for free.
According to the group member – Annie, they agree with Sime’s second proposal (park upgrade) because it is a win-win situation for all.
“They will upgrade the park and surrender it back to MPSJ. So if you really want the park, you will go for win-win,” she said.
When asked where the free tee-shirt’s funds came from, the group refused to disclose any details.