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Things get ugly during protest on high-density development project held in front of the Seputeh Umno office building where a wedding was taking place inside.

KUALA LUMPUR: A press conference attended by DAP’s Teresa Kok outside a building occupied by Seputeh Umno here turned ugly when party supporters stormed out to disrupt it, saying the gathering was insensitive to those attending a wedding inside.

The press conference was being held with residents in the Taman Desa area who were protesting against plans to develop a high-rise apartment building on the site instead of a community centre.

A man wearing a blue t-shirt charged towards those gathered outside and shouted: “Respect us! Go have your press conference elsewhere. How would you feel if people gathered outside your house?”

The melee was sparked by one of the protest signs displayed at the press conference that read: Rakyat Malaysia tak nak TPPA (Malaysians reject the TPPA) on one side and Wahai DBKL! Bersama melestarikan Kuala Lumpur – Penduduk Desa (Dear DBKL, let’s make Kuala Lumpur sustainable – Desa residents).

The man yelled that this was an “Umno’s area.” One of Kok’s assistants confronted him, insisting that the area was a public space.

Things cooled down only when one of the wedding organisers explained that the press conference was distracting guests attending the ceremony inside.

On hearing this, Kok, who is MP for Seputeh, agreed to wrap-up the press conference quickly but not before highlighting how the government persecuted the opposition.

“You see the kind of oppression that is taking place here,” she told reporters.

“This place was meant to be a community centre, now it’s an Umno Seputeh office, and DBKL wants to tear it down and build a condominium.”

The residents were protesting Kuala Lumpur City Hall’s approval of a plan by Era Ecoland Sdn Bhd for the construction of the high-rise structure comprising 323 units of affordable housing, asserting that the site was meant to be a community centre.

“We have objected to this since August last year and official letters have been sent,” Kok said, adding that there still had not been a hearing on the matter.

Also present was Taman Desa Residents Association deputy president Yap Biow Hwee.

“We are worried that if you bring in more residents then we will have issues such as huge traffic jams in an already congested area, water pressure issues, sewage and drainage issues, among others. We already have 20 apartments and condominiums in Taman Desa,” he said.

He added that existing problems in the area had not been resolved by DBKL due to ‘budget issues’.

“We’ve been complaining about a monsoon drain in the area that needs fixing for a long time now but they can’t do it and the reason they give is there isn’t enough money.

“Now suddenly they’re going to build this high-rise building here and this is not the only place there will be new developments,” he said, adding that even more issues would crop up that would remain unfixed because “they don’t have the money.”

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