The Consumers’ Association of Penang and Sahabat Alam Malaysia are deeply concerned to learn that the proposed Kuala Lumpur Outer Ring Road (KLORR) will cut through the Selangor State Park, the Klang Gates Quartz Ridge in Hulu Kelang and the Forest Reserves of Hulu Gombak, Ampang and Hulu Langat.
It is reported that work on the western route of the KLORR, from Templer’s Park in Rawang to Karak Highway, has started, with tracts of Kancing Forest Reserve being cleared. We object to this needless destruction of valuable forests.
During the official launching of the 107,000 ha Selangor State Park (also known as the Selangor Heritage Park) in 2005, the then Menteri Besar of Selangor, Dato’ Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo, had stated that the Park’s status as a permanent forest would ensure that there would be no exploitation.
Phase 1 comprising 91,114ha of the Selangor State Park has already been gazetted. The next phase comprising the Klang Gates Quartz Ridge, which is the longest in the world at a length of 14km, was reported to follow suit.
Besides being an important water catchment for Selangor, the forests here are a repository of flora and fauna including endangered species such as the Malayan tapir and gibbons, leopards, hornbills and numerous reptiles, amphibians, insects and fish. It also serves as a popular recreation area and geological heritage and offers scenic natural surroundings.
To tamper with the forest for the sake of the outer ring road invites an environmental catastrophe. Road contouring and cutting of slopes will cause serious soil erosion and water run-off. Not only will an important water source for Selangor be impacted, excess sediment in the riverine system will also impair water quality for potable use.
The list of impacts to the environment and subsequently to the people is extensive, so why is the KLORR alignment allowed to pass through this fragile ecosystem? The KLORR will also cut through Taman Melawati, transforming this peaceful neighbourhood into a noisy, dusty and dangerous area. Is the outer ring road necessary even if it costs so much damage?
As we have maintained in our objection to the proposed Penang Outer Ring Road, building outer ring roads is not a long-term solution to traffic congestion. A transport plan that chooses to move private vehicles instead of people will encourage a proliferation of more private vehicles on the road. The sustainable and viable alternative is to improve our public transport system.
As the price to pay for the KLORR in the short and long term is high and damage to the environment is irreparable, we urge the Federal and State government to stop the construction of the KLORR. Measures must also be taken to ensure that the Selangor State Park and the Klang Gates Quartz Ridge are fully protected from any type of development.
24 May 2010