Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mohemad Nazri Abdul Aziz today pledged to meet Prasarana Managing Director, Shahril Mokhtar to deliberate a realignment of controversial Jalan Sultan Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) station.
The decision was made after he met with the Jalan Sultan and Jalan Petaling traders action committee, who proposed that the station could be realigned to the Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock and Jalan Tun Perak junction.
Nazri said the alternative route, which runs underneath of Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock and Jalan Pudu, will avoid sharp cornering and acquisition of any building.
“I see it as a very solid alternative, and I plan to meet Shahril after he comes back from United States on Sept 27,” he told media at a press conference in parliament.
According to the committee advisor Yong Yew Wei, who is an engineer by profession, the close distance between the alternative station and Plaza Rakyat, which could revive the abandoned building.
“If they want to connect it with the proposed 100-storey Warisan Merdeka, they can easily build a 100-metre tunnel,” he said.
He stressed that the new route would not incur any extra cost to the project owner, in fact it will even reduce acquisition cost.
Nazri: MRT route can change
Nazri, the De facto law minister, also noted that heritage could not be retrieved once demolished.
“We need to remember that KL only has 150 to 200 years of history. Any 100-year-old building should be treated as heritage of the city,”
“If we demolish it, it is gone. Are we going to wait for another 100 years for another heritage building?” he asked.
He also said the contemporary thinking of the west is to plan development in accordance to perseverance of historical buildings.
He pointed out that the MRT alignment can be changed, citing it has been done before at the Taman Tun Dr Ismail MRT station.
“As there were objections to the station, Prasarana decided to relocate it. It sets precedence for them to also consider the Jalan Sultan case,” he said.
“The route isn’t finalized yet, it is subject to change,” he added.
Bukit Bintang MRT stations
Meanwhile, the committee also raised the uproar among Bukit Bintang merchants whose shops face a similar land acquisition to build a MRT station in the area.
Yong claimed the initial plan to build two stations in Jln Bukit Bintang was much favoured by the merchants.
“One of the station was planned to be built near Cathay Cinema, which has now ceased operation while the other one could be near the junction of Pavilion Shopping Center,”
“This can minimize the acquisition of shoplots,” he said.
On the rumour that says Prasarana is going to build a commercial tower on the acquired land in Bukit Bintang, Nazri said it will not violate the Land Acquisition Act, which was supposed to be used to acquire land for public facilities.
“I think it is legitimate because the purpose of acquisition is for the station, and you have the station,”
“But you can’t be telling them to own the land, but not the air,” he said.
Last month, Prasarana bowed down to the appeal of Jalan Sultan merchants by scrapping the plan to demolish 31 century-old shops for an underground MRT station and its alignment.
MCA president Chua Soi Lek said Prasarana will look into strengthening the buildings affected by the construction.
However, a day after, Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) CEO Syed Hamid Albar disputed the statement by saying some of the acquired shoplots might not be returned to the owners.