Suhakam backs residents, says prior consent for Kidex highway a must

Residents at the 'Say no to Kidex' group press conference at Sea Park, Petaling Jaya. — Photo by Choo Choy May
Residents at the 'Say no to Kidex' group press conference at Sea Park, Petaling Jaya. — Photo by Choo Choy May

PETALING JAYA, June 4 — The RM 2.42 billion Kinrara-Damansara Expressway (Kidex) cannot take place without prior consent from affected residents, the Malaysian Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) said today.

Suhakam commissioner James Nayagam said that such a project must abide by international standards, and that if residens were not consulted prior to the project’s construction it would be a breach of human rights.

“Any project which involves the community, it is the duty of corporate organisations to seek free, prior informed consent, failing which would be a breach of human rights,” he said at a meeting with some residents and members of the Say No to Kidex (SNTK) committee here.

Rachel Ho, a resident who lives in the Section 19, Petaling Jaya neighbourhood that would be affected by the proposed highway, had lodged a complaint with Suhakam over the Kidex project, which prompted Nayagam to have a formal meeting today with the people opposed to the project.

Chief among the concerns for those present were the lack of publicly available details about Kidex.

Opponents of the controversial project are also claiming that a preliminary environmental impact assessment (PEIA) report done by project developer Kidex Sdn Bhd had stated that 300 residents had been asked about the project.

According to the PEIA, most of the respondents were in favour of the 14.9km highway, a finding which residents are contesting.

“We were not briefed at all, we don’t even know who are these 300 people they supposedly interviewed,” SNTK committee member Selve Sugumaran said in the open-door meeting.

Nayagam said he will also be organising a meeting between Kidex, affected residents and relevant agencies soon.

Suhakam will act as facilitator for the meeting, and all parties must exclude any form of legal representation so that views can be exchanged fairly.

But the commissioner also advised the SNTK to start seeking legal advice over the Kidex issue, and to properly document all meetings related to the highway project.

“Your timing is better than most, for some of the other groups I have come across, it was too late to go to court because the transaction on the sale of the land, for example, would already have been done.

“So if nothing else works and you go to court, you have everything documented and would be able to track back what happened, or risk being left bare before the courts,” Nayagam added.

A slide showing the exit points on the LDP and on the proposed Kidex highway. — Pic courtesy of the Say No to Kidex committee.
A slide showing the exit points on the LDP and on the proposed Kidex highway. — Pic courtesy of the Say No to Kidex committee.

The Selangor government has ordered Kidex Sdn Bhd and the Malaysian Highway Authority (LLM) to hold a special briefing this Friday, June 6 to explain the controversial federal project to state and federal lawmakers as well as local councillors.

The Petaling Jaya Municipal Council (MBPJ) will act as a “coordinator” for the special briefing.

he briefing will not be open to residents, who will be briefed separately after this Friday.

 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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