Did Selangor govt approve highway project behind our backs, ask PJ folk

Noel Achariam

PETALING Jaya residents are seeing red over the proposed 34.3km dual-carriage Petaling Jaya Dispersal Link (PJD Link) expressway that will cut through their neighbourhoods and affect up to 1,000 homes.

They questioned the Selangor government on the status of the project, asking if it had been approved despite earlier assurances given by the state government that it will not proceed.

This was because the project developers have now been given approval to engage with residents.

The Coalition Against PJD Link leader Sheikh Moqhtar Kadir said their objection against the mega highway started in 2016.

“We received assurances from former Selangor menteri besar Azmin Ali through Bukit Gasing assemblyman Rajiv Rishyakaran who said as long as Pakatan Harapan was administrating the state, we won’t have to worry about the project.

“However, what we want to know now is, if the project has been approved,” he told The Malaysian Insight.

Leader of the Coalition Against PJD Link Sheikh Moqhtar Kadir says despite assurances given by state authorities that the project will not move ahead, Petaling Jaya dwellers are puzzled as to why project developers have now been given approval to engage with residents. – The Malaysian Insight pic by Seth Akmal, August 24, 2021.

Moqhtar said in September 2020, the Selangor Economic Action Council (MTES) meeting chaired by Selangor Menteri Besar Amiruddin Shaari had given the nod to developers to engage with residents.

He said that the residents also wanted to know if the environmental impact assessment (EIA), traffic impact assessment (TIA) and social impact assessment (SIA) had been completed.

He said the proposed highway would bring enormous traffic flow, carbon emission, air pollution, as well as noise and visual disturbances, which will affect residents.

“During our last engagement with Selangor exco for infrastructure, public utilities, modernisation of agriculture and agro-based industry, Izham Hashim, on August 5, we were told no approval had been given by the state government (for the project).”

On July 31, Star Metro reported PJD Link (M) Sdn Bhd executive director Amrish Hari Narayanan as saying they had received approval from the authorities to proceed with the next stage of planning the alignment of the highway.

Amrish, however, said it was not the final alignment.

The Edge in August reported that the proposed highway was to run along Jalan Penchala and Jalan Sultan (PJ Sentral), crossing the federal highway towards Jalan Professor Khoo Kay Khim (previously Jalan Semangat) and Jalan Harapan, and then turning west along the Sprint highway towards the New Klang Valley expressway Damansara toll plaza.

Amrish was quoted as saying that he was still unable to determine the cost of the project until the alignment was completed.

The Malaysian Insight has contacted PJD Link Sdn Bhd and is awaiting their response.

Section 19 residents’ association vice-chairman Thomas Ng, says Petaling Jaya residents are not against development but building a multilevel highway will affect the livelihood of the people living in the affected areas. – The Malaysian Insight pic by Seth Akmal, August 24, 2021.

Project could affect up to 1,000 homes

This latest development has caused anxiety among dwellers in the affected areas.

Moqhtar said they were shocked to learn from a Chinese news report last month that the project had been approved by both the federal and state governments.

“We want Izham and Amiruddin to give us a direct answer on whether it (PJD Link) is approved or not,” he said.

“Why bring a mega highway into a matured neighbourhood? Houses will have to be acquired for the project and that’s the residents’ biggest fear.

Moqhtar said it was difficult to predict how many households would be affected as the alignment has yet to be finalised but estimated it could be in the region of 500 to 1,000 households.

He said they would be sending a letter to Amiruddin by the end of this month to express their objections to the highway.

Section 19 residents’ association vice-chairman Thomas Ng, meanwhile, said the city does not need another highway going through Petaling Jaya.

“I find that PJD Link is not what we want. We are already surrounded by highways.

“We are not against development, but building a multilevel highway will affect the livelihood of the people here.”

Ng hoped that the authorities can look into the project and shed some light on what was actually happening with the project.

Coalition Against PJD Link member Tan Yew Leong looks at Petaling Jaya-Damansara link highway plans. – The Malaysian Insight pic by Seth Akmal, August 24, 2021.

Is PJD Link to replace Kidex?

Moqhtar also questioned if the PJD Link was a substitute for the cancelled Kinrara–Damansara Expressway (Kidex) project in 2015.

“Is PJD Link the same as Kidex, which was cancelled in 2015 because the TIA, EIA and SIA conditions were not met?

“It was cancelled in Parliament. However, Azmin said the plans still existed in the Selangor State Structural Plan 2035.”

He said the former menteri besar had previously mentioned that Kidex alignment was to be removed from the Selangor State Structural Plan 2035 along with its cancellation in 2015.

“Later Azmin mentioned that it was mistakenly left in Plan 2035. Anyway, we are uninformed of the status of the alignment removal to date.

“We are writing to ensure this proposal is removed. We are puzzled with the developer’s claim of the impending mega highway development in 2022, when the exercise to remove the Kidex alignment is in progress.”

Moqhtar said the Section 14 residents’ association had sent a letter to former Petaling Jaya mayor Sayuthi Bakar to protest the highway project last December. – August 24, 2021.

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