Saturday May 31, 2008
Cabinet orders access road to stay open
By MANJIT KAUR and CHARLES FERNANDEZ
KUALA LUMPUR: It was victory for the residents of Bandar Mahkota Cheras after the Government ordered the Cheras-Kajang Highway operator to tear down the barrier along the access road to their housing area.
Works Minister Datuk Mohd Zin Mohamed, who made the announcement at the barrier site yesterday, said the Cabinet had decided that the road should remain open at least until a court case between the operator Grand Saga and Mahkota Cheras developer Narajaya Sdn Bhd was settled.
The joyful faces of hundred of residents who had gathered to witness Mohd Zin's visit were a stark contrast to those who were at the same spot several times over the past few weeks to tear down barriers which Grand Saga rebuilt four times.
The last episode was on Tuesday night when several residents were attacked by unidentified people.
“Grand Saga has agreed not to re-erect the barricade and not to engage a third party to take action against the Federal Government for the losses that they had suffered for vehicles using the toll-free access road,” Mohd Zin said yesterday.
He promised that there would be a permanent solution.
“I hope all parties, including the residents, will obey the law as the Government is sensitive to the peoples' needs. We need to work together to solve the matter amicably.”
Mohd Zin said the Government would relook its decision once a court decision was made.
Grand Saga is claiming compensation from Narajaya for loss of income since its toll plaza will be by-passed with the construction of the road.
After Mohd Zin's announcement, Grand Saga workers removed the concrete boulders from the middle of the road under the bypass between the Mahkota Cheras and Bandar Tun Hussein Onn access roads.
When met by reporters later, Taliworks Corporation Bhd chief executive officer Abdul Rahman Siraj said the Cabinet’s decision was fair to the residents, Grand Saga and the other parties concerned.
Taliworks has a 55% stake in Cerah Sama Sdn Bhd which owns and operates the highway via wholly-owned Grand Saga.
“The decision has temporarily solved the matter, and I would like to thank the minister for personally breaking the news,” he said.
Abdul Rahman said he hoped to have talks with Narajaya and hoped the ministry would be able to mediate so that both parties would be able to find an amicable solution before the court decision.
He said for the past few weeks, “unpleasant things” had occurred and he assured the public that Grand Saga was not involved in any of the criminal acts.
“Why should we engage thugs, and aggravate the matter?”
In Shah Alam, Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim said the state would no longer call for an extraordinary general meeting in Grand Saga now that the Works Ministry had resolved the issue.
“I would like to thank the Federal Government and the Works Minister for making the right decision.”