Residents want new evidence included in appeal over highway construction

Setiawangsa-Pantai Expressway (SPE). (File pic)

PUTRAJAYA: A group of residents and property owners in Jalan U-Thant who challenged the government and highway concessionaire company operating the DUKE Highway is seeking to include new evidence in its appeal over a decision to approve the alignment for the Setiawangsa-Pantai Expressway (SPE) line.

The 29.8km SPE line is expected to connect residents living in the southern and northern parts of the city.

The residents claim the decision to approve the alignment for Desa Pandan was unlawful, irrational and unreasonable, and against Malaysian Highway Authority (LLM) regulations.

They are seeking a court order to quash the government’s decision to approve the alignment’s design and specifications.

Lawyer Balan Nair, who is part of the group’s legal team, said the locals want to include 23 pictures related to the current situation at the construction site.

“We want to adduce current pictures to show that there was non-compliance with LLM regulations during construction,” he said.

“Previously in the High Court, the concessionaire company also filed an affidavit one day before the judge delivered her decision,” he told reporters, adding that the affidavit showed that the company had revised the highway plan and complied with regulations.

Under LLM regulations, the minimum setback between highways and private buildings is 13m.

Balan said they had also objected to the last-minute nature of the affidavit, but that their objection was dismissed by the trial judge, Azizah Nawawi.

“The affidavit also formed part of her decision,” he said.

Azizah had dismissed the residents’ case on grounds that it had no merit. She also said the purpose of the SPE project, including the Desa Pandan alignment, was to serve the interest of the community at large.

The Court of Appeal set Aug 1 for mention after senior federal counsel Nik Mohd Noor Nik Kar, representing the government, told the court they had only received the residents’ affidavit and pictures three days ago.

“We intend to raise our objections to the pictures they want to adduce now,” he said.

The residents’ appeal was initially scheduled to be heard today.

However, Nik Mohd Noor said his team needs time to consider its reply.