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Friday July 29, 2011

Proposed highway to pass through Kota Damansara Forest Park

A new highway called the Damansara Shah Alam Highway (DASH) will be built in the Klang Valley near Damansara Perdana and will link to the Damansara-Puchong Highway.

The highway, which is part of the economic stimulus package, will pass though the Kota Damansara Forest Park (KDCFP).

The alignment for the highway is still being finalised and it will have a concession period of 40 years.

Need to be protected: The Kota Damansara Community Forest Reserve will be affected by the new highway.

Many are concerned over the encroachment of the forest and are questioning the need for another highway in Petaling Jaya.

The Kota Damansara Forest Park is part of Sungai Buloh Forest Reserve gazetted in 1898 which has been reduced over the years due to rapid development.

Last year, the Selangor Government gazetted the forest park as a reserve following requests from local organisations such as the Friends of Kota Damansara.

According to Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) honorary secretary Lim Teck Wyn, a briefing was held by the Projek Lintasan Kota Sdn Bhd (Prolintas), the concessionaire of the Ampang-KL Elevated Highway recently.

“It is all about the cost because acquiring land for such development will be more expensive.

“The forest is also gazetted as a botanical garden, so under National Land Code 1965, they cannot take any area without having a public inquiry.

Ultimate lure: This lake is a significant part of the forest.

“This is a federal project but when it comes to land, it is a state matter. So far no announcement has been made on either side but we hope people will respect the law.

“There is no mention of the highway in the Petaling Jaya Local Draft Plan or in the Kuala Lumpur City Plan 2020,” he said.

Lim also spoke on the diversity of the forest park which had many species of plants, birds and wildlife.

“The objective is to sustain more green areas and having a good quality of life in the Klang Valley.

“We need to assess the necessity of having this highway because of the MRT, high price of petrol and traffic congestion,” he said.

MNS president Prof Dr Maketab Mohamed said developers usually took the easy way out by clearing forest.

“The encroachment of the forest will destroy the various species of plants and animals,” he said,.

Friends of Kota Damansara (FoKD) co-chairman Dr Jeffrey Phang said they were against the idea.

“This is our national heritage in an urban area and we want to bring people together through nature. The developer is taking a short cut by not acquiring land,” he said.

He added that sustainable planning was needed instead of ad-hoc measures.

Since the first clearing of the forest park in 1988 for the construction of the North-South Highway, the forest has been slowly affected by various development projects. In 1992, 1,600ha was given to PKNS for the Kota Damansara township development.

When contacted Prolintas declined to comment on the proposed highway.

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