Property owners in Chinatown say the MRT Corp boss is making 'baseless' statements in dismissing a proposal to realign the tunnel.
KUALA LUMPUR: Property owners from Chinatown today hit out at MRT Corp CEO Azhar Abdul Hamid for his “irresponsible” remarks in rejecting a proposal to realign the disputed tunnelling project to nearby Jalan Tan Cheng Lok.
The tunnelling is part of the Klang Valley My Rapid Transit (KVMRT).
“MRT Corp claims that if the tunnel is realigned to Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lok, 29 buildings will be demolished. This is a baseless claim if there are no studies to support this statement,” said Stanley Yong, co-chairman of the committee for “Preserving Jalan Sultan and Jalan Bukit Bintang”.
He added that Jalan Tan Cheng Lok was twice the width of Jalan Sultan and if buildings had to be demolished, it could only be worse for Jalan Sultan.
Yong added that it was “unprofessional and irresponsible” of Azhar to once again “instill fear in the people and create conflict among the owners of both areas”.
The committee had proposed realigning the tunnel to Jalan Tan Cheng Lok due to fear that the older buildings in Jalan Sultan may not withstand the damage caused by the tunneling works and to preserve it as a heritage site.
“This is in no way passing the buck or the problem to Jalan Sultan property owners. Moreover, Jalan Tan Cheng Lok is a six-lane road and no land acquisition is required,” he said.
Last Wednesday, Azhar said that it would cause more problems such as the closure of a major road if the tunnel was to be built at Jalan Tan Cheng Lok.
Today, the committee also asked for “vital and important” reports such as Social Impact Assessment Report and the Soil Investigation Report to be made available.
Yong said that MRT Corp had earlier told the committee to look at a readily available Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) report on the project, but he added more details need to be made public.
“They [MRT Corp] told us to refer to the EIA. The social implications of the project is only one page long. That is not enough as there needs to be a separate report on the impact of the project from a cultural, historical, societal level.
“I don’t understand why is MRT Corp so hesitant. Until these reports are made available, the committee will conclude that none of these studies were conducted,” he said.
The committee will meet with Minister in Prime Minister’s Department Nazri Aziz tomorrow to demand that these reports be disclosed.
It previously met Nazri and Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak twice in March to voice its grouses. Following the meeting, Najib said that the entire Jalan Sultan and Jalan Petaling will be gazetted as heritage site.
Yong said that MRT Corp and the government must give a firm assurance that the buildings in Jalan Sultan are taken out from the list of land to be acquired under the project.
Since mid-last year, property owners in the area have been protesting against portions of the KVMRT project involving their area.
They fear that the underground tunnelling may cause future damage to old buildings and the loss of a heritage site. This still remains a main concern.