JOY turned to despair and anger when Bandar Mahkota Cheras residents learnt that the toll-free access road to the Cheras-Kajang Highway would not be opened yesterday as earlier anticipated.
More than 700 angry residents who had gathered at the barricade under the flyover before the Cheras 11th mile toll plaza and at the junction to Bandar Tun Hussein Onn took matters into their own hands by forcefully removing the blockage.
With the use of heavy machinery, they removed the barrier placed by highway concessionaire Grand Saga Sdn Bhd in 2006 and defied an order from the Selangor state government to wait till Wednesday.
An excited crowd lead by Bandar Mahkota Cheras Open Access Road Committee chairman Tan Boon Wah had earlier gathered at the location yesterday, expecting the Kajang Municipal Council (MPKj) to remove the barrier at 10am.
This came about because on Friday, Selangor State Local Government, Study and Research Committee chairman Ronnie Liu had said that the land belonged to the state and gave the council the power to act.
At 10.20am, heavy machinery brought in by the Bandar Mahkota Cheras Open Access Road Committee with the help of developer Narajaya Sdn Bhd which built the road, began drilling holes into the concrete barriers, amidst cheers from the residents.
Elected representatives who addressed the jubilant crowd in the morning were Hulu Langat MP Che Rosli Che Mat of PAS, Serdang MP Teo Nie Ching and Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng, both of the DAP.
Work was stopped at 10.40am when MPKj president Datuk Hasan Nawawi Abdul Rahman arrived to announce the bad news that the wait would be prolonged.
“The council has received orders from the state government to appoint a surveyor to determine who has right of way over the road.
“The surveyor will collect reports from the Malaysian Highway Authority, Narajaya and Grand Saga and deliver his findings on Wednesday,” Hasan told the crowd who booed and jeered at him.
Calls were then made to the state government to ascertain if this was true.
The elected representatives then left for Menara MPKj to view the letter purportedly from Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim, asking for all work to stop and for the crowd to disperse peacefully.
“We were told to wait but the federal and state governments must understand that we cannot wait any longer. Who is Grand Saga to flex its muscles so that we residents have to live with traffic jams every single day?” Tan asked.
Bandar Mahkota Cheras residents Phoon Chee Kai, 68 and Kelly Moh, 35, said they were tired of battling traffic every day just to access the highway using a longer route that measured 4.5km.
Residents were unanimous in their decision to ignore the calls to stop work and the barriers were removed by 4pm. Re-surfacing work was carried out soon afterwards.