Monday, 2 July 2018

(The Star) Klang Valley folk accept need to scrap Circle Line

The Government announced in May on the cancellation of the MRT3 rail transit project as a measure to reduce the nation’s debt.

Since then, those who wanted better connectivity were upset but, at the same time understood the reason for the move and questioned if the rail transit, also known as MRT Circle Line, was really necessary for now.

They suggested that the government revisit the proposed project when the country had enough funds later.

MRT3 was to better integrate Kuala Lumpur city centre with its fringes like Bandar Malaysia, Ampang, KL Eco City, Bukit Kiara and Sentul.

This line, to cost about RM45bil, was supposed to be linked with MRT1 (Sungai Buloh-Kajang line) and MRT2 (Sungai Buloh-Serdang line) to form an integrated route to connect the whole Klang Valley.

The 40km-long proposed project was reported to have 26 stations dotted along the loop with about 32km of the track underground.

“I think it is a good idea to put the project on hold for now and not just push the project through without a thorough investigation in view of the extremely high cost,” said Chua Yong Seng who works in Kuala Lumpur.

The 33-year-old engineer who takes public transport to work daily added that the circle loop was not necessary for now as connectivity within Kuala Lumpur and its neighbouring areas was sufficient.

He added that more train services should be prioritised at neighbourhoods where public transportation into the city is scarce.

Ampang resident Shirleen Chung, 32, was, however, disappointed when the project was cancelled although she understood the reason for its cancellation.

“I live very near one of the proposed stations and was hoping to finally be able to have the option of using the train into the city centre,” she said, adding that travelling via train was a much better alternative than by bus or taxi.

“But if the country cannot afford it now, then it’s a good decision to put it on hold,” said the event planner.

Supporting Chung is another public transport user Krishnath Tangaragee, 31.

“I believe our government has valid reasons for cancelling this project, but I sure hope that it will be revisited in future,” he said.

Mont’ Kiara Consultative Council chairman Carol Lee said residents were indifferent to the news of the scrapped MRT3 project.

“There was supposed to be a dialogue to inform residents about the project, but it didn’t take place because the project was cancelled.

“We only knew that studies were being done along Jalan Kiara 4 and residents in the area were informed,” she said, adding that they only heard that the MRT3 project would be underground.

“Generally, Mont Kiara is overdeveloped and there are many vehicles moving in and out. The roads are not able to support a big volume of vehicles.

“Having the train would help reduce the need for using vehicles but we do not know where the train would be and how the works would take place,” she said.

Almaspuri condominium manager Tan Wai Ping said she heard that the MRT would be constructed behind Mont Kiara Plaza, along Jalan Kiara 4.

Tan said it was not a major problem that the project was cancelled.

“Most people here drive or can use the shuttle bus. Every 20 minutes, there is a feeder bus from the Damansara Heights MRT that takes commuters to The Gardens Mall,” she said.

She said it would be much better if the MRT was focused on areas where people have to drive a longer distance to get to their destinations and need the public transportation service.

Tan, however, said the government should revisit the need for MRT3 once there is enough funds.

Jalan Alor Hawkers and Traders Association vice-president Raymond Khue said he looked at the MRT3 project positively as it would help connect people who lived in the outskirts to the city centre.

He said public transportation linked people and also helped businesses to flourish.

Ampang Jaya People’s Consultative Council adviser and Taman Nirwana, Ampang Jaya resident M. Thomas was glad the project was halted.

“Ampang is already packed with high-rises and it is too congested. It costs a lot of money to build and it won’t work here because 60% of the people here are in the lower-income group.

“They can use their own vehicles or take the bus,” he said.

He said the project, which he heard would pass the Ampang Government Hospital, Bandar Baru Ampang and Jalan Ampang, would only strain the government now.

Instead of having an MRT, he said the livelihood of people in Ampang and Pandan should be looked into.

Based on conversations with stakeholders and residents, the loop was supposed to pass through places like Mid Valley, Kerinchi and University Malaya Medical Centre.

The plan was also for it to pass through Sri Hartamas, Mont Kiara, Jalan Duta, Sentul, Setiawangsa, Ampang, Pandan Indah and Salak Selatan.

When contacted, a spokesman from MRT said the matter could not be commented on.