Delaying progress


Going down: These old prewar buildings in Jalan Kem are slated for demolition as part of the redevelopment programme.(Below) The owner of an old flour mill standing outside his shop in Jalan Kem.

THE Selangor government’s re-urbanisation plan for the Jalan Kem area in Port Klang has hit a snag as landowners do not want to part with their properties, said Mentri Besar Azmin Ali.

The authorities, he said, were facing difficulties in acquiring the properties, most of which were now abandoned with some having burnt down in two fires over the past few years.

“Our plan is to redevelop parts of Jalan Kem, but we are facing issues of land acquisition as some have migrated making it more time consuming to search for the owners,” he said, adding that the re-urbanisation programme included the redevelopment of some old flats in the area.

Azmin added that the State Economic Planning Unit (UPEN) and the Mentri Besar Incorporated (MBI) were looking into the issue and that he had not been briefed on the latest development.

“Both UPEN and MBI are seeing how best the state can support the Klang Municipal Council (MPK) in the redevelopment project.

“We want to see whether the state government has the capacity to do it alone or involve the private sector,” he added.

In Selangor’s 2015 Budget, RM44.4mil had been set aside for land acquisition while another RM17.6mil has been allocated to acquire new assets for the state.

Dubbed a “ghost town,” the double-storey shophouses along Jalan Kem had seen several fires with remnants of thick brick walls and burnt timber beams being overrun by wild vegetation.

Left to rot: The elevated highway on the left has often been blamed for causing Jalan Kem’s fall into neglect. — filepic
Left to rot: The elevated highway on the left has often been blamed for causing Jalan Kem’s fall into neglect. — filepic

Once a thriving area located near the port, Jalan Kem experienced a downturn when the Federal Government built the North Port Bridge about 15 years ago allowing traffic to bypass it. Businesses there has since suffered losses.

Businesses in new areas such as Bandar Bukit Tinggi, Bandar Baru Klang, Bukit Raja and Bandar Botanic started to thrive.

Sources said the Selangor State Town and Country Planning Department (JPBD) had been tasked to acquire the abandoned properties that are in ruins and discuss with owners of other ramshackle buildings including the abandoned Rex Cinema building for a joint-venture development.

MPK president Datuk Mohammad Yacob said the council was in discussion with JPBD, UPEN and MBI to craft out a Port Klang Master Plan specifically to rejuvenate the Jalan Kem area.

Derelict: Pedestrians walking past one of the abandoned shophouses that is overgrown with vegetation along Jalan Kem. The building was ravaged by fire several years ago.
Derelict: Pedestrians walking past one of the abandoned shophouses that is overgrown with vegetation along Jalan Kem. The building was ravaged by fire several years ago.

Mohammad initiated the effort to clean up the surroundings of Jalan Kem and even neighbourhoods in Port Klang after StarMetro’s report on Nov 25 last year, titled “Turning into a ghost town’ caught Azmin’s attention, who later issued a directive to MPK to do a total clean-up.

On Dec 5 last year, StarMetro, front-paged workers cleaning up wild vegetation, sweeping streets, unclogging drains and removing illegal advertisements on walls and pillars.

The council also cleared illegally dumped garbage and construction debris.

Demolition of some of the abandoned buildings that were privately owned have also started in stages, which Mohammad said were being done in accordance to the law provided.

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