SUBANG JAYA, May 20 ― The Kinrara-Damansara Expressway (Kidex) is an integral part of Selangor's new structural plan for 2035, Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim said today, in yet another sign that the controversial project is here to stay.
Despite growing objections by some residents in Petaling Jaya, the Selangor mentri besar reaffirmed that the highway, in addition to improving public transportation, is necessary for the state's future growth.
“All these projects, Kidex, MRT...we cannot look for a quick solution.
“When there is density, there must be preparations so that we can help people move from one place to another,” he told reporters at a news conference.
Khalid maintained that his administration is neutral in the matter, but appeared to defend developer Kidex Sdn Bhd when asked about last Friday's town hall meeting that was cancelled due to protests by angry residents.
“We cannot accommodate extremes...(the town hall meeting) is part of the process.
“People must listen, if you don't give a right of hearing, there is no fairness,” he said, adding that the protests showed a lack of maturity in Malaysian society.
“Our level of civility is not at its highest level yet,” Khalid said.
Asked whether the RM2.42 billion project could be called off due to public objection, the Selangor MB reiterated the only thing that could be done was to address public concerns.
Khalid confirmed that arrangements will be made for another town hall meeting on the Kidex project.
Kidex Sdn Bhd's public briefing last Friday was cancelled following protests by over 300 residents who accused the developer of using the meeting as an excuse to push the controversial project through.
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 ask questions about the Kidex proposal.
Many including members of the Say No To Kidex (SNTK) pro-tem committee 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.
The Kidex project has been rejected on three occasions by the city council as developers had failed to provide sufficient details.
Under Section 18 of the Town Country and Planning Act (TCPA), construction cannot start unless the highway fits with MBPJ’s plans.
Kidex is currently not incorporated into the the council’s blueprint for Petaling Jaya city.
MBPJ councillor Lee Suet Sen had recently told The Malay Mail Online that Kidex faces a “legal roadblock” and could only build the highway if the local council agrees to amend its PJ city plans.
He said that MBPJ rejected the project plan three times — in December last year, its full council meeting in February and after 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.