LATEST: Why did City Hall turn down UDA's proposal to build sub-RM200k homes at the contentious Kg Datuk Keramat site? A Titiwangsa resident blogging as Pusak Gagah does not have the answer but provides proof that UDA did make that offer to DBKL in writing ... and was rejected!! Read the scoop, H E R E.
A tiff between residents and local authorities usually don't end well for the residents. Especially if the residents are low-end citizens - taxi drivers, labourers, petty traders, unemployed grads - and the authorities concerned happen to be backed by well-connected businessmen or developers.
I've seen it happened many times when I was with the newspapers, especially when I was heading the Malay Mail in 2001-2006.
In one case we were covering, even Bangsar's most affluent stood no chance against this gang of cronies who had found a new hobby, i.e. running restaurants and decided they wanted to open up a row of cafes and diners in Bangsar. The RA protested strongly and at first the residents had access to the media and the support of their wakil rakyat but in the end they were up against powerful people with access not just to the PMO but to the PM himself! So the residents got thumped and the cronies went on to build their little diners and cafes right at the residents' doorsteps!
But that wasn't the end of the story, you see. The angry Bangsar folks took up their fight to the ballot boxes during the next general election. We in the know have always believed that the incident involving this small group of self-serving cronies was a major contributing factor to Shahrizat Jalil's shock defeat in Lembah Pantai to first-timer Nurul Izzah in the 2008 polls.
The row of crony restaurants in Bangsar has since closed down but Lembah Pantai remains with PKR until today.
The case involving Kampung Datuk Keramat residents protesting the proposed development of two high-rise luxury apartments in their midst reminds me of the crony restaurant story.
Keramat's residents are lower-income folks up against the Mayor of Kuala Lumpur and the mighty City Hall. And a newly-set up housing development company with purportedly no previous experience in building homes, which led people to smell something fishy about the whole thing.
By right, it would have been a classic David vs Goliath case.
Except that the residents have, as their champion and defender, Datuk Johari Abdul Ghani, the MP of Titiwangsa and Deputy Minister of Finance.
I gotta salute this YB DJ for his courage and tenacity. I really thought Umno had stopped making wakil rakyats like him anymore. But here he is fighting for the ordinary people against the system of which he is, like it or not, part of.
Some people may say that it's DJ's job anyway as MP. What they must understand is that despite his position as wakil rakyat and deputy minister, the risks involved are huge. This is not a stroll in the park. This isn't a cheap publicity stunt. DJ can't afford to fail the residents, or what happened to Lembah Pantai may happen to Titiwangsa.
DBKL, please explain this, Pusak Gagah, 10 Nov
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