Stop EKVE Development and Save Our Water Catchment Forests
2) Azmin will be asked to explain highway approval: Wan Azizah (The New Straits Times 28 October 2015); 3) Azmin must explain alleged approval of 3 highways (Malaysiakini 28 October 2015); 4) Wan Azizah: Azmin to be questioned over Selangor highways (The Star 28 October, 2015).
Among the highways that are alleged to have been approved is the Phase 1 of the East Klang Valley Expressway (EKVE), also known as the Kuala Lumpur Outer Ring Road (KLORR). WWF-Malaysia and other environmental groups have been objecting to this expressway as it will cut through the Ampang Forest Reserve, a perfectly well functioning water catchment forest which is also part of the Selangor State Park and rich in biodiversity.
In our opinion, the approval of Phase 1 of the EKVE can have far reaching long term direct and indirect impacts. If Phase 1 is approved, it is a matter of time before Phase 2 of the highway is also approved in order to complete the outer ring road. Our fear is not unfounded as both phases of the EKVE are included in the Draft Selangor Structure Plan 2035 that was recently made available for public inspection. Based on the alignment in the plan, Phase 2 will traverse through more water catchment forests and the park. And more often than not, road development introduces pressure for development along the roads which can eventually lead to more forests destroyed in the future.
Members of the state government often champion transparency and accountability in any decision making process and YAB Tuan Azmin Ali, when taking over the MB’s post, promised good governance and accountability in Selangor. However, we are extremely disappointed that in the case of the EKVE, accountability and transparency in decision making demonstrated by the state government is practically non-existent.
We have used all avenues that were available to object and voice our concern regarding the alignment of this highway but to no avail and we are left in the dark on how our concerns and objections have been factored in the decision making. This includes submitting written and oral objections last year on a proposal to degazette parts of the Ampang Forest Reserve for this project, to a panel headed by YB Elizabeth Wong, the State EXCO for Tourism, Environment, Green Technology and Consumer Affairs. We have yet to see the panel’s report and recommendations nor has the state government responded to any of the issues and concerns we have raised in our objections.
We reiterate our stand – allowing a highway to cut through precious water catchment forests and a protected area is not a long term solution to ease traffic jams. It is the responsibility of the state government to protect our water catchment forests and the Selangor State Park for the long term benefit of the rakyat.
Dato’ Dr Dionysius Sharma
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