In bid to save Ampang Park

The Ampang Park Shopping Centre is the first shopping centre in the country and a well-known landmark in Kuala Lumpur.

The Ampang Park Shopping Centre is the first shopping centre in the country and a well-known landmark in Kuala Lumpur.

AMPANG Park Shopping Centre tenants and shop owners have suggested that the proposed MRT station be built underneath a field, behind the shopping centre.

They want Mass Rapid Transit Corporation Sdn Bhd (MRTCorp) to relook at plans for the station and to preserve the shopping centre.

Ampang Park 1Malaysia Traders Association vice-president Wan Kamal Izzuddin Wan Kasim said the shop owners and MRT needed to arrive at a win-win situation that would benefit both parties.

“MRT should review the route so that it uses the field behind Ampang Park and does not directly affect the iconic shopping centre.

“This also ensures safety of the machineries and the construction process will be unhindered compared to taking over the mall and demolishing it,” he said at a press conference at Ampang Park, yesterday.

Wan Kamal said shop owners were kept in the dark about the plans and had asked for clarification from related authorities.

“Until now, we do not have any idea about the development plans and we deserve a detailed explanation.

”The tenants and shop owners are not against the Government’s plan to improve public transportation in the area but such land acquisition, without prior notice and discussion with related stakeholders is unfair,” he said.

He added that some tenants only found out about the acquisition after receiving a notice dated Sept 25 from the mall’s management and a letter from the Land Office.

On Oct 14, StarMetro had reported that the Federal Territory Land and Mines Department had published a gazette on July 30 notifying those owning lots in the area that thesewould be acquired for the MRT project.

Ampang Park was on that list.

The land acquisition is to make way for the Sungai Buloh-Serdang-Putrajaya MRT line construction.

Ampang Park Shopping Centre owners and tenants representative Dr Dzulkhaini Hussain said it was illogical to demolish Ampang Park for the station.

“I had a meeting with MRT on Oct 15 and they said the foundation of the shopping centre was a primary concern during the construction.

“However, the shopping centre could still operate even if land boring was carried out.

“For example, the MRT tunnel between the Merdeka MRT Station and Pasar Seni MRT Station was excavated and constructed beneath the shophouses while they were occupied and used. So, why can’t this apply to Ampang Park?” he said.

Dr Dzulkhaini also said the conditions stated by MRT for the shopping centre to remain was not acceptable.

“To keep the shopping centre, shop owners have to unanimously agree to vacate the mall, for at least seven years, during the MRT station’s construction and the shopping centre will be closed off with hoarding.

“This is unfair. Where are we supposed to go during that seven years?

“We were also not told about the compensation amount,” he said.

More than 20 shop owners and stakeholders turned up for the press conference to show support for the “Save Ampang Park” campaign.

Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur Bumiputra Traders and Hawkers Association vice-president Muhammad Baba Kutty, who was also present, said they would send an official letter to the Federal Territories Ministry to intervene in the matter.

“The Ampang Park Shopping Centre is a multicultural complex and the first shopping centre in Malaysia.

“The Government should preserve this as a heritage building,” he said.