Wednesday, August 24, 2011

MRT Update: Chinatown land acquisition (Update #2)

Jalan Sultan traders to keep buildings after MRT tunnelling finishes (Malaysian Insider)
By Shannon Teoh

August 23, 2011

A view of the Jalan Sultan area where some buildings had been earmarked for demolition. — Picture by Jack Ooi

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 23 — The 31 landowners in Chinatown will be able to hold on to their property after the government agreed to reinforce their buildings before allowing them to return after tunnelling for the Klang Valley Mass Rapid Transit (KVMRT) under their shops is completed.

Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek told reporters that an agreement in principle had been reached after a one-hour meeting this afternoon with the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) and most of the 31 traders in Jalan Sultan in the capital.

“The government will proceed with acquisition but also strengthen the buildings that are affected for safety of the household,” the MCA president said.

The century-old Chinatown was planned for demolition due to the RM50 billion KVMRT project but loud protests from residents, who say they were informed less than two weeks ago, have forced the government to backtrack over plans to redevelop the tourist attraction.

The 31 landowners will now be able to return to their buildings after tunnelling, expecting to take six months, is completed.

When quizzed by reporters, the former health minister said the government has in principle agreed to undertake the costs of the solution but that “details will be discussed. The cost of compensation and strengthening needs to be worked out.”

At a press conference after the meeting, Lee Shan Too, president of the Yan Keng Benevolent Dramatic Association located in Jalan Sultan, also told reporters that stratum titles under the National Land Code were the main option being considered.

A 1990 amendment to the National Land Code 1965 allows for the acquisition of underground land without affecting the property on the surface.

However, both Dr Chua and the traders insisted that legal details will be discussed later.

“Our final stand is that the land will remain with us and Chinatown will be intact,” said Thomas Tan, who owns the 73-year-old Lok Ann Hotel on the street.

“It is a win-win situation which will save the identity of Chinatown,” said Dr Chua.

Lee also said that the solution would reduce the government’s expenditure as “acquiring all our land titles would cost hundreds of millions” of ringgit.

Earlier today, state-owned Syarikat Prasarana Negara Berhad (Prasarana) said that it will explore the use of stratum titles for property owners affected by tunnelling for the KVMRT.

The Malaysian Insider understands that the government may still invoke the Land Acquisition Act to acquire the land titles before releasing the surface land back to the landowners if any of the 31 were to hold out against signing over the underground portion of their land.

A source said that the 31 buildings affected could withstand tunnelling if they were strengthened as they were only located within a “safety buffer” at a 45-degree angle from the actual tunnel itself which would run directly under Jalan Sultan.

Other news:
KL Chinatown traders can stay on (The Star)

By Yuen Meikeng

Tuesday August 23, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR: The 31 shop lots near Jalan Sultan will not be demolished for the construction of the Klang Valley My Rapid Transit (MRT) project, MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek said.

He said the shops would remain as they are an important part of KL Chinatown's identity.

"During the six months of constructing the MRT tunnel underneath the area, the occupants will have to evacuate their property but will be told to return after that.

"Buildings affected by the construction will be strengthened," he told reporters after attending a dialogue between the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD), representatives of the Jalan Sultan traders and others at the SPAD headquarters here Tuesday.

Monday, August 22, 2011

MRT to acquire part of KL’s Bukit Bintang

MRT to grab part of KL’s Bukit Bintang shopping district (Malaysian Insider)

By Boo Su-Lyn

August 22, 2011

A general view of the proposed site for the Bukit Bintang MRT station

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 22 — Twenty lots in the capital city’s main shopping district, Bukit Bintang, will be acquired for the Klang Valley Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) to make way for tunnelling works and an underground station, operator Syarikat Prasarana Negara Bhd (Prasarana) said today.

Prasarana project development director Zulkifli Mohd Yusoff said the lots along Jalan Bukit Bintang, Jalan Imbi, Jalan Jati, Jalan Inai, Jalan Kamuning, Jalan Kampung and Jalan Utara would be acquired under the Land Acquisition Act 1960.

They include two fast-food restaurants — McDonalds and KFC — a Porsche car showroom, a batik gallery, a private club, offices and residential properties, landowners told The Malaysian Insider today.

Jason Ng, who said nine of his lots would be acquired, asked why landowners were not allowed to keep their properties above the underground tunnel running from the Bukit Bintang Central to the Pasar Rakyat stations.

The business legal advisor pointed out that the National Land Code 1965, which was amended in 1990, allowed the acquisition of underground land without affecting surface property.

“You’re robbing people and paying Prasarana or SPAD (Land Public Transport Commission). You’re going to acquire my land to build activities later on,” said Ng at the briefing.

Zulkifli, however, denied that the government would develop the prime land in the Golden Triangle, saying: “We can’t do anything because of the safety of the tunnel.”

Batik gallery owner Colin Yong told reporters that the landowners received notices under Section 8 of the Land Acquisition Act early this month.

“My family owned (this business) for 30 over years,” he said.

But Zulkifli stressed that the government was trying to minimise land acquisition by stacking the platforms of the underground Bukit Bintang Central station.

Prasarana also announced recently that land in Jalan Sultan would be acquired despite opposition from the Chinatown community who called it a heritage area.

According to Prasarana, construction on the Sungai Buloh-Kajang (SBK) line would begin in November this year.

The multi-billion ringgit project is expected to be completed in 2016 and will begin operations in January 2017.

The SBK line will cover a distance of 51km, of which 9.5km will be underground. Seven of the 31 stations from Semantan to Maluri will also be underground.

More to come

View Larger Map

Previous Alignment
Bukit Bintang East

Bukit Bintang West

Thursday, August 18, 2011

KTM Update: KTM services for Raya

KTM increases services for Raya (The Star)

Thursday August 18, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR: KTM Bhd is offering an additional 4,404 tickets for its train services to East Coast destinations with immediate effect.

KTM president Dr Aminuddin Adnan said KTM Intercity is offering 129,012 tickets for the North, South and Central regions for sale from Aug 20 to Sept 10.

As of Monday, 69,017 tickets have been sold, he said.

“We will try to get more coaches and will update the public,” he said after distributing bubur lambuk (spiced rice porridge) to passengers at KL Sentral earlier this week. — Bernama

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

SPAD to meet with Jln Sultan folk

SPAD to meet with Jln Sultan folk affected by MRT project (The Star)

By Ng Cheng Yee

Wednesday August 17, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR: A meeting will be arranged between Jalan Sultan shop owners and traders affected in the land acquisition for the proposed My Rapid Transit (MRT) project and the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD), said MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek.

He said the owners and traders had appealed for their views and concerns to be heard by the relevant parties in the acquisition exercise, which will be carried out by Syarikat Prasarana Negara Berhad.

“The traders have been doing business in the area for a long time and to ask them to move out of their premises will mean losing their source of income,” he told reporters after meeting some of the affected traders yesterday.

Dr Chua said he had brought up the land acquisition issue at the National Economic Council meeting on Monday.

Looking for options: Dr Chua (second from left) listening to (from left) Chan Kwok Chin, 58, Tan Yik Chong, 78, Steven Yong, 65, and Judy’s views at a dialogue session with the Jalan Sultan shop owners and traders in Kuala Lumpur yesterday. Behind them is shop owner Daniel Wong, 43.

SPAD, he added, had agreed to consider the possibility of a realignment to the proposed MRT line.

“The SPAD chief executive officer (Mohd Nur Kamal) has agreed that it will consider the possibility of a realignment so that the project can be carried out without affecting any of the shops or traders there,” he added.

Dr Chua also urged the affected owners and traders to prepare a memorandum, which would include all their dissatisfaction and complaints against the project.

He said the first option was to push for a realignment of the track.

“The second option is for the traders to move out during the project's construction but be given priority to move back into the area to resume business once it is completed,” he said.

Judy Tan, 50, whose family owns the Lok Ann Hotel in the area, said it was only logical if the traders were asked to evacuate their buildings during the project's construction.

“They cannot just simply acquire our land as they cannot put a price on our building, which is 70 years old.

“We are fine if we are only asked to evacuate for a few years for the project to be carried out but it is illogical for them to take our land as the project involves underground works,” she said.

Choy Foong Meng, 55, who has owned a festival decoration business in the area for 16 years, said most traders had been there for a long time.

“If we were to move out, where are we supposed to relocate? This will only cause more hardship to us,” she said.

KVMRT: Wouldn't you find it funny when foreigners concentrated in Petaling Street have their owners Finally spoke up. It has been a norm for foreigners (Bangladeshi, Nepalese and Indonesians) to manned their business operations there, and some of them are owners. The real issue is when their shops/lots are to be acquired, those China-man make fuss out of nothing.

As government requested Petaling Street aka. KL Chinatown to be local centric only, they put lame excuses to hire foreigners and it's already losing its heritage value and KLites feel unsecured to go to Petaling Street.

As far we are concerned, realignment is very impossible due to optimization of cost and route. However, SPAD agree to look into it and resolve the issue with those affected.

No bus service to Seremban housing areas

Company stops bus service to three housing estates in Seremban (The Star)

Story and photo by Charles Fernandez

Wednesday August 17

RESIDENTS in Taman Permai, Taman Duyung and Taman Oakland have been left stranded as the bus service to the residential areas has stopped since May 30.

They now have to pay more in taxi fare to reach to their destinations such the schools, hospital and market.

The bus company, Seremban Town Service (STS), which serves the residential areas hourly, has stopped the service because of poor passenger load.

Mary Theresa, 82, who works in Kemayan Square, now walks 2km to her working place if she fails to flag down a taxi.

“It used to cost me just a ringgit by bus but now I have to fork out RM8 for a taxi or RM2 if I am able to share the fare with three others.

“I am only a casual worker and cannot afford to travel by taxi,” said Theresa from Taman Permai I.

Chin Ah Teng, 65, from Taman Permai II, said he had missed out on his hospital appointment once waiting for the bus because he did not know the service had stopped.

Frustrated: Residents waiting at the bus stop in Taman Permai

I to flag down passing taxis.

Chin said last month he called for the taxi and was charged RM8 for a one-way trip to the hospital and an additional RM2 for the call charges.

“Imagine having to fork out RM18 just for a trip to the hospital and back. This is a financial burden for senior citizens,” he said.

K. Vijayakumari, 59, said most of the residents in Taman Permai were middle-class families who were without their own transport and had to depend on the bus service.

However, Mary Josephine, 55, and Ng Ah Siew, 61, have been offering to send residents if they are heading to town in the morning and appealed to the authorities to solve the transport issue soon because school children are also affected.

“This should be a social responsibility by the bus company. It is a pity to see children walking to school for the past two months,” said Josephine.

SMK ACS student Hoo Kar Ken, 16, said it was easier going to school than coming back unless he shared a taxi with others heading in the same direction.

“The fare used to be 60sen one way by bus but it is three times more now by taxi,” said Hoo.

Bukit Kepayang assemblyman Cha Kee Chin said STS should be more considerate towards the residents and resume service.

Cha said he had contacted the bus company but was told that the services would resume by the end of July.

“It is August now and there is a long silence from the bus operator. I have had discussions with City Liner and they have promised to look into my request,” added Cha.

Cha said he had even raised the matter at the state assembly on Monday as the residents especially the senior citizens and school children have been inconvenienced for too long and the mentri besar had promised to look into the problem.

He also pointed out that since the Seremban Municipal Council was subsidising the bus company servicing residents in Nilai and Pajam, they could also extend the same privilege to the residents in these areas.

KVMRT: All after stage bus (bas henti henti) saga never ends here. We need to restructuring the industry wholly.

Updates: No more bus service in Seremban

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

28 shortlisted for MRT jobs

Prasarana to start calling tenders next month (The Star)

PETALING JAYA: Syarikat Prasarana Negara Bhd (Prasarana) has shortlisted 28 individual and joint-venture (JV) companies that are eligible to bid for various elevated civil works, stations and depot packages under the multi-billion ringgit My Rapid Transit (MRT) project.

In a statement issued yesterday, Prasarana group managing director Shahril Mokhtar said tenders for these packages would be called in stages starting from next month until December 2012.

“Tenders for the first stage, which involve two civil works packages, will be issued early next month,” Shahril said.

Shahril: ‘Tenders for the first stage will be issued early next month.’
The two packages are a 5.4km stretch from Taman Bukit Ria to Plaza Phoenix in Cheras and a 5.2km stretch from Taman Suntex to Bandar Tun Hussein Onn.

There are 18 works packages with eight packages under elevated civil works, eight for elevated station works and two packages for depot. These works packages are divided into two categories open and bumiputra.

In choosing the qualifying contractors, applicants were evaluated based on their financial capabilities, track record, experiences, existing management staff and key personnel, average annual construction turnover in the last five years, existing plant and equipment as well as their existing quality, safety, health and environment practices.

For JV submissions, technical and financial evaluations were carried out on the individual companies. The total score of their technical and financial points were combined based on their equity percentage.

The pre-qualification exercise for the MRT project attracted a strong response, with 286 companies purchasing the tender document and 195 companies submitting their applications.

The MRT is the country's biggest infrastructure project to date and part of the Greater Klang Valley Master Plan. It will be integrated with the existing light-rail transit, KL Monorail and KTM services.

Cutting through the city centre from Sungai Buloh to Kajang, the MRT will run for about 51km. It will be serviced by 27 elevated stations and seven underground stations, and depots at Sungai Buloh and Kajang.

Out of the 51km route, 9.5km will be underground. Shahril said tenders for the other works packages would announced in due course.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

MRT logo design contest winners

MRT Logo Contest Winners

We are pleased to announce the top 21 winners of the MRT Logo contest. All submissions were interesting and decision making was hard for us. The results were arrived at after rigorous verification of votes and identity verification by telephone calls. In the instances of ties, the respective logo rationale submitted was used as a tie breaker. We are much honored to have had such an overwhelming response to the contest. It is our sincere wish to continue engaging all the participants for more upcoming activities.

All winners shall be notified by an email about the process of collecting their respective prizes. Please note that the published list is as per our judges’ decision and discretion, therefore final.

For details on winners, click MRT Contest

Sunday, August 7, 2011

New trains to cut KTM Komuter waiting time

New trains expected to cut waiting time at KTM Komuter lines (The Star)

KUALA LUMPUR: When the newly-acquired trains from CSR Zhuzhou Electric Locomotive from China are put into service for the KTM Komuter lines by the end of this year, train commuters can look forward to shorter waiting times during peak hours.

Commuters on the Rawang-Sungai Gadut, Batu Caves-Port Klang, Sentul-Port Klang and Batu Caves-Rawang routes will benefit from the additional capacity from the trains, technically known as electric multiple units or EMUs.

The first of the 38 EMUs will arrive next month and will be tested before they are put into service.

About 100,000 commuters jam KTM Komuter trains daily during weekdays to travel in about 20 sets of EMUs of three cars each available to them.

From a schedule of 15-minute intervals at one time, which theoretically required at least 36 EMUs to be provided each day by Keretapi Tanah Melayu Bhd (KTMB), this has since slowed down to 20-minute intervals or, which theoretically means 25 EMUs.

But KTMB does not even have the luxury of 25 EMUs.

Since September 2009, their availability has been down to around 21 EMUs daily because of broken down trains that have not been repaired from 62 EMUs at one time.

On bad and unfortunate days, this can sink to a precariously low of 15 to 18 EMUs per day.

Hence, delays of 40 minutes or more on certain sectors are not uncommon with KTM Komuter trains always packed like sardines during weekdays.

This also amplifies the fact that there is no shortage of passengers for KTM Komuter trains in view of its relatively cheap cost as it only costs RM6 from KL Sentral to Seremban.

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha told Bernama that the government had decided to improve the situation through a number of initiatives under the National Key Result Areas (NKRA) for public transport.

The NKRA initiatives were launched in July 2009 by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak as part of the Government Transformation Programme (GTP) towards achieving Vision 2020 and improving the government's service delivery to the people.

Besides improving capacity, Kong said the measures were also to raise the daily ridership to 600,000 public transport commuters in the Klang Valley by the end of 2012.

This target, he said, was 2.5 times more than the current ridership.

"It's a tall order for us but we are working hard to achieve our target," Kong said.

The current daily ridership is about 240,000 for public transport in the Klang Valley, estimated to represent 10 to 12 per cent of the total population in the country's busiest urban centre.

Kong explained that the Klang Valley's public transport services had already been filled to the brim, particularly for rail services (KTM Komuter, RapidKL, LRT and Monorail).

Such a pressing situation demanded the creation of an additional capacity for 360,000 more people to migrate to public transport from private vehicles, he said.

Of the potential increase, 58 percent or 207,000 will be for rail and 42 percent or 153,000 will be for buses.

Rail will be the biggest contributor, with KTM Komuter contributing around 95,000 passengers, the Kelana Jaya LRT line 62,000 and the Ampang LRT line 33,000.

The first step towards improving capacity took place at the end of 2010 when new four-car train sets were introduced on the Kelana Jaya LRT line, the most congested rail line in the Klang Valley, from the previous two-car train sets.

The initiative was to secure "quick wins" for the people's benefit under the NKRA for urban public transport. - Bernama

Other news:
Letters: No end of problems with KTM Komuter

Share swap AirAsia and MAS

Share swap deal: AirAsia's Fernandes to gain 20% stake in MAS (The Star)

Sunday August 7, 2011

By Wong Sai Wan

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia Airlines (MAS) and AirAsia will swap shares in a surprise deal which will see Tan Sri Tony Fernandes becoming the single biggest shareholder.

Khazanah Nasional Bhd, which owns over 69% of MAS, is said to have concluded negotiations with Fernandes to come up with a deal to save the national carrier.

Sources said the deal, which was struck last week after negotiations over the past year, became urgent after MAS' poor showing in the last two quarters.

Fernandes is set to get 20% of MAS equity under the deal that is to be signed next week, with some sources saying it has already received the Government's approval and could be inked by tomorrow.

Industry players expressed surprise at the deal because of past animosity between the management of the two airlines.

Those who were aware of the negotiations were also surprised at the speed at which it was concluded.

At present, Khazanah, a strategic investment company, holds about 69% stake in MAS, and under the deal with Tune Air Sdn Bhd, it will get a similar stake in AirAsia. Fernandes and his co-founder partner Datuk Kamarudin Meranun hold 26.28% in the world's biggest budget airline.

Fernandes declined to comment when asked about the deal.

Insiders in both airlines confirmed that the negotiations concentrated on the synergy such a share swap would bring.

First, there will be rationalising of routes. Between them, the two airlines cover most of the lucrative routes from Asia to Europe.

Second, when they are seen as a single unit, their bargaining power with airports and aircraft manufacturers will double, said a source close to the deal.

He pointed to the recent move to merge SapuraCrest Petroleum and Kencana Petro-leum via a share swap as an example for the AirAsia-MAS deal.

Insiders said it was unlikely the two airlines would merge into a single unit, but would operate though separate managements at operational level, while sharing common directors and policies.

Malaysia will get the best of both worlds a premier full-service carrier in MAS and the best budget carrier in AirAsia.

“They have been competing with each other for too long, and it's time to work together because there is more than enough to go around,” said a senior government official.

The official added that the “feud” between the two had been going on for 10 years since Fernandes and others took over the ailing AirAsia from DRB Hicom.

AirAsia is twice as big as MAS in terms of market capitalisation. MAS is worth about RM5.3bil, while Fernandes' outfit is worth slightly more than RM11bil.

AirAsia stocks closed at RM3.95 per share yesterday while MAS' was at RM1.60.

A news portal, The Malaysian Insider, which broke the story of the deal yesterday, reported that Fernandes would likely appoint Khazanah's executive director of investments Mohd Rashdan Mohd Yusof as chief operating officer after the share swap. Rashdan already sits on the MAS board.

Sources said no decision was made about the position of MAS CEO Tengku Datuk Azmil Zahruddin.

MAS recorded a first quarter net loss of RM242.3mil against a profit of RM310.6mil in the same period last year. Analysts expect the national carrier to make full-year operating losses due to high fuel costs and falling yields.

In contrast, AirAsia recorded a first quarter profit of RM171.9mil for this year and a record RM1.5bil in profits for 2010.

Sources said the merger would also force the two airlines to take stock of their future aircraft purchases if they are to enjoy any synergy.

AirAsia purchased 200 Airbus A320 aircraft earlier this year with an option to buy another 100, while MAS was set to make a decision on the replacement aircraft for its Boeing 747 and 777 fleet, which is more than 20 years old.

Other news: MAS offers extra flights for Hari Raya and Merdeka holidays

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Raya bus, train tickets nearly sold out

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 6 -- Train tickets to east coast destinations for the Aidilfitri holidays have been sold out while tickets for the north and south destinations are still available.

Keretapi Tanah Melayu Bhd (KTMB) Corporate Communications senior officer Mohd Fazil Ismail said KTMB was providing a total of 124,608 tickets in the three directions for the festive season.

He said the number of additional coaches for east cost routes would be announced next week.

Meanwhile, a Bernama survey found that bus tickets to Kuala Terengganu by the Mara Liner bus service and to Kelantan by Adik Beradik Express at Hentian Putra have been sold out.

Adik Beradik Express bus ticket seller, Siti Zubaidah Ismail, 26, said people started to buy bus tickets to Kelantan since July 26 and the company planned to provide additional buses.

At the Jalan Duta Bus Terminal, Mara Liner bus service ticket seller, Mohd Sobri Mohd Shahid, 25, said tickets to the north destinations from Aug 25 to 27 had been sold out while tickes were still available on Aug 28 and 29 to certain destinations only, including Kuala Nerang and Sungai Petani, Kedah.

Pancaran Matahari Express bus ticket seller, Hanizah Rafian, 46, said people could still get tickets to the north destinations at their counters.

At Hentian Puduraya, Konsortium Express Bus Kuala Lumpur's branch manager, Chia Nyi Foo said nearly 90 per cent of bus tickets to Taiping, Johor Baharu and Perlis had been sold.

"Since July 11, people began to buy tickets... we will consider having additional buses for the safety of our passengers," she said.

Related stories:
Express buses to be inspected twice during JPJ Hari Raya operation

MRT acquisition notice for Chinatown

Chinatown traders cry foul over shock MRT acquisition notice (Malaysian Insider)

By Melissa Chi and Tatjana Pupol

August 06, 2011

Shop owners and traders in Chinatown meet to discuss the Klang Valley MRT project. - Picture by Choo Choy May

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 6 — Shop owners and traders in Chinatown are reeling from shock as a number of them received land acquisition notices over the course of this week, despite being assured previously that Chinatown will not be affected by the Klang Valley MRT (KLMRT) project.

However, Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) chief development officer Azmi Abdul Aziz has pointed out that the number of properties to be acquired to make way for the multibillion ringgit rail project had been reduced by 50 per cent.

He explained that 70 per cent of the 51km line would now occupy road reserves while the remaining 30 per cent would encroach into private properties.

“We have made an agreement with the parties involved and they have accepted that the line will cut through their property,” he had said.

Lee Wai Cheng, who owns a shop lot and runs Yook Woo Hin Restaurant on Jalan Petaling, told The Malaysian Insider that she had just received the notice yesterday. The restaurant was founded in 1928 by her grandfather.

“Engineers had told us there is no need for the government to acquire our land.

“Judging from the plan, it looks like a road-widening exercise,” she said, adding that she suspects it was for the 100-storey tower project.

The 50-year-old claimed that the KL City Plan 2020 had included Chinatown as one of their heritage site in their most recent draft.

Choy Foong Meng, who owns Yi Xin Craft and Gifts Sdn Bhd in a rented shop lot on Jalan Sultan for the past 15 years, said the last minute notice has affected their lives.

“They should have told us earlier. The businesses support everyone of us here,” she said, adding that there needs to be proper compensation given by the government.

“This is very cruel of disrespectful of them. They should consider how many people’s lives they are affecting.

“Why can’t they come clean with us and tell us what they want. At least we know how to plan,” the 55-year-old said.

Choy said if the government has such power to just take any property, there is no meaning to the word “freehold” anymore, adding that a number of the land affected were freehold.

The affected areas previously announced are Section 4 and 6 of Kota Damansara; Pelangi Damansara condominium; Taman Tun Dr Ismail; Damansara Utama; Section 17/52 Petaling Jaya; Bukit Bandaraya; Jalan Bukit Ledang; Bukit Damansara; Taman Desa Aman; Taman Connaught; and Taman Koperasi. Chinatown was not mentioned.

The KVMRT project is considered the largest infrastructure project ever undertaken in Malaysia and the first phase alone has been estimated to cost upwards of RM20 billion.

Steven Yong, 65, who runs Lok Ann Hotel explains which areas are affected.— Picture by Choo Choy May

Steven Yong, 65, had just recently taken over Lok Ann Hotel, which is popular among backpackers, said it is unfair to him for the government to give such a short notice.
The building owned by Madam Tan, 68, had started running the hotel since the 1930s and is being managed by the 4th generation now.

She said she’s in “terrible shock” by the news.

“I’ve been going to the public viewing of the MRT project and for the three times I’ve been there, I’ve been told Chinatown will not be affected as the line will be underground,” she said.

Tan said an employee in UO Superstore, better known as Ocean, had told her that they have to stop doing business by September 30 and have to clear out the shop by October. The building will be acquired as well.

The Malaysian Insider understands that more than 50 stalls in Chinatown will be affected.

Chong Kah Fatt, 33, whose family owns a shop on Jalan Sultan since 1983, told The Malaysian Insider the Land and Mines Director-General had said in the preperty section of the English daily The Star’s question and answer article that lands will not be acquired if the MRT line runs underground.

Khong Kim Lyew, 63, who is a tailor and rents a shop on Jalan Sultan, told The Malaysian Insider that the business was started by his grandfather almost for a century ago.

“Everybody should be worried here. We were born and bred here, it has sentimental values. Four generations of my family were born and bred here and if this comes to an end, it will be devastating,” he said.

Khong said while he had not received any notices yet, there were officers from the Ministry of Finance who had came with a floor plan and made measurements of his shop but he has yet to hear from them.

The shop owners and tenants are bringing in their own valuers so they can have their own valuation report during their individual hearing with the Department of Director General of Land and Mines (KPTG).

The issue of land acquisition is governed by the Land Acquisition Act 1960 and the National Land Code and the body that is responsible for the issuance of notices pertaining to land acquisition is the KPTG.

The procedures for land acquisition as outlined under Section 4 of the law.

According to the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) on the project’s original alignment, a total of 473 lots of land totalling 97 hectares were set to make way for the rail line, in areas as diverse as upscale as Taman Tun Dr Ismail here and Malay reserve land along the rail line.

Of the lots that are set to be acquired, 103 are located within the Sungai Buloh-Semantan stretch, 163 along the underground section between Semantan and Maluri in Kuala Lumpur, and 207 along the Maluri-Kajang segment.

Earthwork formally kicked off a month ago on July 8 on the MRT’s first line from Sungai Buloh to Kajang (SBK) but transport authorities have admitted they have yet to pin a total cost for the project, which has been described as the country’s most expensive ever construction project.

The shop owners and traders affected will be meeting Bukit Bintang MP Fong Kui Lun here on August 9 to discuss their options and will be meeting with the project’s owner and operator Syarikat Prasarana Negara Berhad representatives on August 11.

KVMRT: We certainly hope that SPAD and Prasarana can make immediate meeting with those who are affected. So far, we still wait for more details.

More news updates:
Acquisition is for people’s safety, says expert (The Star)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

KTM ticket for raya sold out

Train tickets to East Coast sold out

KUALA LUMPUR: Tickets for the KTM Intercity service to the East Coast between Aug 26 and 29 have been sold out, KTM Berhad (KTMB) announced Tuesday.

In a statement, KTMB said it would consider having additional coaches for the route and that any announcement on the matter would be made in the middle of this month.

It said tickets for the North, South and central sectors were still available.

There are 62,304 tickets available for trips between Aug 20 and 30, of which 27,990 tickets had been sold until 2pm Tuesday, it added.

KTM said the remaining 34,314 tickets could be bought at any KTM Intercity counters.

It also said tickets for certain routes on certain dates were also sold out.

They are for the Kuala Lumpur-Hatyai (Ekspres Senandung Langkawi No 20) for travelling on Aug 26 to 28; Hatyai-Kuala Lumpur (Ekspres Senandung Langkawi No 21) for Aug 25-26 and Kuala Lumpur-Tumpat (Ekspres Senandung Wau No 28), for Aug 25 to 29.

For the Singapore-Tumpat route, tickets for the Ekspres Sinaran Timur No 14 on Aug 25 to 29 and the Ekspres Sinaran Timur No 26 for travelling on Aug 24 to 29 are also sold out. - Bernama