KUALA LUMPUR: The Selangor government has not given the full approval for five other new expressways apart from the controversial Kinrara-Damansara Expressway (Kidex). This will depend on whether they fulfil certain conditions set out by the state.
Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim said the projects, such as Kidex, were only approved “in principle”.
“In general, they all received approval in principle, with the same conditions,” said Abdul Khalid, after the state executive council’s weekly meeting yesterday.
These conditions could be that their toll concession agreements are not one-sided to benefit developers and that there is an early termination clause.
These conditions were imposed on the Malaysian Highway Authority (MHA) and Kidex’s developer Kidex Sdn Bhd.
Abdul Khalid said the MHA and highway developers would have to submit the necessary traffic, social and environmental impact assessments to Selangor for scrutiny before the state would give its final approval for the projects.
He said the six highways are part of an integrated network that is being planned by the MHA to meet the projected traffic growth in the Klang Valley.
They are meant to ease congestion on current highways, such as the Middle Ring Road 2, and to provide alternatives to local roads for commuters who have to criss-cross the Klang Valley.
The six are the East Klang Valley Expressway (EKVE), the Sungai Besi-Ulu Kelang Expressway (Suke), the Damansara-Shah Alam Highway (Dash), the Serdang-Kinrara-Putrajaya Expressway (Skip), the West Coast Highway (LPB) and Kidex.
Except for Skip and LBP, the others have met with stern opposition from residents all over Selangor, as their alignments cut through dense neighbourhoods that have been around since the 1950s.
Groups opposing the Suke and Dash want the project’s original alignment changed so that they don’t pass through residential areas, while the anti-Kidex group wants the highway scrapped.
They fear that these highways would pollute the neighbourhoods, endanger pedestrians during construction and clog up local roads.
The EKVE could have the widest impact. It is slated to carve through the heart of a protected forest that is critical to Selangor’s raw water supply system.
According to environmental groups, the EKVE’s original alignment could also violate a federal policy, which forbids development, logging and agriculture in a protected area. The Ampang and Ulu Gombak forests are part of it. — The Malaysian Insider
This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on July 3, 2014.
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