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After PJD Link debacle, evictions over ECRL megaproject haunt Amirudin in Gombak

At least 13 villages are at risk of demolition due to the East Coast Rail Link project.

Ahmad Mustakim Zulkifli
3 minute read
A banner hangs on a wall at Rawiyah Sulaiman Park, warning ECRL personnel against intruding into Batu 8 in Gombak.
A banner hangs on a wall at Rawiyah Sulaiman Park, warning ECRL personnel against intruding into Batu 8 in Gombak.

The East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project is set to loom large over Amirudin Shari's administration, even as the Selangor menteri besar faces a backlash over the Petaling Jaya Dispersal Link, another controversial project that he cancelled only to later hint that it could be reviewed if certain conditions are met.

Residents in his Gombak federal constituency are now questioning his stance on the land acquisition issue affected by ECRL, the mega railway project that spans the peninsula, which was once opposed by Pakatan Harapan (PH).

This comes after MalaysiaNow reported on concerns by residents in Taman Sungai Sireh, Klang, about the fate of their homes, with 89 houses at risk of demolition to make way for the ECRL.

Now, another 13 villages in northern Gombak could face demolition due to the project.

Residents claim that ECRL contractors employed unethical means similar to those in Taman Sungai Sireh, where houses have been marked for demolition without their consent.

Desa Mukmin Warisan, Batu 7 residents' association chairman Mohmad Najib Mokhtar said that a total of 64 houses have received notices from the Selangor Land and Mines Office and the Department of Lands and Mines.

"The Selangor state government's actions have put close to 200 families here under constant anxiety and a high level of stress because they were not consulted beforehand.

"ECRL workers have also been coming and going and doing as they pleased," he said, adding that the situation has led residents to feel that their plight is being ignored by the state government.

Najib said residents are in the dark about whether they will be relocated, compensated, or if the project will be carried out forcibly.

He also said that Amirudin has met with the residents twice and informed them that the final ECRL stop will be located at Batu 16, while the track will be diverted to Serendah.

"We believed what he said during Hari Raya, but we want to meet him again because ECRL workers' intrusions have been getting more frequent.

"There's still no response from the menteri besar," he added.

The over 600km-long ECRL project, a brainchild of former prime minister Najib Razak, is being undertaken by China Communications Construction Company Ltd.

Amirudin, who became Gombak MP after the 14th general election, said in a recent press conference that ECRL construction was now focused in the Gombak area, heading towards Serendah.

"I feel we're focusing there (Gombak), and I'll also provide a solution for Gombak.

"I'll explain that later," said Amirudin, whose state government is facing the biggest challenge from a resurgent opposition at the Aug 12 state polls.

Rawiyah Kamil, a pioneer settler of Taman Rawiyah Sulaiman, Batu 8 in Gombak.
Rawiyah Kamil, a pioneer settler of Taman Rawiyah Sulaiman, Batu 8 in Gombak.

In Taman Rawiyah Sulaiman, Batu 8, pioneer settler Rawiyah Kamil expressed concern about the unfavourable response from the state government.

She said ECRL personnel have been encroaching since 2016.

"My son filed a report at the police station. They stopped but continued again until 2022.

"Last year they used various means to encroach. They would come around 10 or 11am when the villagers weren't around," she told MalaysiaNow.

Rawiyah Kamil cleans in her orchard at Taman Rawiyah Sulaiman, Batu 8, Gombak.
Rawiyah Kamil cleans her orchard at Taman Rawiyah Sulaiman, Batu 8 in Gombak.

Rawiyah said the ECRL line will go through the middle of the village, which means those on the hill cannot come down, and those at the bottom cannot go up.

She added that they did not want to move because they wanted to preserve the Malay community on the Malay reserve land.

The ECRL construction has also disrupted Orang Asli villages, with a village head in Kampung Orang Asli, Batu 16 saying his orchard was destroyed to create a path for the project's tunnel works.

The village head, known as Tok Ulang, wants compensation for the damaged orchard and the river affected by the road excavation for the ECRL.

"They have paid compensation for part of the damaged orchard, but the rest is pending, including for the polluted river," he said, adding that the excavated land also posed a risk of damaging the house of one of the Orang Asli families there.

"When it rains, a lot of water flows into the house because the contractor didn't build drainage," he said.