PETALING JAYA, May 7 — Kidex Sdn Bhd may face a major setback in its plan to build its RM2.42 billion super-elevated highway in Selangor as it has not obtained approval from the city’s local council office.
The Malay Mail Online understands that the proposal for the controversial Kinrara-Damansara Expressway (KIDEX) was rejected on three occasions by the Petaling Jaya Municipal Council (MBPJ) as developers had failed to provide sufficient details on the project.
“There will definitely be a delay into the construction of the highway,” MBPJ councillor Lee Suet Sen told The Malay Mail Online when contacted.
Under Section 18 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1976 (TCPA), any form of development must abide by the PJ City Plans outlined by the MBPJ before any form of construction can take place.
In the case of KIDEX, The Malay Mail Online understands that three such plans need to be amended as a super-elevated highway is currently not incorporated into the Petaling Jaya city blueprint.
“This is a legal roadblock, an amendment to the local plans is needed under law and the only way this can happen is if MBPJ amends the local plan,” Lee explained.
But he noted that MBPJ rejected the project plan three times — during a brief in December last year, through its full council meeting in February and following a public display last month — when developers would not reveal details on the alignment of the highway and its traffic impact study.
This, Lee added, was also why the MBPJ town hall meeting on KIDEX that was scheduled for April 5 had been postponed.
“No point in having the public hearing when there are no details. When we asked them (Kidex Sdn Bhd) for the traffic study, they say its classified.
“So how? We can't approve something that we don't have information on,” he explained.
Lee added that there was also concern over how the highway would affect traffic in the area.
“MBPJ has initiated a one-way traffic loop in Jalan Barat, Utara, Timur and others. The impact of Kidex is very significant to it. I am quite sure the ramp in and out of Kidex will affect this,” Lee said.
Former councillor and expert in planning and local government laws Derek Fernandez said there are several processes that could be initiated by MBPJ or, in exceptional circumstances, the state government, to amend the local plans.
“The KIDEX elevated highway is presently inconsistent with all three plans and Section 18 of the Town and Country Planning Act prohibits any development inconsistent with the local plans,” he told The Malay Mail Online in an interview.
Fernandez was among the councillors who voted against the highway project back in December while he was still in office.
The first step to amend a local plan is through a pre-consultation process with the public, which Fernandez said must be conducted by MBPJ and not Kidex Sdn Bhd. Residents are given 30 days to present their views which will then be compiled.
At the same time, he said the local council's planning development department must also prepare an impact assessment report and present it, along with other relevant documents, to the MBPJ. The council can then approve a draft plan to incorporate the relevant amendments.
The council — consisting of the mayor and no fewer than eight of the 24 local councillors — must then decide whether the draft plan would be approved for public consultation.
“The state will appoint persons to conduct the public hearings, and thereafter the decision of the hearings will be put in the final draft and sent to state authority for approval.
“Thereafter the amended local plan has legal force,” Fernandez said.
But according to the former local councillor and lawyer, Kidex Sdn Bhd had never furnished MBPJ with the necessary documents and plans to justify an amendment to the local plan.
“At the December 2013 presentation, Kidex assured the council they would consider providing elevated walkways to provide local benefit and encourage non-vehicle mobility for policy justification,” Fernandez added, but said the developer never offered further details on this plan.
Despite this, Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim said recently that thwarting the elevated highway plan would be unfair to the developer and indicated that concessions — if any — are likely to be limited to alterations to the highway’s alignment.
Works Minister Datuk Fadillah Yusof told The Malay Mail Online previously that a “conditional agreement” was already in place for the controversial highway project.
According to two parliamentary replies on the matter by the Works minister, a number of conditions came with the project, and the Selangor government agreed to the highway construction proposal two years ago.
On November 12 last year, Fadillah told Petaling Jaya Selatan MP Hee Loy Sian that Selangor state had agreed to plans to build the highway through a letter by the Selangor Economic Action Council (MTES) dated February 23, 2012.
Earlier last month, the Works Ministry told Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo that KIDEX must fulfil a “condition precedent” 12 months before the concession agreement is enforced and that a “public survey” was also a necessary pre-condition.
The minister’s reply stated that the project cannot go ahead if public feedback is negative.
The reply also said that construction work is slated to begin next year if there were no objections.
Among the areas that could be affected by the project are Tropicana Mall, SS2 Mall, Rothman’s traffic lights, Section 14, Amcorp Mall, Hilton Petaling Jaya, Tun Hussein Onn Eye Hospital, Jalan Templer roundabout, Taman Datuk Harun, Taman Medan Baru and Bandar Kinrara.
Construction of the multi-billion ringgit highway could begin as soon as next year and be completed by 2018.