By Ida Lim
KUALA LUMPUR, July 2 — In a desperate bid to rally greater support to protect their historic street from potential damage, a grassroots group is holding a public dialogue to press for answers from the government and MRT Corp who are building a massive 51km-long rail line across the Klang Valley.
Claiming that MRT Corp and the government have not got enough public feedback on the issue, the Preservation of Jalan Sultan Committee (PJSC) said it will hold an open forum this Saturday at 3pm at the Kuala Lumpur-Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH), and it has invited MRT Corp officials and the authorities to reply to public “questions, queries and grievances” over tunnelling work in the area.
“We feel MRT Corp and the respective ministries such as the Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Culture and the Prime Minister’s Department have to give the public a proper answer and also mitigation to all the problems happening in Jalan Sultan,” Stanley Yong, the PJSC’s co-chair, told reporters today.
“We hope these key players will appear to face the public,” he said.
He said the committee sent invitations to MRT Corp and the government officials to the session last Wednesday but has not received any reply to date.
He stressed that the talk will still go on even if the authorities failed to turn up.
MRT Corp and the prime minister have previously promised the Jalan Sultan landowners that the government will not compulsorily acquire their property, but the committee still wants an official order to cancel the acquisition process.
The dispute over the land acquisition began last year after landowners in Chinatown, Jalan Imbi and Bukit Bintang were informed that the government would acquire lots above the MRT tunnel as the owners’ rights extend to the centre of the earth under the law.
Critics have questioned the need for compulsory acquisition of both surface and underground land as the National Land Code 1965 was amended in 1990 to allow underground land to be acquired without affecting surface rights.