SIGNS of earthworks being carried out in Bukit Enggang, Bandar Sungai Long, Cheras have hikers questioning the nature of the project.
They fear that the project, which began last year, will contaminate the natural lake and streams in the area.
They also said that the project had shortened their hiking trail as they were no longer able to use the site because it became muddy when it rained.
The hill, also known as Sungai Long Hike, is a popular spot for hiking and group exercises among locals in the area and from nearby townships.
A check by StarMetro at the site, in late October, found two excavators.
There was also an inclined dirt road used by lorries to move further into the hill, in addition to several steel culverts and two piles of gravel.
A local, who declined to be named, said residents noticed construction activity at the site since August last year.
“But no one knows what development is taking place as there is no signboard erected anywhere in the area to inform us.
“It is important for us to know because this is a popular spot that many locals frequent for exercise, especially in the mornings and evenings, ” he said.
It takes about a 30-minute walk to get to the site, located about 4km from the entrance to the hill.
Another local who spoke on condition of anonymity, said she was told by the excavator operator that the earthwork was to fill a pond with soil. The pond is located next to the work site.
“Do they have the permit from the land and district office for earthworks?
“Now mud and sediment from the site is flowing into a nearby stream whenever it rains.
“This will lead to river pollution if it continues, ” she said.
Enquiries at various authorities did not yield much clarity on who the project owner was.
Hulu Langat Land and District Office technical and enforcement unit assistant legal officer Intan Shahirah Rosli said the department was aware of the project.
“We visited the site and found that the project is being carried out by a developer here.
“We checked with the Kajang Municipal Council’s (MPKj) Engineering Department and learned that the developer has obtained written approval, ” she said.
She added that the matter should be referred to MPKj for further details.
MPKj Public Relations head Kamarul Izlan Sulaiman said the work was for the construction of the East Klang Valley Expressway (EKVE) that was expected to be completed by the end of next year.
“Approval to repair and widen the main road at Bukit Enggang was issued on July 15, ” he said.
However, a spokesperson for Ahmad Zaki Resources Bhd, the developer for EKVE, denied that the work site in question was under its purview.
Bukit Enggang was formerly a forest reserve but its status changed in 1996.
According to news reports, the state government back then set aside 600 plots of 0.4ha each that were given to retired civil servants.
The plot owners who had intended to build houses, never did so due to the lack of infrastructure such as road access as well as power and water supplies.
Over the years, the vacant plots and the adjacent forest have become a favourite place among locals for exercise and recreation as they enjoy taking in the scenic view of Hulu Langat from atop the hill.
Residents also claim that some areas in the hill were being mined for sand.
Locals also raised concerns over the number of people going into the hill for their routine exercise amid the conditional movement control order.
They want the relevant authorities to supervise the area and enforce physical distancing among recreation seekers.
“A large number of vehicles are parked along the road near the hill’s entrance, especially in the morning and evening as people come here to cycle and jog, ” said Mohammad Mazza.
“I have no issue if they want to exercise but they need to ensure that the government’s standard operating procedures are followed, ” he added.
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