Saturday, April 5, 2014

Reps lament Kidex secrecy, propose alternatives

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A group of DAP state assemblypersons have lamented the secrecy shrouding the planned Kinrara-Damansara Expressway (Kidex) and the federal government's apparent unwillingness to look at alternatives.

They are upset that the authorities have refused to release the project's Traffic Impact Assessment (TIA) report, saying that it is protected under the Official Secrets Act 1972.

"Why it under the OSA? This is not about submarine, battle ships or air force fighters, it is not a national security issue and there is no reason for the TIA to be kept secret," Bukit Gasing state assemblyperson R Rajiv told a press conference at Asia Jaya LRT station in Petaling Jaya this morning.

Rajiv, together with Lau Weng San (Kampung Tunku), Yeo Bee Yin (Damansara Utama) and NgSze Han (Kinrara) urged acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein to order the release of the information.

Yeo said the information is needed for the people to decide their stance on the project.

This comes as the Pakatan Rakyat-led Selangor government is being forced to take sides after local residents, faced with land acquisition by the federal-approved project, turned on it.

On Wednesday, residents protested outside the Selangor state secretariat and submitted a memorandum to Menteri Besar Abdul Khalid Ibrahim in the hope that the state which has powers over land matters can be a road block to Putrajaya's plan.

"We are refraining from opposing until we see the right facts and figures by an independent body, then we can make an educated and informed decision," she said, urging transparency from Putrajaya.

The 14.9km elevated highway will begin from the north at NKVE Damansara toll and run southwards to the Bukit Jalil Highway near Kinrara, passing through the heart of Petaling Jaya.

Highway needed at better place

Yeo conceded that there are five highways running from east to west but only one north to south highway which is the terribly congested Damansara-Puchong Highway (LDP).

As such, Yeo said she was not opposed to highways but the existing alignment of Kidex which cuts through a narrow corridor in a heavily populated area cannot not be taken lightly.

She added that Putrajaya must seriously consider alternatives such as LRT or Bus Rail Transit (BRT) for the narrow pathway while a north-south aligned highway like Kidex can be built somewhere more suitable such as over the existing LDP alignment.

Rajiv said if Putrajaya rushes through with the Kidex under the current alignment, it will occupy the air space, killing off the possibility of any public transport system for that area in future.

The state assemblypersons also presented an LRT alignment as a replacement for the planned Kidex, which they say will link up four existing public transport systems and provide greater connectivity.

If an LRT is constructed instead, it will link up with the MRT station due to be completed in Section 16, Petaling Jaya, the Asia Jaya LRT station, the Kampung Dato Harun KTM station and the extended Bandar Kinrara Section 2 LRT station.

LRT alternative cost a little higher

"The cost of Kidex is about RM170 million per kilometre while based on the cost of the LRT extension in Subang and Puchong, an LRT will cost RM205 million per kilometre, which is not too much of a difference," said Rajiv.

Rajiv added that the government must consider the issue of connectivity and not develop transportation systems onan ad-hoc basis.

"The problem now is the Transport Ministry is handling highways while the Land Public Transport Commission is doing railways, they are working separately," he said.

Kampung Tunku's Lau said that the government should not repeat the mistake when it first constructed the LDP and the Kelana Jaya line LRT without considering connectivity, resulting in today's congestion.

Meanwhile, Kinrara's Ng added that a public transportation system pathway will take up less space than a highway which may minimise the need for land acquisition.

As it is now, the Kidex project will see some 300 land acquisitions.

The assemblypersons urged Putrajaya to study carefully all alternatives before settling for a highway on the narrow north-south corridor cutting across Petaling Jaya.