Parti Sosialis Malaysia stands in solidarity and support of the Residents Against PJD Link Highway (SCRAP Highway), Say No to PJD Link Highway and Petaling Jaya Residents Associations in their efforts to scrap the new controversial highway, PJD Link. The Petaling Jaya Dispersal Link can be considered as a revival of the Kinrara-Damansara Expressway (Kidex) project which was previously scrapped by the government due to immense pressure from the local public.
However, in recent months, the proposal of the PJD Link has been fast-tracked by the federal government. It was even revealed in a Malaysiakini interview in January 2022 that the Menteri Besar of Selangor, Amirudin Shari, is in support of this. He lauded the proposal and believed it to be an effective solution to the woes of traffic congestion within the Klang Valley area. This particular conversation has also been extradited in the local state parliament session.
Furthermore, the executive director for PJD Link (M) Sdn Bhd has downplayed the possible detrimental effects of the proposed highway, stating that they will “need to adhere to stringent regulatory approvals from MBPJ (Majlis Bandaraya Petaling Jaya), the Selangor state and the federal government”. But the truth of the matter is that regulatory adherence is not enough to ensure that transport infrastructure development is conducted in the interest of urban society.
The PJD Link promotes overdevelopment in most of the areas where it is supposed to ‘ease the livelihood and promote comfort to all residents of Petaling Jaya ’, when in reality, it would actually cause massive disruption and discomfort to residents throughout the city. Notably, several key areas are predicted to be affected if the highway is realised, based on the plan presented to the Selangor Economic Action Council (MTES). There would most certainly be a loss of green spaces at SS20/ Damansara Kim and Bandar Kinrara 1 & 2. Additionally, residential land and business premises within Seksyen 2 & 51 may be acquired for highway construction. The proposed highway could also come into close proximity to certain primary schools such as SJK (T) Vivekananda, SJK (C) Yak Chee and SJK (C) Chen Moh. This could undoubtedly lead to detrimental health effects on students and cause difficulties for the schools to conduct their daily activities.
Despite the urgency and desperation for a better urban planning in Petaling Jaya that benefits its inhabitants, pleas were ignored, and they have been forced to deal with a regressive project that takes a step back from current trends of transport management around the world. Similarly to many other communities throughout the urban Klang Valley region, they are suffocating under the blanket of noise, dust and visual pollution from highways and vehicles. Having faced unprecedented urban growth for the past decades — which in turn has been inadequately addressed — the people living in Petaling Jaya have had enough of the antiques of their government.
It is a firm belief of PSM that the Selangor government should have conducted a public hearing for the PJD Link, in order to allow affected residents and businesses to provide feedback before the go-ahead was given. This was done before the degazettement of the Kuala Langat Forest Reserve issue. In regard to that, there was an enactment which required the state to conduct a public hearing before the forest was degazetted out. Similar legislation should be proposed for future highway projects to allow stakeholders a medium to voice their opinions. This, we believe, is the right step towards people’s empowerment and promoting democracy within Malaysia.
It is no secret that highways are slowly being removed in developed nations to give way for greener modes of transport. Why can’t greener modes of transportation be proposed instead of the template of proposing highways to solve traffic congestion? An investment in public transport should be preferred, as it is a more pragmatic option, rather than channelling funds to develop a highway. Our neighbouring country, Singapore, carries this example well. The Singaporean government emphasises the importance of public transport by having a policy of “A city in a garden” that prompts the creation of a clean and green environment to mitigate the concrete urban environment and improve the quality of life in the city. Why can’t the Selangor state and the federal government take a similar step that is clearly achievable?
Thus, PSM would like to reiterate that it fully supports and stands in solidarity with the residents of Petaling Jaya wholeheartedly in rejecting the PJD Link. Further information regarding the PJD can be found through the link below.
If you agree with our stance and would like to assist in the betterment of the city, please sign the petition available on the linked website. Your support would be very much appreciated.
Petaling Jaya Unit
Parti Sosialis Malaysia