Thursday, 30 June 2016

(NST) Kelana Jaya & Ampang / Seri Petaling LRT extensions to benefit two million Klang Valley commuters

PUTRA HEIGHTS: The extensions for the Kelana Jaya and Ampang / Sri Petaling Light Rail Transit (LRT) lines are now officially open for use. 

The extension, spanning 35.1 kilometers in total, will benefit some two million Klang Valley commuters. The LRT line extension project, owned by Prasarana Malaysia Bhd (Prasarana), paved the way for 12 new stations to be opened along the Kelana Jaya Line and 11 new stations along the Ampang / Seri Petaling Line. 

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said with the commencement of the Kelana Jaya and Ampang / Seri Petaling full LRT services, the government has made good its promise to deliver an integrated public transportation for the public. 

Najib said the predecessor to the country's leadership had for 22 years failed to pay attention to public transportation, which led to an unintegrated system owned by various companies. 

"We realise that the catalyst of growth of any country lies in the heart of the cities, and we decided to invest RM8 billion into it to provide an integrated transportation system for the public. 

"We aim to increase the public's modal share from 21 per cent to 40 per cent by 2030 as this project was deemed as a high-impact economic project with projected returns. 

"We have also conducted careful planning, with stringent rules and criterias imposed on the project," said Najib in his speech before officiating the ceremony today. 

The newly-opened stations would be able to cater to about 300,000 more commuters daily, living in high-density and business areas such as Subang, Glenmarie, Subang Jaya, USJ as well as Bandar Kinrara, Puchong Prima, Puchong Perdana and the Puchong city centre. 

Prasarana chairman Tan Sri Ismail Adam said the extended lines had been opened up gradually as the opening of the lines were too crucial to be deferred. 

"It involves the comfort and convenience of millions of city folks who rely on public transportation, specifically the LRT, monorail and stage buses provided by Rapid KL," he said. 

In concurrent with the 15 new station openings, stage bus operator Rapid Bus Sdn Bhd will also be providing feeder buses for commuters.

(NST) Ampang Park traders fail to halt demolition of iconic shopping mall

KUALA LUMPUR: Thirty-nine Ampang Park traders failed to halt the planned demolition of the iconic mall as part of the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) project. 

This was the outcome today when the High Court dismissed their judicial review application against the decision to allow acquisition of the land on which the shopping centre is situated. 

Judge Datuk Hanipah Farikullah ruled that the land-acquisition was proper and had been done in accordance with the law, among them the Land Acquisition Act 1960. 

Hanipah ordered the mall's business owners to pay a total of RM70,000 in cost to the three respondents. 

The court awarded cost of RM35,000 to the Federal Territories Land and Mines Office director and the Federal Territories Land Administrator, and RM35,000 to Mass Rapid Transit Corporation Sdn Bhd (MRT Corp). 

MRT Corp is the company behind the MRT project. 

After proceedings, MRT Corp's lawyer Lai Wai Fong said that demolition would not proceed immediately. 

Lai said a land inquiry (by the Federal Territories Land Administrator) is still ongoing to determine how much compensation is to be paid to the shopping mall's business owners, who are affected by the matter. 

The traders' counsel Datuk Edward Ng Boon Siong confirmed that he has instructions to appeal to the Court of Appeal. 

"We will file an application for stay of proceedings (today's decision) pending appeal. The (business) owners are not satisfied with the judgment," said Ng. 

Senior federal counsel Shamsul Bolhassan appeared for the Federal Territories Land and Mines Office director and the Federal Territories Land Administrator. 

On Jan 8, the 39 business owners, including dentist Dr Dzul Khaini Husain, filed a legal action to overturn the approval for the mall's demolition to make way for an underground walkway connecting the new MRT station to the Ampang Park Light Rail Transit (LRT) station.

(NST) Fifteen new LRT stations in Klang Valley begin operations today

KUALA LUMPUR: As of 6am today, 15 new Light Rail Transit (LRT) stations began their operations in the Klang Valley, including the Putra Heights interchange station, which connects both the Kelana Jaya and Sri Petaling Lines. 

Announcing this today, Prasarana Malaysia Bhd said the public can now opt to take the Putra Heights LRT service to travel to the city and avoid traffic congestion. 

"From Putra Heights, one can choose whether to use the Kelana Jaya and Sri Petaling / Ampang Line, based on your destination. Alternatively, you can plan your trip and use both routes," said Rapid Rail Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Ahmad Nizam Mohamed Amin said. 

In addition to providing a direct journey to the city and route exchange for commuters, a full opening of Line Extension Project (LEP) today would also provide seamless travel facilities with the KTM Komuter and the Bus Rapid Transit – Sunway line. 

The other new stations for the Kelana Jaya Line include Lembah Subang, Ara Damansara, Glenmarie, SS15; SS18; Taipan; USJ 21; Awan Megah; and Shah Alam. 

Eight stations under the Ampang / Sri Petaling Line have already begun operations. The Awan Besar, Goodwill, Alam Sutera and Kinrara BK5 stations have been operating since October 31 last year, while another four stations - IOI Puchong Jaya, Pusat Bandar Puchong, Taman Perindustrian Puchong and Bandar Puteri had commenced operations on March 31. 

"The remaining three stations on the Ampang Line that opened today are Puchong Prima, Puchong Perdana and Putra Heights, which is integrated with the Kelana Jaya Line. The operation hours start from 6am till midnight. 

"Concurrently, our friends at Rapid Bus will start the shuttle buses services or “feeder buses” to ensure that passengers can use this service comfortably. 

"Full details of the schedule and frequency of these buses can be found on our website at The public can also access the information about the Park n’ Ride facility. 

"For the first month, no fees will be charged when using the facility. I suggest that passengers use the monthly package, MyRapid SMART 30, and weekly package SMART 7, for greater savings," said Ahmad Nizam.

(The Star) Fair to feature affordable units

Penangites can check out the more than 3,500 affordable housing units which will be available for registration during the upcoming inaugural two-day Affordable Housing Expo in Penang.
The public can also find out more about the affordable housing projects at the expo which will be held from July 30 at the ground floor of Prangin Mall (11am to 9pm).
The event, organised by the state government, will showcase the projects of eight developers with prices ranging from RM200,000 to RM400,000.
State Housing, Town and Country Planning Committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo told a press conference that this was an extension of the affordable housing roadshows held several times a year.
“There will be a total of 3,597 of such units at the expo and the northeast district will have the most with 1,917 followed by the southwest district (991), north Seberang Prai (562) and south Seberang Prai (127).”
The affordable housing projects available for registration during the expo are Tri Pinnacle by Aspen Vision Ventures Sdn Bhd, The Rise (Jalan SP Chelliah) by PDC-Zubicon Sdn Bhd, I-Santorini by Ideal Property, Granito by Taman Sri Bunga Sdn Bhd, Mutiara Rini by JKP Sdn Bhd, Iconic Vue by Iconic Land Sdn Bhd, One Foresta by I-Global Property Network Sdn Bhd, Duo Residence (Teluk Kumbar) by PDC, Ramah Pavilion by M Summit Corporation Sdn Bhd, Jiran Residensi (Kampung Jawa) by PDC, Rumah Hijau by Silver Channel Sdn Bhd and Hijau E-Komuniti (Bandar Cassia) by PDC.
Also present were Jawi assemblyman Soon Lip Chee and representatives from the developers.

For details, call 04-6505242/ 5484 or 04-2610763.

(The Star) Road plan revised to appease residents

The alignment of the intersection where the Sierra Vista neighbourhood meets Lebuh Bukit Jambulfor the RM275.6mil Jalan Paya Terubong Paired Road project in Penang has been changed following concerns raised by the residents.
Bayan Baru MP Sim Tze Tzin said the road exit linking Lebuhraya Thean Teik in Bandar Baru Air Itam to Lebuh Bukit Jambul has been relocated by 30m.
“The initial proposed distance of the junction from Sierra Vista was 25m, but it has now been revised to 55m.
“This will be done at an extra cost of RM6mil but the new road design will be aligned to the tangent ofthe existing curve of Lebuh Bukit Jambul and this will make it safer for motorists as the curve will not be so sharp,” he said during ameeting with the residents on Friday.
Several Sierra Vista residents, who were present at the meeting, also questioned the effect from thevibration caused by rock blasting activities for the road project.
Sim said the newly excavated rock slope was away from the Sierra Vista neighbourhood and fear about the rock slope’s stability did not arise.
“It is conducted using safe vibration level at below 5mm/s since two weeks ago.
“The contractor will visit the 42 houses to do a survey of the structure which will then be compared with after the blasting activities to see if there are any problems,” he said, adding that the residents couldcontinue giving their feedback as the road construction progresses.

It was reported that work on the paired road, undertaken by the Penang Island City Council andprivate developers PLB Land Sdn Bhd and Geo Valley Sdn Bhd, started on Jan 14 and is scheduled to be completed in early 2019.

(The Star) Online payment made easier

Online payment solution provider iPay88 Sdn Bhd entered into a collaboration with leading online payments company PayPal to promote and facilitate cross-border trade for iPay88 merchants.
iPay88 executive director K.L. Chan said the company chose to collaborate with PayPal to provide greater value to its Malaysian eCommerce businesses as the collaboration would allow local SMEs the access to conduct their business in the global marketplace, thereby providing an additional source of revenue for local businesses.
Merchants who are signing up for a PayPal account can now do so directly via iPay88.
An approval for the Merchant ID will be sent to the merchant within three working days for the merchants to enable the credit card payment option on their eCommerce.
Aside from the quick sign-up process, iPay88’s online merchants will also be able to benefit from PayPal’s multi-currency checkout.
This feature will allow merchants to reach out to consumers from all over the world and grow their customer base as they can now receive payments from 10 other currencies, apart from the Malaysian ringgit.
For small businesses in particular, cross border e-commerce would create a growing opportunity to sell to the world, expanding beyond just their local economy.
“While businesses are no longer restricted by physical or geographical borders, it is imperative to find the right business and technology partners to make that business journey much easier.
“This collaboration with PayPal will enable iPay88 merchants to leverage PayPal’s 184 million active accounts and presence in more than 200 markets to extend their reach and go where the demand is without the costs of traditional geo-expansion,” Chan said.
“Currently, iPay88’s existing customer base is close to 10,000 eMerchants – which includes SMEs and large conglomerates in Malaysia.
“However, there is also a large, untapped market of businesses and companies which are still considering moving into the online eCommerce sector. This collaboration with PayPal is timely as it will help capture this market effectively by offering both online banking and credit card payment options,” said Chan.
He said the collaboration would drive additional revenue for iPay88 in 12 months.
“We are extremely pleased to collaborate with iPay88 to support local businesses in selling overseas,” said PayPal South-East Asia general manager Rahul Shinghal.
“It has always been a challenge for businesses, especially small ones, to expand and sell overseas. PayPal is committed to helping them grow by leveraging the power of eCommerce, which gives them a level playing field when competing with larger export houses.
“We hope that with our support, local businesses can better understand where the growth opportunities lie, build strong trust relationships and become increasingly mobile. This will provide them with the opportunity to tap on current trends, attract the global consumer and become competitive players in the global marketplace,” Rahul added.

“As the country’s eCommerce market grows exponentially, this partnership with PayPal marks another milestone for iPay88 as we continuously look to work with world-leading financial technology players, for the betterment of the local sector,” Chan added.

(The Star) Noodles and nasi lemak by humble hawker

Her day starts as early as 3am, when 66-year-old Tan Siew Kuan cooks and prepares for business at a small stall in Medan Selera Rumah Atap in Persiaran Raja Muda Musa, Klang.
Situated on the right as you enter the food court, Tan’s stall can be identified by the words “Economic Mee” and “Nasi Lemak” written on a white board.
Serving only those two dishes, Tan and her husband, Ng Lian Huat, set up stall by 7am every day.
This hardworking couple see endless streams of customers, especially on weekends and public holidays.
So much so, 70-year-old Ng sometimes gets the orders mixed up. However, customers remain loyal and return again and again because of the tasty food that is reasonably priced.
For only RM2.20, customers get a generous serving of noodles with fried egg on top, a spoonful of sambal and a bowl of vegetable curry.
Customers can choose between the mee hoon or mee cooked in dark soy sauce.
They can also add on curry chicken, which then brings the price to RM4.50.
Even with the increasing food prices and high cost of living, prices at this stall remain unchanged.
“We are not in the business to earn a quick buck,” said Tan, who takes pride in her cooking.
She came up with the recipe when she was 22 years old.
“We were really poor back then and I made a choice to earn a living by selling food. We needed money to live.
“No one taught me to cook and I improved the recipe over the years,” she said while preparing her next order.
No secrets, no special ingredients, just her desire to cook something healthy for her customers to enjoy without great cost to their pockets.
“I don’t believe in adding lots of coconut milk (santan) to my curries as it is not healthy.
“I also use a lot of lemongrass in my cooking, along with big onions,” said the mother of two.
Most parts of the dish are prepared and cooked at home; Tan heats up the vegetable curry and fries the egg at the stall upon order.
As her food runs out fast, she also makes time to make more noodles in between completing orders from her customers.
Since day one, it has always been just her husband and her manning the stall.
Although some customers have suggested that Tan increase her prices a little, she has refused to do so.
Medan Selera Rumah Atap food court is open from 7am to midnight daily.
Tan’s stall operates from 7am until 2pm only.

This is the writer’s personal observation and not an endorsement by StarMetro.

(The Star) The top of the world

I had never been on a mountain hike before but I was not about to admit that to my colleague Natasha when she asked if I would like to join a 2D/1N expedition up Mount Trusmadi, in Sabah.
Officially known as Nuluhon Trusmadi, nuluhon being the Dusun word for mountain, it is Malaysia’s second highest mountain after Mt Kinabalu at 2,604km above sea-level.
There are three trails, or wayaan to reach the summit, one from Tambunan district – Wayaan Kaingaran – and two more – Wayaan Mastan and Wayaan Manan – starting out from Keningau District in Sabah’s Interior Division.
Of these three, the Manan trail is the longest, approximately 12.6km from Base Camp Tanaiskon in Kampung Sinua to the summit.
But just to be clear, I only climbed up to Trusmadi’s Base Camp 2 on the Mannan trail, feeling that I did not have enough reserves to go up to the summit and back.
According to those who have climbed Mt Kinabalu and Trusmadi, the latter is much tougher.
“Trusmadi’s incline to the peak is absolute murder where some parts are almost a vertical face so you need to use the ropes prepared.
“At Mount Kinabalu, you also need ropes, but the incline is less steep,” said expedition organiser Venda Vitales, who has done the Sabah Salt Trail, Kinabalu six times and trekked around Kiulu valley.
Moreover, the trail on Kinabalu is about 8.7km one way, versus the Mannan trail’s 12.6km, meaning a total of 25.2km up and down.
For Trusmadi, you will have to pack your own food and water for the hike up to the second base camp, as opposed to Kinabalu’s Panalaban rest-stop.
If you do not feel up to the task, the prudent choice would be to hire one of the Dusun porters at Tanaiskon, who will help you with your load up and down for RM6 per kg, plus you would also be contributing to the local economy.
Travelling overnight from Putatan, on the outskirts of Kota Kinabalu to Kampung Sinua-Sook, takes about four hours, and we snatched some quick sleep at the base camp’s cots before starting the hike at 7am.
Camp Tanaiskon owner-manager and guide Dennis Ikon provided some pointers before the trip including the number of river crossings (two), flora to watch out for such as Nepenthes pitcher plant (periuk kera) as well as the optimum time to start the second hike to catch the sunrise.
“You have various animals on Trusmadi’s conservation area, such as kijang, wild boar, wild cats but those are rare, gibbons, even bears and various hornbills,” said Dennis, who built Tanaiskon in 2011.
Normally, May would be a dry month in Sabah but the weather has become unpredictable, according to Dennis, and we were warned to prep for rain and leeches.
Even with a diminishing 5kg backpack (3l for water and the other space for an aid-kit, poncho, energy bars and the like) the hike-up quickly took its toll.
And then it rained.
Trudging up in the downpour and trying to peer your way through wet glasses was an exercise in doggedness, and I was cursing at everyone and everything, from Natasha for getting me into this, the leeches who had managed to somehow crawl through my bloused pant legs and the base camp for being so far.
Somehow, I managed to make it to Base Camp 2 after hitting my head a couple of times travelling through a mossy area and as Venda said, the winds at sunset chilled everyone to the bone despite layers of jackets, T-shirts and socks.
Despite our tiredness, sleep was long in coming after dinner, and the last I remembered was my fellow expedition members hiking out between midnight and 1pm to start the second part of the ascent.
For expedition member Ash, the nearly-vertical parts was pure torture, especially when using the prepared ropes.
“It was really painful and I was still suffering from muscle cramps earlier due to the cold weather.
“But it was really nice passing through the mossy areas, and you see some awesome scenes like the last 500m to the peak, where everything is layered in fog with a really beautiful sunrise.
“You can also catch Mount Kinabalu from Trusmadi’s peak as well,” said Ash.
Another expedition mate, Amanda Leonie, had started out around 2am for the ascent.
“It’s pitch black, so we don’t know what’s in front of us. But if you were to set out when it’s light, it would be psychologically worse, because you can see how far off you are from the summit,” said Amanda, who sometimes faced roots, in the mossy forest section almost as high as her.
Still, there was some small consolation upon arriving in Kota Kinabalu as our aching legs meant I could avoid doing the sumazau during Kaamatan (harvest festival) celebrations.

For more info on climbing Trusmadi and its trails,, while Dennis can be reached

(The Star) All set for feeder service

Rapid KL will be offering more than 20 shuttle bus services for the Kelana Jaya and Sri Petaling LRT lines to make it easier for commuters to leave their cars at home.
From today, 13 new stations along the Kelana Jaya line, namely Lembah Subang, Ara Damansara, Glenmarie, Subang Jaya, SS15, SS18, USJ7, Taipan, Wawasan, USJ21, Alam Megah, Subang Alam and Putra Heights, will officially begin services from 6am.
Likewise, the Puchong Prima and Puchong Perdana stations along the Sri Petaling line will also commence operations at the same time today.
Residents near the USJ7 station along Persiaran Kewajipan of Subang Jaya will be served by bus T776 which runs anti-clockwise in a loop beginning from the USJ7 station, passing by the Taipan station, the Subang Business Centre, Masjid Al-Falah, USJ8 police station, Subang Perdana Goodyear Courts 7,8 and 9 (along Jalan Mulia), Angsana Apartment (Persiaran Subang Mewah), Masjid Al-Irsyad USJ1 and SJKC Chee Wen, before turning into Persiaran Subang Permai (Mydin and Giant).
From there, it will make a right turn to end up at USJ7 station once more.
This 7.4km loop will have a 15-minute waiting time as there will be three buses.
Those living near the Taipan station also have the option of taking bus T777 over a 5.4km route, (the shortest along the Kelana Jaya line) with buses arriving every 15 minutes.
Areas covered include the Subang Business Centre, Taipan Business Centre, USJ11 carpark, Kompleks Sekolah Wawasan, Wawasan LRT station, 19 USJ City Mall, Al-Tamimi International Islamic School as well as Subang Perdana Goodyear Courts 7 and 9.
The longest bus loop for the Kelana Jaya line is a 11.1km route that begins from the Ara Damansara station, taking commuters all the way to Subang Skypark, with buses every 15 minutes.
Areas served by bus T773 include the Evolve Concept Mall and Oasis Ara Damansara.
Residents of Subang Jaya and SS15 can take bus T770 to either station while also passing by AEON Big Subang Jaya, Subang Parade, Empire Shopping Gallery, Subang Racquet and Golf Centre, Masjid Darul Ehsan, SS15 Courtyard, INTI International College Subang, Sunway Mentari and Sunway Pyramid.
Buses along this 9.9km loop will also arrive every 15 minutes.
The shortest bus loop on the Sri Petaling line starts from the Bandar Puchong station with T600 arriving every 10 minutes.
The longest bus ride will be from the Puchong Jaya station with T671 covering 48.2km to take commuters up to Pasar Seni.
The loop from the Puchong Prima LRT station to Taman Mas Sepang will be served by T603 which covers a 5.2km route.
All LRT shuttle bus rides, regardless of distance, cost RM1, payable by cash or stored value cards.
The only bus service not operated by Rapid KL is T762 from Nadi, which departs the Putra Heights station for the Saujana Putra area.
The BRT Sunway line and the USJ7 LRT station will see seamless physical and ticketing integration as customers can use the escalators to move between the two platforms without needing to tap in or out while switching between the two modes.
Likewise, passengers changing trains between the Kelana Jaya and Sri Petaling lines at Putra Heights only need to walk no more than 15m across the platform to make the switch.
Rapid KL is not offering any free train rides but motorists will enjoy free parking at the new park-and-ride facilities for a month.

The fare table as well as all bus route maps can be viewed at

(The Star) New flood mitigation plans for Taman Sri Muda next year

A new flood mitigation plan will be in effect next year at the flood-prone Taman Sri Muda, following a detailed study by Shah Alam City Council (MBSA).
The findings of the study was handed out to the councillors and Shah Alam mayor Datuk Ahmad Zaharin Mohd Saad during the council’s full board meeting yesterday.
Engineering department director Cheremi Tarman said the study covered Taman Sri Muda, Kampung Bukit Naga and Taman Bukit Kemuning.
He said the project would involve the Public Works Department as well as the Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID).
During the presentation, councillor Prakash Rao urged MBSA to consider a mitigation plan that would last up to 50 years instead of the 10 years planned.
“I urge the council to consider a longer term and to think about long-term mitigation measures.
“The residents in these areas have been suffering for many years,” he added.
Cheremi said the cost would be higher but the suggestion was agreed upon and accepted.
Also discussed at the council full board meeting was the increasing number of fake permits in other local councils in Selangor.
Councillor Simon Siow raised the issue and urged the council members as well as staff to be more alert to such incidents.
He said other councils had received numerous complaints over this issue of late.
The mayor said MBSA enforcement personnel detected two cases last year and had managed to trace the banner owners.
“We are aware and because of this, we are able to identify fake permits immediately,” he pointed out.
The highlight of the full board meeting was the impassioned closing speech by councillor Siti Rohaya Ahad about the dangerous Persiaran Atmosphera Section U5 that had claimed lives with five critical accidents since 2015.
Although the road has not been handed over to the council by the developer, Siti Rohaya urged the council to help resolve the flawed traffic system that had led to the accidents.
“Help in the name of social responsibility to ratepayers. A non-governmental organisation called Brotherhood Bikers took it upon themselves to help put up signage for the people’s safety,” she added.
Siti Rohaya said that while all concerned were thankful for the assistance rendered by the group, it was a task that should have been carried out by the council and now it had left MBSA in a bad light.
As her fellow councillors concurred, Ahmad Zaharin said he would do whatever he could within the law to help resolve the situation.

The mayor said that he had visited the place twice before but said he would do so again to find an amicable solution to the problem.

(The Star) Residents breach MBPJ guidelines to stay safe

Landed properties may be the dream abode for many. However, some residents in established neighbourhoods in Petaling Jaya say house break-ins have reached an alarming level.
Many are taking the law into their own hands, by setting up guarded community schemes without obtaining approval first.
Some have even blocked entry to public roads and introduced access card systems.
Residents are asking the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) for leeway in not following the guidelines for such schemes too strictly
MBPJ’s guidelines for guarded communities was issued by the Urban Planning Department in May 2011.
So far, only 67 neighbourhoods have obtained approval from the council to implement the scheme with many running illegally.
A worrying situation
Residents of SS7 Lengkuk Golf in Kelana Jaya claimed that there has been a hike in the number of break-ins and snatch thefts.
Lengkuk Golf SS7 resident Ali Aziz said both his daughters were robbed in the daytime.
“One of my daughters was returning home with her child about noon. She was opening the gate when robbers armed with parang took her handbag,” said Ali, who supports the community guarded scheme
Residents Association (RA) deputy chairman Esham Salam said many residents have resorted to installing electric fences, barbed wire and even hiring their own security guards.
He added that guarded community scheme is burdensome because of the tight regulations and heavy paperwork.
“Many residents are retirees. It is expensive to set up the type of guard-house the council requires. We hope the council would allow us to start small and build better facilities when we have enough funds,” he said.
RA chairman Datuk Zul Mukhsar Md Shariff said in the last six months, the number of house break-ins in SS7 had become intolerable, resulting in residents applying to start the guarded community scheme.
“While citizens can get together to improve neighbourhood security, it is actually beyond the RA’s resources and capabilities to address the security issues on our own.
“The responsibility of ensuring safe neighbourhoods lies with the local, state and federal government levels.
Some residents from SS7 Lengkuk Golf , Kelana Jaya at Petaling Jaya have taken drastic measures by fixing electric fences and barbed wires surrounding their houses.Based on a StarMetro’s visit to the neighbourhood, it was obvious the residents were not leaving their safety to chances.
Some residents in Kelana Jaya SS7 have taken drastic measures by fixing electric fences and barbed wires around their houses.
“We shouldn’t have to live in neighbourhoods with electric fences, guard houses and blocked roads,” he said, adding that citizens could still become victims of crime when they leave the gated community.
At SS3, Petaling Jaya, a group of residents have installed an automatic access card system. They have also blocked entry and closed several roads round the clock.
However, not all residents agree with the measures taken.
Cecelia Kok said she is against the closure of public roads.
Kok said it would not deter crime but instead transfer the problem to another area.
“How can you close public roads for 24 hours and deprive others from using them? There are plans to close more roads here.
“We are totally against it,” she said.
Those who are not contributing to the access card system are deprived from using certain roads, too.
“I have signatures from 120 residents who are against this,” she said.
Against the law
MBPJ guidelines for the guarded community scheme prevent the obstruction of public roads, fencing off of public land and the denial of access to law abiding citizens.
Petaling Jaya councillor Derek Fernandez said citizens may want to use those roads even if they do not live there.
Indiscriminate closure or obstruction of public roads would lead to traffic congestion and the potential increase in the risk of crime to other areas which do not have such schemes.
He added that in the interest of public safety, the government has allowed some restrictions to the access of public roads.
However, putting automatic access control machines on public roads and other unapproved measure is not only a breach of several laws but also affects the legitimacy of such schemes.
The laws and guidelines must be respected and adhered to, said Fernandez.
“We cannot break the law and claim we are doing it to prevent crime.
“Many citizens are not robbers and their rights of mobility on roads must be respected,” he said in urging residents to follow the guidelines and obtain approval before building any structure or implementing any scheme.
“If the guidelines are inadequate, they must urge lawmakers such as assemblyman, MPs and even the state government to amend them,” he said.
Fernandez also pointed out that not all neighbourhoods could afford guarded schemes.
“It may lead to social segregation of communities,” he said.
Petaling Jaya mayor Mohd Azizi Mohd Zain said neighbourhoods must obtain approval from at least 70% of residents before applying for the guarded scheme.
At the council’s fullboard meeting yesterday, an application by the SS3 neighbourhood to close access to the public at Jalan SS3/76 and Jalan SS3/78 was rejected.
The council also rejected an application by the Section 5 neighbourhood to close off Jalan 5/10.
“We rejected their applications because they did not fulfil the guidelines,” said Mohd Azizi in urging neighbourhoods to first check the guidelines.
He said the council would issue a seven-day notice to the neighbourhood to remove the barrier or it would be demolished.
MBPJ public relations officer Zainun Zakaria said they would also not allow the access card system.

“The council has issued a notice to dismantle the access card system. We do not allow it in any guarded community scheme,” she said.

(The Star) SapKen 'hold', Eco World 'Outperform'

By Hong Leong Investment Bank
Maintain hold
Target price: RM1.58
According to Hong Leong Investment Bank (HLIB), first quarter 2017 core net profit of the group came at RM109.7mil, which it deems is within expectations.
The research house said it expected weaker quarters ahead, in view of stacking of more rigs and slowdown in some engineering and construction (E&C) contracts.
“Year-on-year, the group’s core net profit weakened by 56% due to uninspiring performances from both the energy and drilling business divisions amid low oil price environment.
“Comparing against the preceding quarter, the energy division turned around to become profitable in the first quarter of 2016.
“Year-on-year weakness was due to lower average realised oil price in the quarter and lower barrels of oil lifted during the period under review.”
HLIB said the company had decided to reduce its infield drilling activities in line with the decline in natural oil reservoir.
“For its drilling business, operating profit plunged by 23.6% year-on-year as more rigs came off charter in the quarter as their contracts came to completion,” it said.
The brokerage said six rigs are on stack while two are going into reactivation to proceed with new contracts and contract extensions.
“The negative impact is partially mitigated by improvements in operational performance and cost efficiency,” it said.
By Kenanga Research
Target price: RM1.58
According to the research house, Eco World’s first-half 2016 earnings of RM55.3mil made up 47% and 44% of street and its expectations, respectively.
“We expect a stronger billing cycle in the second half of 2016 as project handovers will take place then. Seven-months 2016 sales of RM1.32bil made up 33% of management’s and our 2016 sales target of RM4bil.
“We deem this as broadly in-line in terms of local sales as the target includes 25% of sales from their soon-to-be listed associate, Eco World International (EWI), which has raked up RM1.45bil sales for the five months of 2016.”
Kenanga said the group announced acquisition of 374.6 acres of land in Batu Kawan for RM875.2mil, which carries a gross development value (GDV) of RM7.8bil.
“Meanwhile, the group also updated on its Kuala Selangor land (2,198.4 acres at RM1.18bil, with GDV of RM15.3bil) and approvals appear to be in place.”
The research house added that the company’s 25% placement should be completed soon.
“EWI listing has been slightly delayed to September/October 2016 due to the ‘new strategic investor’ while management is unfazed by Brexit. Factoring in all of these exercises, we expect 2017 net gearing to increase from 0.44 times to 0.61 times.”

Overall, Kenanga said it viewed this exercise and business model as a positive, as it allows the group to expand its presence and branding quickly and also globally, without over-taxing its balance sheet while leveraging on the different strengths and expertise of its strategic partners.