No acquisition, no demolition of Chinatown shophouses - MRT Corp

KUALA LUMPUR (March 26, 2012): Mass Rapid Transit Corporation Sdn Bhd (MRT Corp) the company overseeing the mass rapid transit (MRT) project in the Klang Valley is working  towards the preservation of the shophouses of Jalan Sultan and Jalan Petaling., better known as Kuala Lumpur's Chinatown.

With the mutual agreement between the owners of the shophouses and MRT Corp, the owners of the shophouses will not be acquired nor be demolished, said the company in a statement on March 26. MRT Corp will also be able to guarantee the safety of the MRT tunnel and the occupants of the shophouses during construction.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak had recently said the government is willing to preserve Chinatown’s unique heritage while proceeding with the MY Rapid Transit project without any change to the alignment.  Datuk Azhar Abdul Hamid, MRT Corp Chief Executive Officer said MRT Corp’s position has always been in line with what Najib said.

“This is exactly what the MRT Corp has been stating all along. We would like reinforce our position to preserve the current environment and enhance the future of Chinatown so that many generations of locals and tourists alike can continue to experience the vibrancy and authenticity of this iconic area,” said Azhar.

Azhar also welcomed Najib’s statement that the MRT alignment will remain the same as the one which he approved in June 2011 as any realignment will cause more social upheaval.

“Realigning to Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock will require at least 29 privately-owned buildings to be demolished for stations as opposed to only three buildings, which are government-owned, that are needed to build the Pasar Seni station for the current approved alignment,” he said.

Azhar said the physical and cultural landscape of Jalan Sultan will remain and MRT Corp looks forward to working toward a mutually acceptable solution with the shopowners to ensure the smooth and successful implementation of the MRT project. He also expects the socio-economic environment of Chinatown will improve tremendously with the MRT station.

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