Pakatan Selangor lawmakers leave Khalid in the lurch over Kidex


Sheridan Mahavera, The Malaysian Insider

Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim now finds himself in a corner after Selangor’s Pakatan Rakyat (PR) lawmakers openly sided with Petaling Jaya residents against the controversial Kinrara-Damansara Expressway (Kidex) and called on the menteri besar to review his decision to approve the RM2.42 billion project.

A Selangor PKR official said the state’s handling of the Putrajaya-initiated project could cost them public support in Selangor, which has been hyped up as the coalition’s “role model” administration.

Instead, the lawmakers want the state government to first present the details of the proposed 14.9km expressway to residents whose homes and communities it would drastically affect, before allowing the project to go ahead.

They also voiced doubts over the developer’s claims that the expressway would reduce traffic congestion and cut travel time.

PKR’s Taman Medan assemblyman Haniza Talha said the project’s impact on such a dense area of the Klang valley seemed to outweigh the developer’s so-called claims that it would reduce traffic congestion.

DAP’s Kinrara assemblyperson Ng Sze Han, meanwhile, said that residents in his constituency seriously doubted the developers’ claims that Kidex would help them in their travel across the Klang valley.

Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo, whose area the project would supposedly benefit, also wants Khalid to live up to Pakatan’s original election promises to be more people-friendly and to listen to local concerns.

The state government has been severely criticised for allowing the Putrajaya-approved Kidex project to go ahead. The expressway is elevated for 90% of its length and has seven interchanges and three toll plazas.

The elevated expressway will tower over homes, schools and businesses in densely populated central Petaling Jaya as it winds its way from Kinrara in the southern part of the Klang valley to Bandar Utama in the north.

Petaling Jaya residents have banded together to try and stop the project which they claim will worsen already clogged roads, risk the safety of schoolchildren and pollute their neighbourhoods.

The developer, Kidex Sdn Bhd, has claimed that once ready in four years’ time, it would reduce travel time between Damansara and Kinrara by about 25%.

The company also claimed that the journey time from Puchong to Petaling Jaya could be cut by 50%.

Haniza, whose Taman Medan constituency would be one of the areas affected, said the responsible thing to do would be to first consult the residents before approving the project.

“The state government should reconsider its approval. The process has to be right. Consent should first be sought from all those affected along the route of the highway.

“It’s unfair to them to approve it without listening to their concerns,” said Haniza, who doubts the developers’ claims that the project would reduce congestion.

“Don’t just say we have to be fair to the company. The company is there to make a profit. Not to really solve congestion,” said Haniza of Selangor PKR.

Selangor PKR deputy chief Zuraida Kamaruddin also questioned whether the state government had scrutinised the developers’ purported claims of traffic reduction against the social and environmental costs of its construction.

“The company only says Kidex will cut traffic by about 20% to 30%. Is this worth it when considering the enormous impact it will have on residents along its route?” said Zuraida, who is also Ampang MP.

“We have to relook at the project again and think of ways that will not affect the people. This project affects the state government’s performance and that of Pakatan and the party in Selangor.”