GOMBAK, Sept 9 ― Taman Melawati residents living in Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Azmin Ali's constituency here urged today the state government uphold a property developer's original plans to build a park instead of a convention centre.
Razman Hakimi Abdullah, chairman of the Jalan ABC Taman Melawati residents’ association which he says has 5,000 members, said the Ampang Jaya Municipal Council (MPAJ) informed residents last May that the Mentri Besar’s Office had ordered Sime Darby Property to construct a convention centre in a 3.37-acre plot here instead of a park as originally planned.
Azmin is Gombak MP and Bukit Antarabangsa assemblyman.
The small plot of land currently houses Azmin's service centre, a parking lot and a futsal court, opposite the large Melawati Mall. Part of the land has been fenced off and appears to be abandoned.
“The park was in the Sime Darby regeneration plan five years ago,” Razman told reporters here.
Razman said the Central Park had also featured in Sime Darby Property's development plans and promotional materials for the nearby Serini Apartment, which is still under construction, and for the Gaya Apartment that was completed over three years ago. Sime Darby Property also owns the 10-storey Melawati Mall in the vicinity.
“You can put the convention centre in the mall. The sixth floor is empty,” said Razman.
Malay Mail Online's checks at Melawati Mall showed fewer than 10 businesses occupying the sixth floor currently. There is a cafe, a restaurant, a “kids' zone” for children to play, an aesthetic clinic, a massage centre and a beauty salon.
The whole shopping centre was also not fully occupied with tenants and most of the stores were quiet on a Saturday morning.
Razman said the cost of building the MPAJ convention centre would be split three ways between the Mentri Besar's Office, Sime Darby Property and MPAJ. The local council would run the convention centre and collect the rent.
He acknowledged that the contested site was private land belonging to Sime Darby Property and said the developer wanted to move the park 1km away to behind Serini Apartment.
“On Monday, we will send a petition to Azmin Ali, Saari Sungib and the YDP of MPAJ,” said Razman, adding that residents wanted the matter debated in the state legislative assembly.
An online petition to retain the original plans for a park has over 2,900 signatures.
The Selangor state government is led by PKR together with DAP and PAS.
Saari is Hulu Kelang assemblyman from Parti Amanah Negara, while the head of MPAJ is Abdul Hamid Hussain.