Malaysia has no highway master plan, independent review on Kidex highway reveals

MDS pointed out that the absence of a national highway master plan especially for urban areas like the Klang Valley posed a major concern as it is where the most number of highways are located. — AFP pic
MDS pointed out that the absence of a national highway master plan especially for urban areas like the Klang Valley posed a major concern as it is where the most number of highways are located. — AFP pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 28 — Malaysia does not have a highway master plan which would enable authorities to determine whether or not a highway project would be feasible and in line with existing highways, according to an independent consultant tasked with studying the Kinrara-Damansara Expressway (Kidex).

MDS Traffic Planners and Consultants — an independent company commissioned by the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) to study developer Kidex Sdn Bhd's technical reports and feasibility of the RM2.42 billion project — said they were informed about this during a meeting with the Malaysian Highway Authority (MHA) on November 3 last year.

"At a subsequent meeting held at Wisma Lebuhraya LLM on Monday, November 2014, we were verbally told by the Highway Planning Unit (HPU) that there is no such highway master plan report.

"Malaysia’s HPU currently does not have any master plan document to show where new highways or expressways are being planned or to be constructed," MDS said in its review of the Kidex project which was made available to Malay Mail Online.

"So it could not be established and determined whether Kinrara-Damansara Expressway (Kidex) was indeed part of the national expressway master plan network," it added.

MDS pointed out that the absence of a national highway master plan especially for urban areas like the Klang Valley posed a major concern as it is where the most number of highways are located.

The report added that it would have been "great" if a highway master plan document complete with historical traffic flow figures were made available in order to determine the need for Kidex.

"A question thus arises on how the authorities decide and plan a network of highways and expressways in the country?

"A more important question will be; how the government decides that one expressway proposal is to be evaluated?" MDS asked.

The consultant said it was understood that the proposal for Kidex came directly from Kidex Sdn Bhd and not the Works Ministry, LLM or the federal government.

"The proposal for this particular expressway, we were told, was an unsolicited proposal that came directly from the private sector company that owns Kidex," the report added.

Based on the documents made available, MDS concluded that the project approval was done via a "top down" approach — meaning that the submission of the Kidex concept proposal was made to the Nationak Economic Council and received its approval from the Cabinet prior to any studies.

"This decision super ceded any studies and considerations by the appropriate and expert agency that is the Highway Planning Unit (HPU) of the Ministry of Works."

MDS also said it could not obtain the "cost benefits analysis report" as it was deemed "private and confidential."

Kidex Sdn Bhd has said it has fulfilled all the pre-conditions stipulated in its concession agreement with the federal government, ahead of the deal’s expiry on February 15.

But the developer for the controversial RM2.42 billion Kinrara-Damansara (Kidex) Expressway said it is prepared to apply for further extension of its concession agreement deadline, as the Selangor government has yet to approve the project and the various technical reports submitted by the company.

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.