The government has in-principle approved 3 new highway projects in the Klang Valley that will be privately funded, says Works Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof.
The new highways are the Petaling Jaya Traffic Dispersal Elevated Highway (PJD Link), the Bangi-Putrajaya Expressway (BPE) and the Kuala Lumpur Northern Dispersal Expressway (KL Node) projects, reported The Star.
Following the announcement, Opposition politicians, environmentalists and netizens have taken to social media to express frustration at the government’s move to approve three new highways in the Klang Valley.
The stakeholders have collectively said they believe that this will compound further traffic inconvenience, not to mention the pollution and other woes during the construction process.
Meanwhile, they also called for better public transportation and town planning, among other things, in order to address road congestion in the metropolitan area.
On Twitter, Sg Buloh MP Sivarasa Rasiah said highways like PJD Link running right through mature townships like Petaling Jaya should never be approved.
Speaking to The Vibes, Sivarasa said highways are not the best solution to public transportation challenges within cities. Instead, he said they can be addressed by reducing car access to inner cities, as well as by offering better bus services and trains, among other moves.
“We are against tolled highways for private profit. Our last manifesto committee was committed to reducing tolls for existing highways. We would contradict this if we gave approval to the PJD Link,” said Sivarasa.
“This will be yet another privately funded and owned tolled highway, with the government guaranteeing increments in toll payments.”
“We do not want Petaling Jaya residents to be burdened by tolls for a highway they do not need. There is no compelling argument as to why this highway should be built through the heart of PJ,” he added.
Meanwhile, Kennedy Michael, founder of the River Three Alliance (ART!) and co-founder of the Malaysian Climate Emergency Coalition, a collective consisting of environmentalist non-governmental organisations and individuals, said the building of more highways has not solved the problems related to transportation, connectivity and traffic faced by Malaysians.
“All these constructions do not align with the commitment to reducing our carbon footprint or the government’s pledge of Net Zero by 2050. I don’t support Net Zero as I see it as a false solution,” he said.
“Highway projects have always been perceived as crony capitalism and never in the interests of Malaysians, although they are always positioned as such. History has proven this to be true time and again.”
In addition, he also pointed out the heavy environmental impact brought about by these projects.
“Highways destroy cohesive ecosystems and their integrity. These, in turn, displace wildlife and upset the biodiversity balance,” he said, adding that highways add to the impermeability of land for rainwater absorption, which leads to flooding.
Meanwhile, netizens also share similar opinions over the 3 new highway projects.
“Yet more highways. Spending a quarter of this on better bus service would do more to alleviate congestion” said a netizen.
“PJ roads are already so bad these days, no one is checking the quality of the work done. Almost every junction I turn into has really bad post-open heart surgery marks and uneven roads. PJD Link is gonna make PJ a nightmare!” said another netizen.
What do you think about this? Share your thoughts!