Tuesday, October 11, 2011

MRT: SPAD Must Stop The Half-Truths


SPAD must stop trying to deceive the public with half-truths and start acting in the interest of ordinary Malaysians instead of the politically-connected elite

SPAD CEO Mohd Nur Kamal has responded to our press conference held on Wednesday last week exposing the fact that the Klang Valley MRT tunnel has been realigned to save the bungalow residence of a VIP late on Thursday evening.

In a long-winded reply that tried hard to steer away from the subject at hand, SPAD has essentially confirmed that the tunnel has indeed been realigned at the site which we had pointed out. In the statement, SPAD said that:
“Following the feedback from the land owners given before the final approval of the alignment by the government, SPAD evaluated the alternatives and accepted the option of moving the original alignment further to the edge of the plot of land.

The re-alignment was possible because firstly there was suitable alternative land available. However, more importantly, the realignment reduced the amount of land acquisition by over 1,000 square metres… Indeed there was a cost to this realignment but it is lower than the potential compensation payout.”
One almost needs to shake his or her head with incredulity that SPAD has decided that the tunnel realignment was necessary as it could reduce land acquisition by some 1,000 square meters. At prime residential land prices, the land could be worth just above RM5,000 per square meter, meaning a “saving” of just about only RM5 million ringgit. We call upon SPAD to disclose in full the total cost incurred for the realignment especially since tunnelling works have already commenced on the initial alignment by the relevant contractors.

SPAD even had the cheek to be sneaky by claiming that the original alignment did not affect the bungalow residence and that our “allegation is totally false and the item marked on the map as the “VIP House” is totally incorrect.”

I have attached once again the original alignment plan for the tunnel, this time the plan issued directly by SPAD and Syarikat Prasarana Bhd above. It is beyond the doubt of anyone with reasonable eyesight that the tunnel had cut through underneath the swimming pool and an ancillary building at the bungalow residence. Is the SPAD CEO trying to wriggle out of the issue by claiming that the swimming pool is not strictly speaking the bungalow?

SPAD should stop giving incongruous, unbelievable and contradictory excuses in the entire land acquisition exercise. SPAD claims close consultation with all affected parties before decisions on the alignment was finalised, including we assume, the above VIP bungalow-owner. However, that is completely untrue in the case of the Bukit Bintang and Jalan Sultan shop-owners where the notices for land acquisition caught them by complete surprise.

SPAD CEO has also admitted in an earlier statement that the underground stratum can be acquired without affecting the land use and ownership of the surface land where “all affected individual land owners [can] apply for stratum titles to be issued to the Government”.

This is because as highlighted many times during the controversy, the National Land Code 1965 had been specifically amended in 1990 to allow for the acquisition of underground land without affecting surface property by inserting Part Five (A) (section 92A to 92G) under Clause 3. The amendment enables the disposal of “underground land”, which can then either be alienated or leased for the use to construct tunnels, car parks and to lay pipes.

Hence even the rationale for realignment of the tunnel below the bungalow residence is based on a false premise, that the Government will “save” from the acquisition of 1,000 square metres of land (or 32m x 32m) as the acquisition of surface land is completely unnecessary.

The flimsy reply provided by SPAD is completely unacceptable and only serves to confirm the fears of ordinary Malaysians that special privileges are accorded only to the very privileged few, while the rights of the honest man trying to make a living on the street are trampled upon indiscriminately.
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