INFRASTRUCTURE network, especially roads and highways, has contributed significantly to the development of new townships in many parts of Malaysia. New growth corridors have appeared virtually overnight after plans to construct these travelling networks were announced.
In the Klang Valley alone, robust development activities are underway in many parts of Kuala Lumpur and Selangor since the completion of major road networks.
The Damansara-Puchong Expressway has spawned rapid development in the southern corridor of Puchong, Seri Kembangan, Sepang and Putrajaya.
Hulu Langat, in the south-eastern corridor of the Klang Valley, is also rapidly growing, thanks to the many infrastructure projects underway.
According to the Population and Housing Census Malaysia, 2000, the population of Hulu Langat increased from 177,900 in 1980 to 413,900 in 1991 and 865,500 in 2000.
This population growth of some 4.86 times over the two decades indicated its potential as a new growth corridor. Development activities in the corridor are mainly concentrated within the Cheras/Kajang Semenyih corridor.
According to JB RundingHarta Sdn Bhd research head Mohamad Harith Hamid, the major contributory factor for the rapid growth in the corridor is the completed and ongoing infrastructure connections to and within Kajang and its surrounding areas.
It now takes about 30 to 40 minutes to travel from Kajang and its periphery to Kuala Lumpur city centre via the Kajang/Cheras Kuala Lumpur Highway, the Bandar Baru Bangi to Sungai Besi stretch of the North-South Expressway, and the Kajang-Hulu Langat/Ampang /Kuala Lumpur arterial road.
Several major road connections are presently under construction which will connect Kajang and its peripheral areas to the south of the Klang Valley and provide direct access to the Kuala Lumpur city centre.
These include the Kajang-Seremban Highway, which starts at the point where the Kuala Lumpur/Cheras - Kajang Highway ends. Beginning from Saujana Impian in Kajang, it passes by Sungai Kantan, Taman Sri Jenaris, Prima Saujana, Kajang Perdana, Sungai Jelok and Taman Asa Jaya, and then cuts across the old Kajang-Semenyih trunk road in a south-west direction bypassing Semenyih town.
From here, the highway will cut across the old Semenyih-Bangi Lama road passing by old established areas such as Connemara Estate, Rinching Estate and southwards across Kg Sg Rincing, Kg Sg Kembong, Kg Pajam, Batang Benar and towards Seremban, ending in Paroi close to the Seremban-Kuala Pilah main road.
The stretch from Saujana Impian to Taman Asa Jaya in Kajang has been completed while the portion from Taman Asa Jaya to Rinching has been cleared and levelled. Earthworks are now underway.
Another highway servicing the corridor will be the Kajang Outer Ring Road (Silk Highway), scheduled for opening at the end of this year.
Beginning from The Mines Shopping City in Serdang, it is actually an upgrading of the existing Balakong road, near the eastern flank of the North-South Expressway.
Running eastwards and cutting across the Cheras Highway at Kampung Bukit Dukung into Bandar Sungai Long, it traverses southwards across Sg Pening Malay Reservation. From here, the highway will cut across the old Kajang-Semenyih Road near Kajang Estate and thereafter westwards across Jalan Reko (the main road linking Kajang with Bandar Baru Bangi) towards Kampung Sg Ramal, and finally linking up with the main access road to Putrajaya in the west.
The extension of the highway will continue westwards passing by Cyberjaya, Bukit Cheeding area, Telok Panglima locality, across through Pulau Carey and thereafter ending in Pulau Indah in Port Klang.
The completion of the Silk Highway will eventually bring about development in those areas where it passes through and boost the economic growth of these areas.
Among the residential areas within the Kajang corridor traversed by the highway are Balakong, Kajang, Taman Sg Besi Indah, Bandar Teknoloji Kajang, Taman Bukit Belimbing, Taman Kajang Utama, Taman Tanming Jaya , Section 5 Bandar Baru Bangi, Taman Cheras Jaya, Taman Impian Ehsan, Country Heights Kajang, Putrajaya, Cheras and Bandar Sg Long.
Harith said the coming on stream of these infrastructure facilities had opened up many areas, namely the Balakong, Cheras, Kajang, and Semenyih corridor.
The main developers involved in residential developments along the Kajang-Semenyih corridor include the Metro Kajang group, Sunway group, Bandar Tasik Semenyih Sdn Bhd and some smaller developers.
Harith said Semenyih, which was once considered the backyard of Kajang, was now an active development corridor with many residential schemes underway.
Developments along the Semenyih-Beranang road include Bandar Rinching, a relatively large housing scheme undertaken by National Land Finance Cooperative Society, and Pelangi Semenyih by the Metro Kajang group on the former Sarringit Estate.
Further down the same road is another large housing scheme developed by the Nam Fatt group, known as Bandar Tasik Kesuma, he added.
The developments here are a welcome alternative, especially to the middle-income population, as the comparable landed residential units are priced relatively lower than those in Kajang and Cheras.