Under fire, Selangor MB washes hands of Kidex approval

Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim claimed that his administration had no say over the proposed Kinrara-Damansara Expressway (Kidex) highway approval and served only in an advisory role. — Picture by Choo Choy May
Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim claimed that his administration had no say over the proposed Kinrara-Damansara Expressway (Kidex) highway approval and served only in an advisory role. — Picture by Choo Choy May

KUALA LUMPUR, May 21 — Criticised for railroading the proposed Kinrara-Damansara Expressway (Kidex) highway, Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim claimed his administration has no say over its approval and served only in an advisory role.

In a statement on his Facebook page titled “Selangor has not agreed to the Kidex project being carried out and wants the developer to fine-tune the alignment route”, the Selangor mentri besar pointed out that the federal government is solely the authority for the Kidex approval and framing of its alignment route.

“On record, the approval for the highway and alignment is under the responsibility of the federal government while the state government has a right to advise,” said MB Khalid.

He said his latest statement was to clarify news reports quoting him as saying that the project would be carried out despite the opposition by state residents.

Khalid said this was inaccurate as he also explained that Kidex was needed to solve existing traffic woes in Selangor, and pointed out that there were several requirements imposed on developer Kidex Sdn Bhd before the project may be carried out.

Khalid has never gone on record to say that the state might oppose the project, drawing ire of the project’s critics who interpret this as tacit approval for the highway.

When asked about this last month, the Selangor MB told the Malay Mail Online that calling off the project would be “unfair” to the developer.

“No, I don’t think so. It would not be fair to the company if that is done,” Khalid had said when asked whether the elevated highway project could be called off if public feedback on the project was negative.

While far from official approval, he also said yesterday that the Kidex is an integral part of Selangor’s new structural plan for 2035 and that the highway, in addition to improving public transportation, is necessary for the state’s future growth.

Khalid also confirmed that arrangements will be made for another town hall meeting on the Kidex project, after a chaotic one last Friday ended abruptly following protests from some 300 residents who accused the developer of using the meeting as an excuse to push the controversial project through.

Many attendees turned hostile 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 that 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 council’s blueprint for Petaling Jaya city.

Despite the growing opposition, mounting evidence in the form of replies in Parliament and the state legislative assembly indicate that the project is set to proceed.

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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