Monday, September 27, 2021

Group ramps up pressure over Selangor highway, forest transfer

The residents group reminds the Selangor PH government of the promises in the coalition's election manifesto in the run-up to the 2018 polls.

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A residents group in Petaling Jaya has upped the pressure on the Selangor government over the controversial PJ Dispersal Link (PJD Link) highway project and the move to degazette part of a forest reserve for development, saying the Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration in the state has failed to show transparency and accountability in both issues.

The group said PH in its election manifesto before the 2018 polls had criticised the Barisan Nasional government at the time for allowing development to take place without regard for the environment and sustainability, accusing it of “being dictated (to) by large corporations and their crony capitalists”.

It also recalled PH’s pledge to govern the country “based on the principles of sustainability and sustainable development”.

“Thus, we are shocked to witness the political arrogance on the part of Hee,” it said, referring to state exco in charge of the environment Hee Loy Sian, who said in the Selangor assembly sitting on Aug 30 that the administration had already given the green light for the degazettement of the Kuala Langat North Forest Reserve (KLNFR).

Hee told the assembly that the PKR-led government had degazetted more than 530 hectares of the KLNFR for a mixed commercial development by private company Gabungan Indah Sdn Bhd.

“Since PH promised in its manifesto that all development projects must comply with international environmental protection standards before being granted approval, the onus is now on the Selangor PH state government to explain to the public on what basis has Gabungan Indah Sdn Bhd been granted the right to develop the degazetted portion of KLNFR,” the group said.

The KLNFR was gazetted as a forest reserve in 1927, covering more than 7,000 hectares, although only about 13% of that area remains a green lung today.

The group also hit out at the state government over the PJD Link project which had drawn comparisons with the Kidex highway, scrapped in 2015 by then-Selangor menteri besar Mohamed Azmin Ali following strong public pressure.

“The fact that the state government was willing to even consider a highway project similar to Kidex that was already scrapped by the previous administration is troubling,” it said.

“It would mean any developer who has its proposal rejected by the state government could repackage it in the hope of an eventual approval. That would be a waste of public resources and cause unnecessary anxiety to residents.”

It likewise reminded the PH state government of its election pledge to remain committed to economically sustainable public transportation.

“We are therefore dismayed that the Selangor government has not only failed to present a comprehensive public transportation plan for the state, but has instead gone against its own manifesto by agreeing ‘in principle’ to a toll highway that would cut through mature townships and further damage the environment.

“It is a highway that Petaling Jaya residents do not want, plain and simple.”

The group also urged Menteri Besar Amirudin Shari to rescind the degazettement of KLNFR and to cancel the PJD Link project.

“Until and unless these are done and officially documented in the state executive council minutes of meeting, the people of Selangor will continue to protest against the two plans,” it said.

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