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Saturday, September 28, 2013

RM2 billion worry to PJ residents, and Putrajaya not helping by staying silent


The controversial RM2.2 billion highway project awarded by the government to the wife of former Chief Justice Tun Zaki Azmi and an Umno legal adviser is back in the news, with some residents in Petaling Jaya questioning the secrecy surrounding the project.
They suspect that Putrajaya is hiding something about the construction of the Kinrara-Damansara Highway (Kidex), a 13km stretch which will link Damansara and the NKVE to Bandar Kinrara in Puchong.
The residents held a protest today urging Putrajaya to explain the actual layout of Kidex to avoid confusion.
The project, estimated at RM2.2 billion, came under criticism from Pakatan Rakyat due to the involvement of Zaki's wife and lawyer Datuk Hafarizam Harun, who played a role in the 2009 Perak political crisis which saw the fall of the Pakatan Rakyat state government.
Hafarizam had confirmed to The Malaysian Insider that a company controlled by him, in which Zaki's wife is a director, was awarded the contract to build Kidex.
But Hafarizam told The Malaysian Insider that any suggestion of a deal struck because of his role in the Perak constitutional crisis in 2009 was “tainted with mala fide (bad faith) and intended to bring me and Tun Zaki into public odium, scandal and disrepute”.
Hafarizam denied that the highway concession award was given as a reward to him and the former chief justice allegedly for their roles in the 2009 Perak crisis that saw Umno-led Barisan Nasional (BN) wrest control of the state government from Pakatan Rakyat (PR).
The controversy is now back in the spotlight after residents raised concerns that they would be asked to move to make way for the highway.
It was reported previously that a total of 3,784 lots of land, mostly in Petaling Jaya, may be acquired by the government for the proposed Kidex project.
There are houses and commercial buildings on the land and industrial activities as well..
Tan Yew Leong, chairman of the residents' association in Jalan 19/20, said they came to learn of such a possibility following a meeting with Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) on the status of the project.
"I had gone to MBPJ to check on the highway and was shocked to learn that a few of the housing lots might be affected by the project.
"This is not only about my house, but some 3,000 residents who will be impacted by the project," Tan told reporters this morning.
Bukit Gasing assemblyman Rajiv Rishyakara, who was present at the protest, revealed the contents of a letter from the director of the Federal Territory Land and Mines Department, which mentioned offers of compensation to affected residents if the project goes ahead.
"The letter dated July 21 was sent to MBPJ which explained that the location might be affected by the construction of the highway.
"The letter also states that compensation will be given if there needs to be land reclamation to build the highway," Rajiv explained.
Damansara Bistari flats residents spokesman Abdul Samad Abdul Rashid urged Putrajaya to clear the air.
"The government needs to explain to us clearly the truth behind this highway project.
"Don't wait until everything is built and only then inform the residents," said Rashid, a resident of the flats for almost six years.
However, Petaling Jaya Utara Member of Parliament Tony Pua (pic) said that until now attempts by Pakatan Rakyat to get details on the project have failed, while the minister in charge has refused to provide details.
"What we need right now is truthful information, the government must reveal all the details of the project," Pua stressed.
Last week, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Abdul Wahid Omar said the government was not able to provide any feedback on the project because negotiations were still on-going and the concession agreement had not been inked.
"For now, detailed analysis and negotiations between the government and the concessionaire are still on," Abdul Wahid told Parliament recently.
That response, however, contradicted the notice from the Land and Mines Department to MBPJ even before any talks were held with the city council.

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