SUKE, a highway project shrouded in secrecy

A row of houses in Bukit Ampang that will be acquired for the SUKE expressway. — Malay Mail pic
A row of houses in Bukit Ampang that will be acquired for the SUKE expressway. — Malay Mail pic

AMPANG, Oct 17 — The proposed Sungai Besi-Ulu Kelang Expressway (SUKE) is in its final stages of approval, but those affected by the project are crying foul. 

Many claim the manner in which information is being disseminated to residents and business owners, whose premises would be acquired, have been poor and in some cases, questionable.

Taman Bukit Ampang residents’ association president Datuk Mior Azam Mior Safi said he only knew his house was going to be acquired six weeks ago through a notice which was placed in his neighbourhood surau.

“I was at the surau last month and someone said I should take a closer look at the notice board,” said Mior Azam, 70, who has lived in a terrace unit in the area since the 1970s.

“I was shocked to see a land acquisition notice on the board from the state land office stating I was required to attend a hearing on October 12.

“I later learnt from the imam the men who posted the notice did not seek permission to do so from the surau committee.

“They merely informed the imam it was important for people to read the notice. Didn’t they think it was important for those notices to be delivered to our homes?”

During the hearing session at the land office, he was informed he had to vacate the land by the middle of next year.

“We heard about plans to build the highway in early 2012 but we were not informed then our houses would be acquired.

“No one from the land office, Prolintas Sdn Bhd (the developer) or the local council informed us about the possibility of losing our homes. It comes as a shock that I have to move in the next few months.”

Another Taman Bukit Ampang resident, Mat Nor Mohamed Ali, 70, whose house will also be acquired for the highway, said the local community deserves better than to be informed they would lose their homes from a notice on a wall.

“I have stayed in the same house since the 1980s. It is fully-paid off and now you are telling me I have to start all over again?” he said.

“Those involved should treat us with respect and answer our questions or provide us a chance speak our mind rather than keep us in the dark until the very last minute.

“At my age, where am I supposed to go?”

Muhammad Agos Abul Hasan Ashari, 34, said he was shocked when he learned his house was to be acquired.

“My father informed me about the notice at the local surau. Why the secrecy?

“It was only at the land office that I was informed that construction works will begin late next year,” he said.

Agos said his neighbour, who purchased a unit next door several month ago, found out his house was going to be acquired only after he had spent a considerable amount on renovation.

There were no encumbrances on the land when he checked at the land office in January and he even received approvals from the Ampang Jaya Municipal Council when he submitted renovation proposals, he said.

A resident in neighbouring Taman Kosas said the local council had called for a hearing to address developments regarding the highway in January, but there has been no updates since.

“We were informed several houses would have to make way. When we asked the council for further details earlier this year, they said they would provide updates at a later date,” said residents’ association president Izhar Harun.

The 31.8km three-lane, dual-carriageway will start in Sri Petaling and will pass more than 60 residential areas including Sungai Besi, Alam Damai, Cheras-Kajang, Taman Bukit Permai, Taman Putra, Taman Permai Jaya, Taman Dagang Permai, Taman Kosas, Ampang and Taman Hillview and exit at Hulu Klang.

The Ampang Jaya Municipal Council had in a previous report said 50 individual premises in the Gombak district and 338 premises in Hulu Langat district will make way for the project. About 44 of them are in Pekan Ampang.

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