TRANSIT took note of the following article describing legal issues that will delay the approval of the Kinrara-Damansara Expressway.
Apparently the company that will build the expressway and has received ‘conditional approval’ from the Works Ministry and support from Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim, has failed to get approval from the Majlis Bandaraya Petaling Jaya…in fact their plans have been rejected 3 times!
In Selangor, legal roadblock may halt controversial highway plan (The Malay Mail Online 7 May 2014)
BY SHAZWAN MUSTAFA KAMAL
KiDEx Sdn Bhd may face a major setback in its plan to build its RM2.42 billion super-elevated highway in Selangor as it has not obtained approval from the city’s local council office.
The Malay Mail Online understands that the proposal for the controversial Kinrara-Damansara Expressway (KIDEX) was rejected on three occasions by the Petaling Jaya Municipal Council (MBPJ) as developers had failed to provide sufficient details on the project.
“There will definitely be a delay into the construction of the highway,” MBPJ councillor Lee Suet Sen told The Malay Mail Online when contacted.
Town & Country Planning
Under Section 18 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1976 (TCPA), any form of development must abide by the PJ City Plans outlined by the MBPJ before any form of construction can take place.
In the case of KIDEX, The Malay Mail Online understands that three such plans need to be amended as a super-elevated highway is currently not incorporated into the Petaling Jaya city blueprint.
“This is a legal roadblock, an amendment to the local plans is needed under law and the only way this can happen is if MBPJ amends the local plan,” Lee explained. [TRANSIT: The obvious fear here is that MBPJ will quietly amend their official plans just as MPSJ and MBSA did to secure approval of the Kelana Jaya LRT extension.]
Rejected three times because of lack of details
“But he noted that MBPJ rejected the project plan three times — during a brief in December last year, through its full council meeting in February and following a public display last month — when developers would not reveal details on the alignment of the highway and its traffic impact study.
This, Lee added, was also why the MBPJ town hall meeting on KIDEX that was scheduled for April 5 had been postponed.
“No point in having the public hearing when there are no details. When we asked them (Kidex Sdn Bhd) for the traffic study, they say its classified. [TRANSIT: Who wants to bet that the government or Kidex hasn’t actually done any traffic study…figuring that approval was almost guaranteed. Instead they are relying on a flawed study claiming that there will be 3.9 million cars on Malaysian roads by 2020.]
“So how? We can’t approve something that we don’t have information on,” he explained.
What goes up must come down
Lee added that there was also concern over how the highway would affect traffic in the area.
“MBPJ has initiated a one-way traffic loop in Jalan Barat, Utara, Timur and others. The impact of Kidex is very significant to it. I am quite sure the ramp in and out of Kidex will affect this,” Lee said. [TRANSIT: A quick look at the Kidex website shows lovely rendering of green covered skyway, but no on or off ramps. Do they expect vehicles to float up into the sky? Apparently yes.]
“Plans and documents? Who needs those?” ask KiDEx, the works ministry and the Selangor Menteri Besar. “Um…Kidex does,” says MBPJ.
Former councillor and expert in planning and local government laws Derek Fernandez said there are several processes that could be initiated by MBPJ or, in exceptional circumstances, the state government, to amend the local plans.
“The KIDEX elevated highway is presently inconsistent with all three plans and Section 18 of the Town and Country Planning Act prohibits any development inconsistent with the local plans,” he told The Malay Mail Online in an interview.
Fernandez was among the councillors who voted against the highway project back in December while he was still in office.
The first step to amend a local plan is through a pre-consultation process with the public, which Fernandez said must be conducted by MBPJ and not Kidex Sdn Bhd. Residents are given 30 days to present their views which will then be compiled.
At the same time, he said the local council’s planning development department must also prepare an impact assessment report and present it, along with other relevant documents, to the MBPJ. The council can then approve a draft plan to incorporate the relevant amendments.
The council — consisting of the mayor and no fewer than eight of the 24 local councillors — must then decide whether the draft plan would be approved for public consultation.
“The state will appoint persons to conduct the public hearings, and thereafter the decision of the hearings will be put in the final draft and sent to state authority for approval.
“Thereafter the amended local plan has legal force,” Fernandez said.
But according to the former local councillor and lawyer, Kidex Sdn Bhd had never furnished MBPJ with the necessary documents and plans to justify an amendment to the local plan. [TRANSIT: Looks like they didn’t do their homework. ]
“At the December 2013 presentation, Kidex assured the council they would consider providing elevated walkways to provide local benefit and encourage non-vehicle mobility for policy justification,” Fernandez added, but said the developer never offered further details on this plan.
[TRANSIT: How sweet of them to promise to provide elevated walkways after destroying the streets with their elevated highway. Residents of Subang Jaya can testify how long it took to get their elevated walkways after they got their elevated highway.]
Fair weather friends and approvals
Despite this, Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim said recently that thwarting the elevated highway plan would be unfair to the developer and indicated that concessions — if any — are likely to be limited to alterations to the highway’s alignment.
Works Minister Datuk Fadillah Yusof told The Malay Mail Online previously that a “conditional agreement” was already in place for the controversial highway project.
According to two parliamentary replies on the matter by the Works minister, a number of conditions came with the project, and the Selangor government agreed to the highway construction proposal two years ago.
On November 12 last year, Fadillah told Petaling Jaya Selatan MP Hee Loy Sian that Selangor state had agreed to plans to build the highway through a letter by the Selangor Economic Action Council (MTES) dated February 23, 2012.
…the article continues….
The sad thing about this story is that we have seen this before in the Selangor Government, both before and after March 2008.
Our most recent memory was the approval by MTES of the LRT extensions proposed by Prasarana in 2009 … despite those LRT extensions clearly not being aligned with the legal and gazetted Selangor Structure Plan (which would have had both lines meet in Shah Alam) or the Subang Jaya and Shah Alam draft local plans.
At that time Prasarana did not provide documentation to justify the alignments for the proposed extension, which would run through Subang Jaya and Puchong to meet at Putra Heights…but they received approval from MTES and the local plans were quietly changed.
TRANSIT still remembers the efforts we made fighting on behalf of residents of Subang Alam and SS16 Subang Jaya whose homes would be directly affected by the poor planning and changes to the LRT routes. The irony here is that a pro public transport organization fought against a public transport project…but we had no choice because the project was not legal and Prasarana and the Selangor Government were not being transparent.
We appreciate that previous iterations of MBPJ have rejected the Kinrara-Damansara expressway project … but continue to fear that a compliant MBPJ will eventually be “won over” by the Selangor executive, allowing the highway to be built through the heart of Petaling Jaya. We have seen it before and expect to see it again.
We at TRANSIT want to see a planning process where public transport options are considered as part of traffic and development planning…not as a complete afterthought. And we hope that the protests against Kidex will finally be the “line drawn in the sand” to stop bad planning once and for all.