KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 28 — Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Amirudin Shari has said it would not be fair to liken the proposed Petaling Jaya Dispersal Link (PJD Link) highway project to the former Kinrara-Damansara Expressway (Kidex) project, which was announced in 2010 but cancelled in 2015.
Malaysiakini reported him as saying that PJD’s project developer PJD Link (M) Sdn Bhd had pledged during its first presentation to the state government that it would overcome all concerns previously raised by opponents of the Kidex project.
“Because of that, we said, ‘No problem, go back to the community, meet the local council, meet the residents associations’.
“Present your (PJD’s) case and come back to us with the feedback,” Amirudin said in an interview published today, adding that the proposal is still in the preliminary stages.
He was asked for his opinion on the objections from several Petaling Jaya residents groups against the proposed highway project.
Amirudin acknowledged that although many would want to live in a peaceful area, the issues of transportation accessibility and connectivity are also of equal importance.
“I am sure it is not easy, but I hope we can be rational. Who does not want to stay in a calm, quiet, traffic-free area?
“But if we live like that while at the same time the entire transportation ecosystem is disrupted? We have to be fair to everybody,” he said.
The mentri besar said objections to the PJD Link and other development projects in the state are due to his administration’s open engagements with stakeholders through public hearings.
“These public hearings have caused ‘sparks’ here and there and it shows our willingness to engage. On our part as the state government, what is our vision and views? Our vision is clear, we want to resolve long-standing traffic issues.
“I understand there are specific objections. But give a chance to the developer, and the state government will evaluate the project together with other planned developments,” he added.
Amirudin insisted that the end goal would be to ease intra-city connection by bypassing the daily traffic snarl on the Federal Highway, though he noted that highway developments are often unpopular with residents.
“This is where we have to find a balance between the state government’s intentions, development goals and the residents’ objections,” he said.
In November last year, several Petaling Jaya residents groups voiced their concerns that the proposed PJD Link highway would be a repackaging of the Kidex project. Kidex was scrapped by Amirudin’s predecessor, Datuk Seri Azmin Ali.
The PJD Link project’s initial proposed alignment reportedly comprised a 34.3km dual-carriage expressway, whereas Kidex’s original plans consisted of 14.9km of fully elevated expressway.
The residents groups’ spokesman Sheikh Moqhtar Kadir said they had been informed by the former Selangor government administration in 2016, as well as by then-works minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof, that there were no plans to revive Kidex and plans for the PJD Link were only approved at the federal level.
Their most recent objections arose after Selangor Exco Izham Hashim informed the state assembly on November 9 last year that the PJD Link proposal was discussed with the State Economic Council (MTES) even though no approval had been granted for the project to proceed.
Izham also said that at the time there had been no traffic, social or environmental impact assessments carried out for the project, which is planned to pass through Sungai Kayu Ara to Bukit Jalil, which is the same route as Kidex.