The month-long Klang Valley water crisis last year spurred the Selangor government to look for new sources of raw water, such as converting old mining ponds in Bestari Jaya into reservoirs.
And yet the Selangor government has approved the degazettement of106.65ha of the Ampang Forest Reserve, a pristine water catchment forest, for the construction of the EKVE. Furthermore, the Selangor State Planning Committee, chaired by the MB, approved the amendments to the Local Plan MPAJ 2020, on 2 June 2015, the final step in government approvals, giving the EKVE the green light to begin construction.
Forest reserves should not be viewed as a cheap or convenient source of land for highway concessionaires. It is, in fact, the costliest land as it provides environmental and ecological life support to the urban population, and it can never be replaced once destroyed – says Derek Fernandez, a lawyer and former Petaling Jaya councillor.
Given the important role of the affected areas as water catchment, the Anti-KIDEX group have also added their voice of support in questioning the Selangor government’s approval of this highway project.
The inclusion of the highway in the Ampang Jaya Local Plan now legally allows the project to proceed unhindered, as the local plan is a public declaration by the Ampang Jaya Municipal Council (MPAJ) that the project is be part of the municipality’s future development blueprint.
Some 200,000 residents in Ukay Perdana, Ampang, are also shocked that the Selangor state government has approved the changes to the alignment of the EKVE. The Bukit Antarabangsa resident task force-EKVE said the 32 Residents' Associations within the enclave of Bukit Antarabangsa, Ukay Perdana, and Ukay Bistari are against the sudden approval of the design of the EKVE, which will now exit through their neighbourhood. Furthermore, it appears that the EKVE alignment through this area will take over land that has been reserved for LRT stations, leaving no space for future public transport.
The EKVE was awarded via direct tender to Ahmad Zaki Resources Berhad. Given the push for increased public transportation, and the fragile state of the Klang Valley’s water supply, the Federal and Selangor State Governments must explain and justify why they support and approve the project.