By Shalini Ravindran
THE planned demolition this month of two remaining blocks of Highland Towers is delayed due to compensation issues. Ampang Jaya Municipal Council (MPAJ) president Datuk Abdul Hamid Hussain said the Highland Towers Redevelopment Committee was in the midst of negotiating compensation with several owners of the remaining units.
In March, Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin said the two towers would be demolished latest by June. She said the committee had prepared a report on the structure of the condominium, and would decide on the agency which would carry out the demolition works, either the Public Works Department (JKR) or MPAJ.
On Dec 11, 1993, one of the three Highland Towers blocks collapsed, killing 48 in the nation’s worst housing tragedy. It was determined that the earth gave way after 10 days of rainfall causing the landslide. Residents of the two other blocks were subsequently evacuated. There were plans to repair the two blocks in 1995, but checks revealed that both structures were unstable and that demolition was the only option.
Zuraida had previously said that the site where the two towers currently stand would be turned into a recreational park after they were demolished as the area was not suitable for any structure. It was also reported that there were plans to build 50 bungalows on 8ha land around the Highland Towers site.
A committee comprising 10 government agencies was formed to study the redevelopment plans, namely the Selangor government, Land and Mines Department, Mineral and Geoscience Department, Drainage and Irrigation Department, JKR and MPAJ. The ministries involved were Finance, Economic Affairs, Works, as well as Environment and Natural Resources.