Chaotic Kidex briefing called off after protests from angry residents (VIDEO)

PETALING JAYA, May 16 — A scheduled public briefing tonight by Kidex Sdn Bhd over its RM2.42 billion elevated highway was cancelled suddenly following protests by over 300 residents who had accused the developer of using the meeting as an excuse to execute the controversial project.

Many of the attendees flew into a rage after Kidex Sdn Bhd’s communications head Datin Hasnah Abd Rahman announced the start of the event that the briefing was a requirement criteria for the “implementation” of the highway.

Most were under the impression the briefing had been called to allow residents to field questions regarding the Kinrara-Damansara Expressway (Kidex).

Most of the attendees, some of them members of the Say No To Kidex (SNTK) pro-tem committee had accused Kidex Sdn Bhd of being “cheeky” and “misleading” for giving an impression that the event had involved the Petaling Jaya Municipal Council (MBPJ) when local councillors had previously stated that the event was solely organised by the developer.

“MBPJ should be here with us questioning you guys, not up there with you! This is not a townhall meeting but a briefing by Kidex,” said SNTK committee member Mak Khuin Weng to Kidex Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Datuk Mohd Nor Idrus who was present along with the chief engineers, environmental consultant representatives and also Ismail Shafie, director MBPJ’s Engineering Department.

Ismail’s presence alongside Mohd Nor, coupled with complaints that most of the residents were only given two days’ notice for the briefing led to a brief shouting match between Kidex Sdn Bhd representatives and some of the attendees here at the MBPJ Civic Hall.

In Kidex Sdn Bhd’s defence, Mohd Nor told the audience that he had requested and given notice to MBPJ to have the “town hall meeting” a week ago, and that the date for the briefing was supposed to be yesterday morning but it was eventually postponed to today to allow time for more residents to attend.

“This town hall meeting was to allow us to tell you what Kidex is all about. If possible, I don’t even want to have a town hall meeting as this briefing can be done another time,” he said, adding that he had received a go-ahead from MBPJ councillor Lee Suet Sen.

Lee, who was also present, immediately clarified the matter by stating that tonight’s briefing was not part of Kidex Sdn Bhd’s requirement under Section 18 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1976 (TCPA).

Things took a turn for the worse after Ismail stormed out of the hall during the heated debate between Kidex representatives and residents, and ended when attendees responded by saying that they wanted the briefing to be cancelled.

This banner was put up by committee members to protest against the Kidex project. — Picture by Ushar Danielle
This banner was put up by committee members to protest against the Kidex project. — Picture by Ushar Danielle

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Mohd Nor told reporters afterwards that he had no choice but to call it off since MBPJ’s engineering director had abruptly left.

“We will have another town hall meeting in the near future, and we will look into the issues which have been raised today.

“We could have explained matters today but some of them, they just refused to understand,” a clearly exasperated-looking Mohd Idrus said.

The Kidex project has been rejected on three occasions by the city council as developers had failed to provide sufficient details on the project.

Under Section 18 of the TCPA, any form of development must abide by the PJ City Plans outlined by the MBPJ before any form of construction can take place.

In the case of Kidex, three such plans need to be amended as a super-elevated highway is currently not incorporated into the Petaling Jaya city blueprint.

Lee had recently told The Malay Mail Online that Kidex Sdd Bhd faced a “legal roadblock” and could only build the highway if the local council agrees to amend the PJ city plans.

He said that MBPJ rejected the project plan three times — during a brief in December last year, through its full council meeting in February and following a public display last month — when developers would not reveal details on the alignment of the highway and its traffic impact study.

Works Minister Datuk Fadillah Yusof told The Malay Mail Online previously that a “conditional agreement” was already in place for the controversial highway project.

According to two parliamentary replies on the matter by the Works minister, a number of conditions came with the project, and the Selangor government agreed to the highway construction proposal two years ago.

On November 12 last year, Fadillah told Petaling Jaya Selatan MP Hee Loy Sian that the Selangor state had agreed to plans to build the highway through a letter by the Selangor Economic Action Council (MTES) dated February 23, 2012.

In March, the Works Ministry told Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo that Kidex must fulfil a “condition precedent” 12 months before the concession agreement is enforced and that a “public survey” was also a necessary pre-condition.

The minister’s reply stated that the project cannot go ahead if public feedback is negative.

The reply also said that construction work is slated to begin next year if there were no objections.

Among the areas that could be affected by the project are Tropicana Mall, SS2 Mall, Rothman’s traffic lights, Section 14, Amcorp Mall, Hilton Petaling Jaya, Tun Hussein Onn Eye Hospital, Jalan Templer roundabout, Taman Datuk Harun, Taman Medan Baru and Bandar Kinrara.

Construction of the multi-billion ringgit highway could begin as soon as next year and be completed by 2018.

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