West Coast Expressway to decide on May 20 if Perak interchanges open in time for Raya

Ahmad Faizal said that the state government has set up a committee to maximise the economic development along the WCE stretch in Perak. — Picture by Farhan Najib
Ahmad Faizal said that the state government has set up a committee to maximise the economic development along the WCE stretch in Perak. — Picture by Farhan Najib

IPOH, May 9 — West Coast Expressway (WCE) Sdn Bhd managing director Datuk Neoh Soon Hiong said the decision whether to open the three of its interchanges in Perak before Hari Raya will be out by May 20.

Neoh said that there is some work pending and the authorities are rushing to get it done before the festive season.

“About 95 per cent of the three packages have been completed. We are confident we would complete it physically before Hari Raya.

“However, the last part of the project is a bit difficult as it depends on other agencies as it has to go through federal gazette, the speed limit gazette and also the safety compliance,” he told reporters after attending a special committee meeting to develop the economy along the WCE stretches in Perak.

“Without the gazettes and safety compliance we can’t open it to the public. That will be the last phase and we will announce it on May 20 whether it’s ready or not,” he added.   

The WCE involves four interchanges from Banting to Taiping. The three packages in Perak cover Hutan Melintang to Teluk Intan (19.1 km), Lekir to Changkat Chermin (28km) and Changkat Chermin to Beruas (16.6km). Selangor’s package only involved the northern side of the state.

Yesterday, it was reported that the four interchanges would not be ready before Hari Raya.

Quoting Malaysian Highway Authority (LLM) director-general Datuk Aziz Abdullah, a news report said that the postponement was because there was still some work that needed to be done to ensure the stretch was safe for motorists.

Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu said that the state government has set up a committee to maximise the economic development along the WCE stretch in Perak.

Ahmad Faizal, who is also the chairman of the committee, said the focus would be more on former deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s Bagan Datuk constituency.

“Our focus would be more on the WCE stretch in Bagan Datuk as the district is so backward.

“The land in Perak is still considered cheap compared to the neighbouring states. We can start up housing and industrial developments along the WCE stretch in Bagan Datuk and it would benefit the state and the people there,” he said. 

The 223km WCE stretches from Jalan Banting-KLIA (B18) to the Tanjong Karang interchange (93.8km) in Selangor and from Jalan Persekutuan (FR5) in Hutan Melintang to the Changkat Jering Plaza Toll (139.2km) in Perak.