PETALING JAYA: It seems like a delicate task for the highway builder to wrap up the remaining 5% of the East Klang Valley Expressway (EKVE) project and achieve full completion by the third quarter of next year.
Caretaker works minister Fadillah Yusof said the concessionaire, EKVE Sdn Bhd, was close to resolving several complexities that included five civil lawsuits involving a piece of land at Beverly Heights, Ulu Kelang.
He pointed out that the cases at the Shah Alam High Court were not over land acquisition issues.
“In particular, there is a lawsuit regarding overlapping land issues and a boundary dispute between EKVE Sdn Bhd and several parties, including the land owner,” Fadillah told FMT.
“Because of the Covid-19 situation in the past two years, there have been delays in many court cases and not just this case (land boundary issue). It also hampered the completion of EKVE.
“However, the concessionaire has submitted an application for a new design layout without having to wait for the court outcome.”
While admitting that the 24km EKVE project from Sungai Long to Ukay Perdana was behind schedule, he said a court hearing on the land boundary dispute would only take place between August and October next year.
Fadillah also confirmed that EKVE would be opened in stages next year.
“The first phase from Sungai Long, which is linked from the Kajang Dispersal Link Expressway, to the Ampang elevated interchange will be opened in the second quarter of 2023.
“The stretch from Ampang to Ukay Perdana, which is Phase 2, is expected to be in operation by the third quarter of 2023,” he said.
Checks by FMT have revealed that the highway project had faced legal action over the years that include enforcement by the Selangor department of environment (DOE).
It is learnt that the DOE acted against the company after it allegedly breached the Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIA) at a road construction site.
EKVE Sdn Bhd was charged with violating Section 34A (7) of the Environmental Quality Act, 1974, which carries a fine of up to RM500,000 or imprisonment up to five years or both, upon conviction.
According to the facts of the case, on Sept 11, 2020, DOE enforcement officers found that the solid content in the water surface runoff from the site recorded 1,190 milligrams per litre and had exceeded the 50 milligrams per litre limit stipulated in the EIA approval conditions.
EKVE pleaded guilty and was slapped with a RM75,000 fine in February.
In May 2016, the construction near Ampang Forest Eco Park was temporarily halted after three environmental organisations applied for a judicial review to challenge the decision by the Selangor forestry department to close down the park to make way for the project.
In their application for judicial review, the Malaysian Nature Society, Treat Every Environment Special Sdn Bhd, and the Association for the Protection of the Natural Heritage of Malaysia named the Selangor government, the Selangor forestry department and the Ampang Jaya Municipal Council as the first, second and third respondent, respectively.
However, construction work resumed several months later after the groups withdrew their application.
FMT has sought comments from EKVE and its holding company, Ahmad Zaki Resources Bhd.