KUALA LUMPUR: There is hope yet for landowners to appeal for adjustments to the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) alignment. Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said he will take up the suggestions of those affected with Syarikat Prasarana Negara Bhd.
Nazri said he is confident that Prasarana would consider a suggestion by landowners in Jalan Sultan and Jalan Petaling for an alternative route since it had taken note of the suggestion by Taman Tun Dr Ismail residents to realign the route and relocate the station at an alternative area.
"Hence there is a precedent and it does not mean that what has been planned is already cast in stone. I was made to understand that the planning in TTDI was altered because there were objections. This is also a logical, legitimate and valid request and needs to be given the same consideration," said Nazri after a meeting with the Jalan Sultan-Jalan Petaling Heritage committee and Pandan MP Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat.
The Jalan Sultan-Jalan Petaling landowners have suggested an alternative route where the alignment could pass through Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock, Jalan Tun Perak and Jalan Pudu ending at Plaza Rakyat which is next to Pudu Sentral.
It would also present an opportunity to revive the abandoned Plaza Rakyat project. The present route cuts through Jalan Sultan which will affect a number of heritage buildings.
"Their explanation is very logical. In line with best practices for underground engineering, you must construct under broader roads. There should not be any sharp cornering [for underground trains].
"They have done their studies and they are not suggesting an alternative that is plucked out of thin air. Their alternative suggestion is solid," said Nazri who will meet with Prasarana group managing director Shahril Moktar next week to discuss the suggestion for realignment.
"If we can get agreement for realignment then I don't have to refer the matter to the higher authorities," he said. The affected landowners are not against the project but want their suggestion for realignment considered, said Nazri.
He said Prasarana is still in charge of the MRT project as there has been no official transfer to MRT Co.
"I have spoken with Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop and Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah. For the moment it is still Prasarana, but when I meet Prasarana, if they advise me to meet with MRT Co, no problem," said Nazri.
Asked if the land issue would push back the project implementation schedule, Nazri replied: "It is in the consultation period now. It has not yet been finalised."
On the issue of constructing commercial buildings on acquired land, he said: "The acquisition would be made for the station but the land surrounding it, if not used for the station or for a public purpose, must be bought at the commercial price.
"But on the land that we acquire for the station, if MRT wants to build a high-rise building, there is nothing you can do. The land is acquired for the station. The station is there. How can you own the land and not the air?
"The purpose of acquiring the land is for the station but if we build a 25-storey building, I don't see anything wrong in that because the purpose is for the station," he added.
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