PJD Link protesters voice out at climate change forum


By CY LEE

TENSIONS flared at a recent environmental forum in Petaling Jaya, attended by Selangor Mentri Besar Amirudin Shari, following protests by stakeholders against the Petaling Jaya Dispersal Link (PJD Link) Expressway highway project.

The Stakeholders cum Residents Against PJD Link (ScRAP) group made their opposition known during the event held at the PJ Live Arts venue by holding up banners with “PJD Link is destructive to the environment” and “Building PJD Link increases heat".

ScRAP chairman David Yoong was accused of "sabotaging" the forum by organisers, which he denied.

Yoong later expressed the group's frustration and apologised before highlighting their numerous unanswered appeals to the Mentri Besar's office, including four memorandums, the first of which was sent in March 2022.

“We apologise for carrying out the act during the event, but we believe we had no other choice after trying to get a response from the state government for so long.

“We wish the Selangor government will retain its decision to scrap the highway made during the election period last year.

“Petaling Jaya is supposed to be a low-carbon city but the elevated highway will damage and destroy the surrounding environment as well as create urban heat islands under the highway” said Yoong.

An urban heat island is a metropolitan area which is significantly warmer than its surrounding rural areas.

Yoong also raised concerns about the highway's alignment, saying that it lacked exits and failed to provide convenience or connectivity for local residents where the highway is planned.

The PJD Link, initially approved in principle by the Cabinet in November 2017 and by the state government in September 2020 contingent on impact assessment reports, has been a contentious issue.

On July 31 last year, Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Amirudin Shari had announced the decision to scrap the project, having posted on his social media account, “No PJD Link after we have assessed the impact assessment report. The State Government is not satisfied with the proposal and has decided to cancel the proposed construction of PJD Link.”

In an accompanying statement on the same social media post, Amirudin stated "the proposed PJD Link Expressway did not fulfil the conditions laid out by the Selangor Government, mainly in areas on the possible social impact of the development.”

Yoong also pointed out during the press conference that the focus group discussions carried out by the Social Impact Assessment consultant engaged by the developer showed that 27 out of 31 groups objected to the highway.

Talk of the project being revived emerged at the end of 2023 and a meeting among the developer and Selangor Economic Action Council (MTES), confirmed by a source with direct knowledge of the matter, was held on Jan 10.

The source however stated that the the decision on whether or not to go ahead had been “postponed until further notice".

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