KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 25 — A federal opposition lawmaker called on the government today to hold a referendum before changing the names of eight major roads in the capital.
Caught off-guard by the road renaming exercise approved by the Federal Territories Ministry to honour several of Malaysia’s kings, Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng questioned the need to change the names of roads that have been in use for decades, instead of naming newly-built roads after the rulers.
“While I have the highest respect for our former rulers and deepest memories of them, it would be better if the federal government opted to name new roads after them not existing ones,” Lim said, pointing out that there are many new development projects in the works.
“The reasons is to avoid confusion, to avoid redundancy in expenses, which we will incur by renaming roads,” he told a news conference in the Parliament lobby here.
Seven of the eight roads, except Jalan Semarak, fall within the DAP lawmaker’s parliamentary constituency.
In a statement yesterday, the Federal Territories Ministry said that the roads will be named after Malay rulers who have been coronated as Yang di-Pertuan Agong starting tomorrow.
Earlier today, Federal Territories Deputy Minister Senator Datuk J. Loga Bala Mohan disclosed that the decision to change the names the roads came after a request from the Conference of Rulers.
Loga Bala Mohan told reporters in Parliament that the royal institution felt that Kuala Lumpur lacked the identity the monarchy.
The deputy minister, however, stated that the change would cost the government little.
However, PKR lawmaker Nurul Izzah Anwar pointed that the ministry is “inconsistent” on the policy of localising the names of the roads.
“The announcement is shocking. In principle, I am defender of our local identity and I do want us to retain our local names, for example, Kerinchi versus Bangsar South and Pantai Dalam vs Pantai Central,” said that Lembah Pantai MP.
“On one hand they want to retain the local names and on another they are westernising the identity of the capital,” she said.
Nurul Izzah added the “unilateral” decision did not augur well with the residents in capital, and proposed the setting up of a committee to review the decision.
The new names are as follows:
Jalan Duta to Jalan Tunku Abdul Halim
Jalan Khidmat Usaha to Jalan Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah
The Jalan Ipoh (between Jalan Segambut and Jalan Pahang intersections) to Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah
Persiaran Duta to Persiaran Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin
Jalan Khidmat Setia and Jalan Ibadah to Jalan Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin
Lebuhraya Mahameru to Lebuhraya Sultan Iskandar
Persiaran Mahameru to Persiaran Tuanku Ja’afar
Jalan Semarak to Jalan Sultan Yahya Petra
This is the first renaming of major roads in the capital since DBKL came under fire in 2008 for renaming Jalan Alor, a famous 35-year old tourist spot for hawker foods, to Jalan Kejora.