We wish to record our appreciation towards the Selangor Chief Minister’s recent statement that the State Government has rejected the PJD Link project.
Unfortunately, there are subsequent news reports where the Chief Minister has suggested that the project would be revived if certain “requirements” are met. There is however no elaboration on what these “requirements” are. With such an unclear caveat, we are concerned that there will be another attempt to introduce another similar version of the PJD Link soon.
In light of these developments, we set forth 3 demands to both the Federal & Selangor State Government:
1. Give A Firm Commitment NOT To Entertain Any Similar Proposed Highway Projects in Petaling Jaya In The Future
The KIDEX & PJD Link saga indicates a tendency for developers to repackage & rebrand highways – which are substantially similar – under a different name.
Whilst we recognize that Governments cannot categorically reject all infrastructure proposals for Petaling Jaya (and other parts of Klang Valley), they can give a commitment that any highway proposals which are similar in terms of alignment with KIDEX and PJD Link ought to be rejected from the outset.
For PJD Link, despite the cancellation of KIDEX in 2015, the Federal Government gave an approval in principle (“kelulusan prinsip”) on 12.11.2017 for the PJD Link highway, subject to several conditions which were not disclosed to the public. Subsequently, on 3.9.2020, the Selangor State Government granted a policy approval (“kelulusan dasar”) for the PJD Link highway, subject to conditions which were again not made known to the public. On 5.4.2022, the developer then signed a Concession Agreement with the Federal Government, the terms which are shrouded in secrecy under the Official Secrets Act 1972 (“OSA”).
All of these developments, which gave an impression that a mega highway was imminent, had triggered much anxiety and restlessness among the community. We have had no choice but to organize protests, surveys, townhalls and campaigns for the past 4 years to oppose the idea of the project, which has taken up substantial time, money and effort.
The residents of Petaling Jaya do not wish to experience such an episode again. Now that it is clear that the overwhelming majority of residents do not wish for such a highway be built, both the Federal & State Governments should reject any similar proposals from the outset and not grant any “approvals” (be it conditional or otherwise), which would unnecessarily drag the community through such an ordeal again.
2. Immediately Declassify the Concession Agreement dated 5.4.2022 As An “Official Secret” Under the OSA
Let this be clear: highway projects have nothing to do with national security, and should never be hidden from the public under the OSA. There must be full transparency on the terms agreed to by the developer and government, because it invariably involves taxpayers’ money and will impact the public.
We have been clear from day one that the SayNoToPJDLink movement was not born to merely oppose PJD Link specifically, but is part of a larger battle to demand greater transparency & accountability in multi-billion public infrastructure projects which involve private developers. Otherwise, other similarly harmful mega-projects will continue to emerge in other forms and the people are forced to mobilise again and again. This cycle of secrecy, opacity & undisclosed public-private dealings must stop.
3. Immediately Disclose To The Public the EIA, TIA & SIA Reports, and the “Requirements” the Selangor State Government Has Imposed To Greenlight A Highway In Petaling Jaya
The residents of Petaling Jaya deserve to know the contents of the EIA, TIA & SIA. If these reports indicate a negative implication of a mega highway like PJD Link on the environment, traffic and social lives of residents, then it is an important resource for us to assess any similar highway proposals in the same vicinity which may arise in the future.
We also deserve to know the “requirements” set forth by the State Government to approve a highway project in Petaling Jaya, which the Selangor Chief Minister is referring to in news reports. What conditions and thresholds is he referring to? We need to know what yardsticks are used by the State Government, and assess whether they adequately protect public & environmental interests.
Unless these 3 demands are complied with by the Federal & Selangor State Government within 1 week from today, we will assume that:
The SayNoToPJDLink Movement
Chakaravarthi a/l Thillainathan
Kum Koo Ji
Saktiseelan a/l Shivasubramaniam
Loke Yin Pong