Prasarana will not demolish Jalan Sultan shops

MRT project owner Prasarana today 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.

The authorities will now look into strengthening the buildings affected by the construction and acquiring lands beneath the shops.

The agreement was reached after a meeting between Prasarana, Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD), MCA president Chua Soi Lek and representatives of Jalan Sultan merchants at SPAD headquarters today.

According to Chua (above, center), the affected building owners will only be relocated for six months during the construction period of the tunnel and they will be able to return to their shops after that.

“Most importantly, Jln Sultan will maintain its identity as a historical landmark of Kuala Lumpur,” he said at a press conference after the meeting.

Lee Sha Too (above, left), president of the Yem Keng Benevolent Association at Jalan Sultan, said the MRT authorities will break their freehold land title into strata title to acquire the land beneath.

He said this will be done in accordance to National Land Code to grant Prasarana the right to use the 100 feet below land, without changing the title deed.

“We don’t really bother about the acquisition of land beneath, but more importantly there is no demolition of the buildings,” he said.

However, it remains unclear whether the merchants will be compensated for the acquisition or the six-month of no business, as Chua said it will be discussed in another meeting.

In an immediate response, Lok Ann hotel co-owner Thomas Tan was relieved that his three-generation hotel is finally saved from demolition.

He (right) said the ideas to strengthen the buildings and avoid demolition were actually raised by the merchants’ representatives.

“I don’t really expect compensation for the land beneath,” he said.

Meanwhile, Lee said he can now celebrate the 92 anniversary of his association without worries.

The association, which hosts charitable events with Chinese traditional opera performances, sheltered in an iconic white building with a gable higher than its actual height.

31 merchants in Jalan Sultan came to know that their shops were in the acquisition list early this month when the latter conducted a briefing on Aug 11 and demanded them to furnish a property valuation report.

Last Tuesday, Chua met with Jln Sultan merchantsand promised to facilitate a meeting for them with SPAD.