Sunday, August 1, 2021

PKR MP tells Selangor to stop controversial highway

William Leong urges the state government to put the people before 'the profits of a privatised toll highway concessionaire'.

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PKR’s Selayang MP William Leong today urged the Selangor government to reject the Petaling Jaya Dispersal Link (PJD Link), saying there are many other projects that can stimulate economic recovery in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a statement, he said the traffic, social and environmental impact for the project would be the same as that of the Kinrara-Damansara Expressway (Kidex), another controversial highway that was scrapped in 2015 following strong public objection.

“The objections and concerns raised by the people to the scrapped Kidex remain the same for the proposed PJD Link,” he said.

“The rebranding of Kidex by another name cannot address the concerns of the public.”

The PJD Link is being planned as a four-lane dual expressway that will commence after the NKVE toll plaza on the Sprint Highway, ending at the Bukit Jalil Highway Interchange.

It will link Petaling Jaya North, Bandar Utama, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, the Petaling Jaya city centre, Taman Dato Harun, Taman Medan Baru, Taman Sri Manja, Bandar Kinrara and Bukit Jalil Technology Park.

Leong’s response follows complaints by residents in the affected areas that their elected representatives have been silent despite their protest against the project.

They said Rajiv Rishyakaran, Jamaliah Jamaluddin and Ng Sze Han – the assemblymen for Bukit Gasing, Bandar Utama and Kinrara – had not responded to their concerns about the highway plan.

“Opposition to the PJD Link has been growing but the representatives are mostly non-responsive, which is not helpful and a serious cause for concern,” Josh Hong, a resident of Section 17, told MalaysiaNow.

Although he is MP for Selayang, Leong said he also has a responsibility to act for all Malaysians.

He said many of the residents who will be affected by the proposed highway are senior citizens or those who have used their life savings to purchase a home in the area.

“With the increased property prices, the dislocation arising from the project would force the affected residents to relocate to suburban areas further away.

“This will cause them to be separated from their immediate families providing support to them and the existing community that they have been living in for all these years. The physical and mental stress and health issues arising from the displacement cannot be compensated by monetary means.”

He urged the state government to prioritise the people over “the profits of a privatised toll highway concessionaire”.

“The transportation connectivity and accessibility can be addressed without sacrificing the interests of the residents affected by the proposed PJD Link,” he said.

“It bears to be reminded that one of the promises of the Pakatan Harapan government was to do away with toll highways.”

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