MELAKA: The two controversial shortcuts - now scheduled to be closed - connecting Pulau Nibong to Jalan Akasia 4 and Jalan Akasia 7 respectively, were opened without consulting the residents of Taman Akasia in Pengkalan Batu here, says the residents association.
The man responsible for the shortcuts was Md Derus Tompang, the 58-year-old who was seen having a heated exchange with Pengkalan Batu assemblyman Norhizam Hassan Baktee in a recent viral video, claims Taman Akasia Residents Association chairman Mohd Shari Mohamed Amin.
He said the shortcut connecting Jalan Akasia 4 to Jalan Pulau Nibong was opened in 2005, while the one connecting Jalan Akasia 7 to Jalan Pulau Nibong was opened two years later.
"Md Derus was the one who responsible for the opening of the two shortcuts.
"He did not send any notice or discuss with us before the shortcuts were opened," he said when met on Wednesday (Oct 10).
He claimed one of the shortcuts was built with allocation given by the former Melaka chief minister, Tan Sri Mohd Ali Rustam.
Mohd Shari said a committee has collected signatures from the residents to protest the opening of the shortcuts and handed it over to the Melaka Historic City Council (MBMB).
He said at that time, Taman Akasia was under the administration of MBMB and the residents association had yet to be established.
"MBMB has not taken any action on our complaint.
"In March this year, the residents have agreed that the shortcuts needed to be closed during our meeting," he said.
When asked to give his account on what triggered the argument between Norhizam and villagers from Kampung Pulau Nibong before a planned dialogue to discuss the closure of the shortcuts on Tuesday (Oct 9), Mohd Shari said the state Agriculture, Entrepreneur Development and Agro-based Committee chairman has just arrived and was shaking hands with the waiting crowd.
He was supposed to head to a nearby tent where the discussion was to be held.
At this point, several people, including a woman, was seen arguing with the assemblyman in the video, and Md Deros along with several other villagers started hounding Norhizam and demanding that he answer their questions.
Mohd Shari said on behalf of the residents of Taman Akasia, he would like to thank Norhizam for his firmness in handling the issue despite some parties labelling him as a "gangster YB".
He said the residents have been suffering since 2007 due to the opening of the shortcuts.
"It is a non-issue actually, because the Kampung Sungai Nibong villagers still can use the Jalan Pulau Nibong, Lorong Hj Jalil and the Bukit Beruang road for their daily commute," he said.
Despite being seen arguing with the DAP assemblyman in the video, the woman, Juliah Mamat, has said that she accepted the decision to close the shortcuts for now and requested Norhizam to widen a certain portion of Jalan Sungai Nibong during the dialogue session later.
Md Derus, however, was reported to have said that he will bring the matter to court.
In the viral video, Norhizam was seen raising his voice during a dialogue over a road dispute.
The assemblyman was accused of being uncouth towards the villagers in an argument in Bukit Beruang here. He has denied the allegations.
The dialogue was arranged after some 600 residents of Taman Akasia demanded the link closed, following a spate of accidents and motorcycle thefts in the residential area.