HULU LANGAT: The Department of Environment (DoE) has issued a stop-work order to the contractor of the East Klang Valley Expressway (EKVE) project.
This followed complaints about frequent flooding and mudflows as a result of the construction work during the rainy season. A river used by the residents has also turned muddy.
Speaking to FMT, a representative of the EKVE project said the work was now being reviewed to ensure the safety of the residents there.
When asked if they would appeal against the DoE’s stop-work order, he said they had finalised several aspects with the department.
He said some mitigation work was still going on, but this was “to avoid any possible mishaps or untoward issues”.
He added that EKVE had always been on the ground to address the local community in meet-and-greet sessions.
Work is now proceeding on Phase 1 of the highway project, involving the Sungai Long-Kajang-Ukay Perdana stretch.
The work, coupled with the rainy season, has badly affected several hundred residents, especially in Kampung Felcra Sungai Semungkis, Hulu Langat.
Three environmental NGOs – Pertubuhan Pelindung Khazanah Alam Malaysia (Peka), Treat Every Environment Special (TrEES) and Malaysian Nature Society – had condemned the highway project at a press conference earlier today.
Peka president Shariffa Sabrina Syek Akil urged the authorities to halt the highway construction and run a safety study.
“If it is proven a danger to residents, then the project needs to stop.
“We learned that the DoE issued the stop-work notice on Oct 24. What follow-up action has been taken?
“In our opinion, EKVE has not followed the conditions set by the DoE.
“Despite the DoE notice to take remedial action, nothing has happened. The contractor has not taken appropriate protective measures.
“The highway is being built too close to the residential areas and this has caused the mudflows,” she said.
Shariffa said NGOs had first raised environmental issues related to the highway in 2015, but did not get support to stop the project.
She said no construction work should be undertaken in watershed areas.
A representative of the residents, Junaidi Jamaluddin, 39, claimed the construction had badly affected residents.
“This concerns me as we have three tahfiz schools, three resorts and one orphanage home near the construction area.
“How can the tahfiz students focus on their studies if they are bothered by the sounds of construction? This goes on every day until the sun sets.
“It is a pity. When it rains heavily, the whole area gets flooded. It affects the schools and affects even their computers.”
Junaidi said they had also lost their source of water as the nearby river where they used to fetch water had become polluted. The water is now murky, and they have to buy drinking water.
Youth camp affected
The An Naim camp, which organises youth leadership and adventure courses, situated 20m from a steep slope, has also been badly hit.
Its manager, Md Hallme Shaari, said he had to cancel his programmes, initially scheduled from October to next January.
He said the mudflows caused by the highway’s construction had caused him losses of nearly RM10,000.
“The recent floods damaged the kitchen, the beds, bedsheets, rubber mats and electronic items.
“We had to call off the programme and bear the losses.”
His customers are usually university students.
Another resident, Zulaini Zainuddin, 52, said he lived in fear whenever the skies turned cloudy.
He said his house had been frequently hit by flash floods, during which the water reached knee-level and caused his furniture to float.
The father of three said the road out of the village had also become muddy and narrow due to the construction.
Leniyusnita Amrizal, 26, whose house is located 500 metres from the construction site, said mudflows were always a problem now.
It was recently reported that despite being delayed by objections from environmental groups and people living close to the site, the highway project is 25% complete and expected to be ready by September 2019.
EKVE Sdn Bhd senior general manager Mohd Khalid Mohamed was quoted as saying that the highway would stretch 24.1km, from Sungai Long in Kajang to Ukay Perdana in Ampang.
The RM1.55 billion EKVE is a dual carriageway with toll plazas at five interchanges – Sungai Long, Bandar Mahkota Cheras, Hulu Langat, Ampang and Ukay Perdana.
In February 2014, the Selangor Forestry Department de-gazetted 106 hectares of the Ampang forest reserve for the construction of the highway.