Urban transport: Underground is the way to go
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
I REFER to comments made by Go MRT Interim Support Committee chairman Ted Tugal in the article "Group wants public to 'Go MRT'" (The Malay Mail, March 3).
I must state that he hascompletely missed the point and is barking up the wrong tree as overall, the residents, especially in Taman Tun Dr Ismail (TTDI) and Kota Damansara, are not against the MRT project.
The main issue is not the temporary inconvenience during the construction stage that is alleged by him.
Instead, the fundamental call is for the elevated track to go underground.
The elevated track, running over the Persiaran Surian and the Damansara-Puchong Expressway (LDP), will have trains running just metres away from thousands of existing homes, making it intolerable to live due to the noise, pollution and frequency of trains passing through every few minutes.
It is not that there are no alternative solutions as there are well-based and sound reasons for going underground.
Firstly the Mass RapidTransit (MRT) track is a “retro-fit” being squeezed over narrow road reserves.
Poor planning has resulted in there being no provision for MRT reserves with proper buffers.
Albeit it will cost more to go underground, but the total long-term benefits must override the short term, one-off cost savings of construction.
The intolerable noise and pollution are permanent and recurring damages.
The scaring of the vista and blocking of sunlight are also long term detrimental factors.
The inflexibility for future expansion of both the MRT and the roads below should also be taken into account.
The additional cost can be off-set with less land acquisition and also the commercial development of areas beside all these underground stations as widely done in MRT stations worldwide.
Tugal has asked those living mere meters away from the elevated track to make the supreme sacrifice for the greater good.
I wonder how he would react if his house was similarly affected.
In developed countries, those whose properties that are debased by public infrastructure are properly compensated.
In Malaysia, however, there is no such provision in the Acquisition Act.
You only have a locus standi to claim injurious affection after any part of your property has been acquired and have no claims whatsoever even if you are situated right on the boundary of the MRT.
Other developed countries also have Constitutional protection of the peaceful enjoyment of their properties from any state actions, based on the fundamental rule of the 'Right to Life'.
It is supremely selfish of those who will enjoy convenient access to the MRT and to ignore the plight of those who have to suffer constant intolerable noise and pollution with trains passing by next to their homes every few minutes.
For those who have called us selfish, please search your soul and be honest. How would you react if your home was next to the elevated MRT track?
Please show some compassion and humanity and join us in unison to lobby for the track to go underground for the wider and long-term good of the community.
Our call is for a holistic evaluation of the options and we call upon all residents and people like Tugal to be more selfless and ensure the MRT serves the interest of the wider good and not only those that will benefit and do not need to sacrifice anything for it.
ZHANG C G