KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 21 — Allegations that development in Kampung Baru will push the Malays out of the federal capital are not true and completely baseless, said Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
The Prime Minister said the interest and position of the Malays would be the thrust to any development effort in Kampung Baru as provided under the Kampung Baru Development Corporation Act.
“The act itself states that the interest of Malays in terms of social, economic, heritage, cultural and historical values would be given priority in every development implemented.
“I was also told that any development in Kampung Baru also needs to adhere to the stipulated Malay Islamic architectural guidelines. It means the development of Kampung Baru will take into consideration every aspect of its heritage and history and it will be preserved as a symbol of the Malays at the centre of the federal capital,” he said.
He was opening a townhall session via a five-minute video presentation, for owners and heirs of Kampung Baru here today. The event was attended by Federal Territories Minister Khalid Abdul Samad
Dr Mahathir said the idea to redevelop Kampung Baru had been discussed since the 80’s and 90’s and the government had also received feedback on the matter.
“Some are supportive and some are not. Unfortunately, after several decades, Kampung Baru is still like it was many years ago. It displayed two conflicting faces.
“On one hand, it is the symbol of Malay pride in the federal capital and on the other hand while Kuala Lumpur has grown to become a metropolis, time has apparently stood still in Kampung Baru and the disorganised situation and congestions made it unappealing ,” he said.
As such, to overcome the problem, Dr Mahathir said a shakeup is necessary to redevelop Kampung Baru and if it was not carried out, it would be going against the surrounding areas causing Kampung Baru to be squeezed in the middle of rapid development and marginalised by the wave of modernisation.
He said a large portion of the Malays themselves did not choose to live in Kampung Baru and what is even more unfortunate, foreigners are now living and carrying out business in the area.
“I assume the environment in Kampung Baru is not longer comfortable, as such it is better if the area is developed and reorganised, complete with various public amenities and an efficient infrastructure network while the open space could be used for recreational and community activities.
“Obviously many Malays will be interested to live here (then) and it will directly help to boost the appreciation of property value here. Those who had left (Kampung Baru) may consider returning then,” he said.
More than 3,000 Kampung Baru owners and inheritors attended the townhall session conducted by Khalid.
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