MRT to force out occupants in 473 landlots

Posted on February 15, 2011. Filed under: Environment and Livelihoods |

– The Malaysian Insider-

By Shannon Teoh
February 15, 2011
 

A Kaohsiung MRT train arrives at a depot. Malaysia plans to construct a 156km-long MRT line in the Greater KL region. — WikiCommons

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 15 — Occupants in 473 lots of land totalling 97 hectares will have to make way for the Klang Valley Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) — in areas as diverse as upscale Taman Tun Dr Ismail and Malay reserve lands along the rail line — according to an environmental impact assessment (EIA) released yesterday.

Of the lots that are set to be acquired, 103 are located within the Sg Buloh – Semantan stretch, 163 over the underground section between Semantan to Maluri in Kuala Lumpur and 207 along the Maluri – Kajang segment.

The RM36.6 billion line will start from the Sungai Buloh KTM station and make its way through the capital city and four other municipalities before ending at the Kajang KTM station, where the report said would be a “loss of social cohesion, sense of community and current lifestyle for long standing communities” while land owners would suffer as the “value of property may decline if only part of the lot is acquired.”

“Residents affected by the acquisition and relocation could potentially endure problems such as temporary disruption to lives and loss of social cohesion unless they relocate within the immediate neighbourhood.

“In the case of businesses, there will be potential loss of customers — particularly businesses that rely on the local neighbourhoods,” said the project’s environmental consultant ERE Consulting Group in the report.

However, the firm said that further refinement in the alignment of the MRT track could reduce the number of lots that needed to be acquired. It cited other areas such as Taman Suntex in Cheras as well as Malay reserve land in Kampung Sungai Sekamat and Kampung Sungai Balak.

ERE recommended that all property on a particular lot be acquired if those that were to remain would suffer severely from a loss of value as well as entire rows of houses rather than leaving a few standing in incompatible land use.

It also proposed that due notice and assistance be provided to the affected parties along with fair valuations for land and properties acquired.

As a mitigating measure, ERE also suggested “continued engagement with local residents who would be affected by the acquisition” and special attention to those living in Kampung Sungai Balak in Kajang as this would be the third time that they have been affected by land acquisition.

The EIA also said that communities along the line would be affected by noise and dust once the trains are operational.

The noisiest area will be around Jalan Bukit Ledang, Damansara Heights, which is expected to suffer noise levels of 81dB, which a study says is louder than conventional alarm clocks.

Noise and dust will largely affect those within 30 metres of the rail line, which include 2,080 landed residential units, 2,980 units of condominium and apartments and 1,000 units of flats.

However, these noise levels can be reduced by using noise barriers.

Despite these problems, the report found that more than 87.5 per cent of Klang Valley residents surveyed supported the project.

The Klang Valley MRT will have 35 stations along its 51km line that stretches from Sungai Buloh to Kajang, with 13 proposed park-and-ride stations and four interchanges.

Eight of the stations will be underground as 9.5km of the line will be built under the capital city. Groundwork for the MRT is due to start this July 16 and will be completed in 2016.

The MRT is an entry-point project identified for the Greater Kuala Lumpur/Klang Valley National Key Economic Area under the Economic Transformation Programme.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said last December that the implementation of the project is expected to generate a gross national income (GNI) of between RM3 billion and RM4 billion beginning in 2011 until 2020.

He had said that between RM8 billion and RM12 billion was expected to be generated in terms of spin-offs from the construction of the MRT project.

The proposed alignment map for the Kajang-Sungai Buloh line, the first of three proposed lines under the MRT, is up for public viewing from today until May 14 at seven locations across the city.

The detailed environmental assessment impact report has been uploaded for public viewing at the Department of Environment’s website.

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