Khalid rules out moratorium on KL development

Federal Territories Minister Khalid Abdul Samad says there is a need to be pragmatic when it comes to development projects. 

KUALA LUMPUR: The government has no plans to implement a moratorium on development projects in Kuala Lumpur, according to Federal Territories Minister Khalid Abdul Samad.

“The thing is, we need projects in order to create jobs. We need more houses for our people (because) the demand for houses is there. So we can’t just make a blanket moratorium,” he said in response to calls for a freeze on new projects until traffic congestion can be overcome.

“If there are any projects to be proposed, all the MPs can present their opinions,” he said.

“We can’t say ‘we stop’ until we settle everything. Because we can never be able to settle everything,” he said. “So what’s important is that, when there is a new project, we make sure that the issues pertaining to traffic, social problems that might occur are being raised and addressed.”

Although the government was not able to solve all problems pertaining to traffic, it was an ongoing process.

Most of the projects which had been proposed were submitted to the previous administration, which the government needed to handle.

“I think there are that many new projects which are approved anyway,” he said.

“We need projects, we need jobs, we need homes, we need things like these to happen.

“So it’s very difficult when you have people demanding for job opportunities but at the same time you say stop all development. It can’t go that way,” he said.

Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh was among the MPs in Kuala Lumpur who have urged City Hall (DBKL) to freeze new development in the Mont Kiara and Hartamas areas because of many complaints concerning unplanned developments causing critical traffic congestion.

She said DBKL must implement a Traffic Impact Assessment first before any project is approved.

The two projects in question are two proposals to reduce congestion including the construction of entry and exit routes for the Malay Reserve and Sungai Pencala areas to the Sprint Highway and upgrading the junction at Persiaran Dutamas-Jalan Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah to the Pencala Link and NKVE Highway.

Khalid said there was a need to be more practical and pragmatic.

“The moment you stop, the economy comes to a standstill it becomes a problem for us as well. “We’ve got to make sure that people who want to invest, they know that the government is pro-business,” he said.

Khalid said that, instead, the government must make sure that problems that may occur were handled beforehand. “We tell the developer your project is going to cause this problem or that problem. So they will have to contribute to the upgrading of the infrastructure.”

Such measures included new interchanges, traffic lights or road widening.

The government was also trying to overcome traffic congestion by encouraging the use of public transport. “It is a multi-prong approach.”