RESIDENTS are against a decision by the Subang Jaya City Council (MBSJ) to turn a 0.28 ha public park in Taman Puchong Intan, Selangor into an open-air parking lot with 107 bays.
“It’s absurd that MBSJ cut down about 30 mature trees and used green space to build a parking lot,” said resident Wong Wai Yein.
“Elderly people and children will be deprived of green space, so important to their well-being,” he said after voicing his objection through a signature campaign.
On the edge of Taman Puchong Intan Phase One’s Jalan Intan 2 Recreational Park is Puchong Intan Apartment with 10 floors and Sri Naga Nageswari Alayam Hindu Temple.
Across the public park are 378 one-story townhouses, 240 walk-up boutique house units, and Surau An-Nur.
On the grounds of the park there are swings and slides for children.
Wong said that by continuing with this project, MBSJ contradicted the UN-Habitat scroll of honor he had received.
In October 2020, MBSJ received the UN-Habitat Scroll of Honor in recognition of its holistic and integrated approach to sustainable urbanization.
Supervisor James Chen, who was met at the site, posted the layout plan.
Environmental engineer Suliman Sa’ari, 45, who visits the park on weekends, said the tree canopies help cool the surrounding residential and commercial areas.
“MBSJ’s act of cutting down trees to remove this public park is destructive in nature.
“A park helps reduce carbon dioxide which drives climate change and causes heat waves,” he said.
Suliman added that the park was important because the Damansara-Puchong highway and the Puchong Barat toll plaza were within a few hundred meters of the green lung, which helped filter harmful carbon emissions from traffic.
Religious school teacher Khadijah Esah Muji, 35, said the public park should be kept.
“Residents heard the sound of a chainsaw and the sound of a tree crashing last week. It made our hearts skip a beat.
“Tall trees provide shade. MBSJ must stop the wanton destruction of a public space,” said Khadijah, who has a five-year-old child with autism.
She said the park provided parents with children with special needs with a natural environment that was important to their well-being.
“People’s opinions have not been solicited and that is worrying.
“It erodes public confidence in authorities and elected officials,” she added.
Save Jalan Intan 2 Recreation Park Pro-tem Committee Head S. Deva Varman said majority of Taman Puchong Intan Phase One residents are against the construction of the parking lot at the recreation site.
“On March 30, a two-decade-old yellow flame tree (pelthophorum pterocarpum) in full bloom was felled.
“Residents protested this and it was stopped.
“But on April 6, another tree fell,” he said.
Deva, a sound engineer, said protests against the project were growing, with residents backing an ongoing door-to-door signing campaign.
“Our neighborhood has enough parking spaces.
“We don’t need this project because it will do more harm than good.
“At the public park, we have 11 Yellow Flame trees along with eight mahogany, five coconut and two mango apple trees which also serve as habitat for birds,” Deva said as she hugged a tree in an act of protest.
“MBSJ should not develop this green space.
“During a downpour, rainwater will have nowhere to go except into the drains, which could lead to flash flooding.
“It is crucial to maintain this field in its natural state,” he stressed.
MBSJ Councilor Mohd Fitri Jamaludin, 37, who is in charge of Zone 13 which covers Taman Puchong Intan, Taman Puchong Indah and Taman Puchong Perdana, said he ordered workers to stop cutting down trees and remove all chainsaws.
“I will raise the issue with MBSJ this week,” he said.
Azfarizal Abdul Rashid, Deputy Director of Corporate and Strategic Management Department of MBSJ, confirmed that approval had been given for the construction of 107 public parking spaces in the park.
“Of the total area of 0.28 ha, part of the park will be occupied by the parking lot which will accommodate the residents of the Puchong Intan apartment.
“The balance of 0.1 ha will be left as recreational space,” he said, adding that approval for the project was given on January 26.