Malaysia: Coalition confident East Klang Valley Expressway project will be scrapped

Nor Ain Mohamed Radhi New Straits Times 20 May 14;

AMPANG JAYA: The Coalition for the Protection of the Selangor State Park members are not giving up hope that the approved East Klang Valley Expressway (EKVE) will be scrapped.

The coalition, which comprises Malaysian Nature Society, Save Our Sungai (SOS) Selangor, Treat Every Environment Special Sdn Bhd (TrEES) and WWF Malaysia said it would continue to ensure that part of the Selangor State Park (SSP) will not be degazetted to make way for the highway project.

TrEES director Leela Panikkar, said the proposed de-gazettement which involves 106.55ha of land from four forest reserves in Ampang, Bukit Seputeh, Ulu Gombak and Ulu Langat would only create environmental problems in the area.

"As for the Ampang and Ulu Gombak Forest Reserves, both are important water catchment areas. Recently, we were hit by a water crisis and it is supposed to be an eye-opener to many on how precious water is and how important it is to keep the water catchment areas in pristine condition," said Leela.

"Sadly, water resources are still being taken for granted. The current alignment of EKVE compromises the crucial ecosystem function of these forests as water catchments forests," she said after a visit to the Ampang Forest Reserve on Saturday.

Both the Ulu Gombak and Ampang Forest Reserves were gazetted as water catchment forests under the National Forestry Act Selangor Enactment 2005 as well as the Lembaga Urus Air Selangor Enactment 1999.

The Ampang Intake plant supplies 19 million litres of water to 9,225 accounts in Ampang.

As for Ulu Gombak, the water from its catchment will be channeled to Klang Gates Dam, and the dam reportedly supplies water to 80,000 households and business premises in Klang Valley.

She added, both forest reserves were part of Selangor State Park that has been classified as an Environmentally Sensitive Area (ESA) Rank 1 under the National Physical Plan-2 (NPP-2).

Under the gazettement, no development, agriculture or logging shall be permitted except for low-impact nature tourism, research and education.

She said the project had been given the green light despite objections from NGOs and residents.

"It is regrettable that neither government has acted upon the concerns despite years of protest. We have given them some options like building an elevated highway on MRR2 or to extend the MRT line, but to no avail.

"Hence, we are calling for realignment of the proposed highway and both governments to act in accordance with the NPP-2. They have a responsibility to protect the park and the water catchments within," added Leela.

"We are now waiting for the outcome of the public inquiry that was carried out from Feb 14 to March 31 and we hope to get a positive feedback from it," she said.

Upon completion, the proposed EKVE will complete the final section of the KL Outer Ring Road (KLORR) that comprises SILK Expressway, South Klang Valley Expressway, Guthrie Corridor Expressway, Latar Highway and ELITE Highway.

The current phase, which has already been approved is 21.16km from the Sungai Long to Ukay Perdana interchanges, while the proposed second phase will link the Ukay Perdana interchange with the International Islamic University Malaysia.

Read more: Coalition confident project will be scrapped - Central - New Straits Times