Residents opposed to a proposed elevated highway – known as the Petaling Jaya Dispersal Link – want the state government of Selangor and Petaling Jaya Mayor Mohd Sayuthi Bakar to hear out their concerns regarding the new highway.
Sheikh Moqhtar Kadir, who serves as chairman of a coalition opposed to the PJD Link, revealed that residents around the proposed dual-carriage expressway have been living in “fear and anxiety” after PJD Link Sdn Bhd announced in January that they would start work on the highway route by year-end, reported Free Malaysia Today (FMT).
However, efforts to set up meetings with the Petaling Jaya Mayor and Selangor Menteri Besar Amirudin Shari for the past few months have been unsuccessful, said Moqhtar.
“A right of hearing must be given to us,” he said after a Zoom meeting hosted by Petaling Jaya MP Maria Chin Abdullah.
“The developer was given this right for them to present their facts, so now, it’s only natural for us to be given that fairness to engage with the state, as well as the MB, to hear our side of the story,” Moqhtar told FMT.
He noted that the Mayor and the state government cannot just shut them down and claim that the project is “development goals”.
“Development goals must be sustainable and compatible with society,” he said.
The Zoom meeting saw representatives of resident associations from SS20, SS21, Section 4 and Section 11 voice out their opposition to the proposed elevated highway. They were joined by representatives of resident associations from Sections 14, Section 17, Section 19, and Section 20.
Those from Section 22, Section 51A as well as the Ehsan Ria Condominium in Section 11 also expressed their concerns.
Aside from the fear of losing their homes once PJD Link Sdn Bhd acquires land to make way for the highway, residents and business owners were also concerned of plummeting property prices once their houses or businesses are situated near the highway, said Moqhtar.
He shared that residents also worry of the serious accidents that could occur during the three-year construction period.
Moreover, thousands of trees would likely be chopped down, he added.
Businesses within the area were unanimous in their claim that the new highway would lead to an “unnecessarily enormous” amount of traffic, which also include noise, carbon emissions, pollution as well as the visual blight of an elevated highway.
Moqhtar pointed that the project’s social, traffic and environmental impact assessments are yet to be conducted.
FMT noted that Moqhtar’s concerns on transparency are nothing new.
In September 2020, Bukit Gasing Assemblyman Rajiv Rishyakaran urged the authority and PJD Link Sdn Bhd to share all relevant information regarding the proposed elevated highway with Petaling Jaya residents.
“What we know is that PJD Link has met the state government and presented something. We are curious to know what it was,” he told FMT.
In January, Amrish Hari Narayanan, Executive Director of PJD Link Sdn Bhd, said the highway is expected to generate 12,000 jobs as well as provide an economic output of around RM6.5 billion.
Selayang MP William Leong, however, noted that conversations on economic growth are meaningless in this case.
“We’ve missed the point when we talk about economic growth,” Leong, who is a Petaling Jaya resident since 1973, told the meeting.
“If we’re talking about growth, who is making money? It’s the 1%…We are talking about our lives and the lives of our children. PJ is a very mature community and the older people, like me, have spent their life savings on a house. If you ask them to go, where can they go?” he said as quoted by FMT.
“This will break families apart, and there will be human cost and misery which you cannot measure. The money (compensation) can never be enough…Let’s not talk about money, let’s talk about our way of life.”
Image source from Free Malaysia Today