Saturday, July 31, 2021

The people vs the PJD Link

If the concerns of those directly affected by this proposed project are not properly addressed, the 'human costs' might be too burdensome for any political party to bear.

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I refer to the news article “PKR MP tells Selangor to stop controversial highway”.

Firstly, on behalf of the Concerned Residents Section 14 PJ Action Committee, I wish to thank William Leong, MP of Selayang, for his courageous objection to this proposed elevated highway. A cursory drive around Sections 4, 11, 12, 14, 17, 19, 20 and other affected areas in the matured township of PJ indicate an overwhelming objection (in the form of posters outside residents’ houses) to this controversial highway, formerly known as Kidex, which was axed in 2015 by then-menteri besar Mohamed Azmin Ali and has now been ‘resurrected’ as the PJD Link.

The question is why the current state government under the leadership of Amirudin Shari is ignoring the residents’ renewed objection and potentially reneging on the promise (manifesto) of Pakatan Harapan (PH) to do away with toll highways, as rightly mentioned by Leong. I would dare say PH’s successful takeover of power from Barisan National hinged upon, inter alia, the manifesto that was promised to the people. If indeed this state government were to approve this monstrous project, it would be making a political blunder in betraying the people’s trust.

Secondly, the state authority/elected representatives have a duty to explain to the people why this project is necessary and to show factual justifications and or merits for this proposed project by way of an independent traffic impact assessment, environmental impact assessment and its social implications. Notwithstanding the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, there are other ways important information can be disseminated to the residents and feedback collated. Failure to do this has effectively led to the presumption that the state government is deliberately hiding vital information from the residents, perhaps for fear of a backlash that could prejudice the “favourable position” of the private developer.

I have been a resident of PJ for the last 50 years and would feel deeply distressed and frustrated if an elevated highway were to be constructed in close proximity to my house. The physical and mental stress would be unbearable. Even if I were to be compensated for having to relocate elsewhere, life as a retiree would be miserable.

If the concerns of the people directly affected by this proposed project are not addressed properly, I am afraid the “human costs” would be far too burdensome for any political party to bear. It appears that the state government has to put the people’s interests ahead of the private developer. Period.

Abang Hamzah Datuk Abang Zainie is vice-president of the Concerned Residents of Section 14 PJ Action Committee.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the position of MalaysiaNow.

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