Group protests against project

A GROUP of Petaling Jaya residents is urging their MP and assemblyman to highlight their objections over the upcoming Kinrara-Damansara Expressway (Kidex).

About 50 residents expressed their concerns at a meeting attended by Damansara Utama assemblyman Yeo Bee Yin and Petaling Jaya city councillor Lee Suet Sern.

Tempers flared at the meeting as residents were unhappy with the breach of promise made by the Pakatan-led government prior to the elections.

The residents’ spokesman Yoong Lai Hon urged the state government to honour the promises made before GE13.

“In its Buku Jingga GE13 manifesto, Pakatan Rakyat promised to abolish tolls. Why are they now allowing a tolled highway to be built over and through a city under their governance?” he asked.

Others echoed his view and urged for a better public transportation system instead of a highway.

Former Petaling Jaya city councillor Mak Khuin Weng, who was also present, wanted to know why the state government had published a Government Gazettement dated July 18, 2013, targetting and freezing 3,784 lots of land for possible acquisition.

“Why didn’t the state insist on an open, competitive tender and transparent assessment for a project that will take place in a city under its jurisdiction?” Mak asked.

The Kidex highway project was awarded to Kidex Sdn Bhd in November last year.

Mak said, in general, residents wanted well-designed traffic dispersion highways that would go around the city instead of cutting through residential areas.

He added that the highway must not scar the existing skyline of Petaling Jaya, and it should not pose a physical hazard and threaten the psycho-social well-being of residents and highway users.

Mak urged the elected representatives, including Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim, to support the residents’ requests.

“Stop the Kidex project! The state government has the right not to allow the land to be acquired for the project. The Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) also has the right to withhold all planning and construction approvals,” he said.

Meanwhile, Yeo urged the residents to demand more information from Kidex and to have strong arguments in support of their objections.

“Residents should first ask for the most exact alignment of the highway.

“They must also ask Kidex how the project will improve the lives of people living in Petaling Jaya and Puchong,” she said.

She urged the public to take the opportunity to press for the precise details at an upcoming public hearing that would be attended by Kidex representatives.

Lee said the highway could only be built after an amendment to the local plan, but this had not been done as MBPJ was not convinced by the Kidex plan.

“During our last meeting, Kidex did not provide details such as the exact route of the highway.

“We have also requested for the hearing to be held on a weekend as more residents will be able to attend,” he said.

He said Kidex had not decided on a date for the public hearing but he urged residents to attend once notified.

Previous reports said the highway was estimated to cost RM2.42bil and it would be a 90% elevated highway.

Work is expected to begin early next year and may take up to fours years to complete.

The acquisition of land could start as early as the end of this year.

It was reported that Kidex Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Datuk Mohd Nor Idrus wants to engage with residents and community leaders to provide all the necessary details.

Mohd Nor Idrus previously said that in view of the high population density in its catchment area and the large number of built-up structures along its alignment, the highway would primarily travel along existing local roads.

Hence, he said only 380 lots of land would be acquired.

“The issue of land acquisition and compensation is under the Government’s jurisdiction.

“Of the 3,784 lots that will be affected by the land freeze, only less than 10% will be acquired. Most will be industrial lots,” he added.

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