Friday 21 Jun 2024
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This article first appeared in The Edge Malaysia Weekly on March 6, 2023 - March 12, 2023

The Petaling Jaya Dispersal Link (PJD Link) project has been controversial since it was proposed. The main contention is that the proposed highway will threaten some of Petaling Jaya’s oldest neighbourhoods and communities, forcing many to relocate.

Groups opposed to the project have also pointed out that there is no need for another highway in PJ as, they argue, it could lead to a waste of resources and inflated property prices.

The proposed 25.4km, two-lane dual carriageway highway will start after the New Klang Valley Expressway (NKVE) toll plaza on the Damansara Link of the Sprint Highway and end at the Bukit Jalil Highway interchange. The question of whether and how the proposed project will affect communities in PJ is unknown, given that the environmental, traffic and social impact studies are still being conducted.

What is clear is that, in a written parliamentary reply last week, the Ministry of Works said the project had received approval in principle from the federal government and policy approval from the Selangor government in September 2020. The concession agreement (CA) was signed in April 2022.

However, it doesn’t make sense for the CA for the PJD Link to be classified as an official secret under the Official Secrets Act 1972 (OSA), as was revealed by the ministry. Why should information on the CA be withheld from the general public, especially from residents or business owners who will be affected by the project?

If one thing is certain, the project poses no harm to national security, international relations or defence. Rather, it would serve the government and the concessionaire PJD Link (M) Sdn Bhd well to be more transparent on the proposed project, allowing people to know what the scope of work is, the estimated cost of the contract and the concession period to be accorded.

In fact, classifying the document as a secret may be seen as part of a deliberate and concerted effort to curtail the raising of critical questions from the public.

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