A two hour meeting between Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur (DBKL), Mass Rapid Transit Corporation Sdn. Bhd. (MRT Corp) and concerned property owners in the Jalan Sultan area looks set to have resolved various technical issues concerning the Kuala Lumpur MRT tunnel alignment in the area. Property owners agreed to hold a detailed technical meeting with MRT Corp’s project engineers to iron out several technical matters related to the tunnel construction beneath their properties.
MRT Corp Chief Executive Officer Dato’ Azhar Abdul Hamid said the meeting was very positive, given that the owners are now fully aware of the limits of any improvement works they intend to do to their property aimed at protecting the MRT tunnel below.
“I’m very encouraged by the outcome of the meeting. Once the technical matters are resolved, we should be able to sign the Mutual Agreement (MA) with the property owners very quickly,” he said.
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“MRT Corp is aware that due to the tunnel, they will need to be extra careful with any work they do to their property. Their willingness to sit with us to discuss matters is something I truly appreciate,” added Dato’ Azhar.
The MA between MRT Corp and property owners will allow the MRT tunnel to co-exist with private properties above. With the MA, private property above the MRT tunnel will not need to be compulsorily acquired. The agreement also provides for compensation should the occupants of the properties have to relocate during the construction of the tunnel, and for MRT Corp to make good any damage that may result from tunnel construction. Once signed, the MA will allow the Government to permanently stop the land acquisition process which began last year.
To date, the owners of 18 out of 24 properties above the MRT tunnel in the area have signed the POA, a non-binding agreement that will form the foundation of the legally-binding MA, while one more owner will soon sign POA. The owners of two properties have agreed for their property to be compulsorily acquired while the remaining three properties have refused to negotiate with MRT Corp, calling for the MRT alignment to run elsewhere. The three, Lok Ann Hotel, Yan Keng Benevolent Dramatic Association and KL Gospel Hall have openly declared that they will not sign any agreement with MRT Corp. Lok Ann Hotel and KL Gospel Hall was represented at the meeting.
Dato’ Azhar said their repeated accusations of heritage destruction were disappointing. “We have repeatedly stated that all we needed was to tunnel below their properties, which will allow their buildings, historical or otherwise, to remain. Yet they chose to believe that MRT Corp intends to demolish their properties. I am disappointed, but we should not let the majority lose out to the minority whom remain indifferent,” says Dato’ Azhar.
The MRT will have a capacity of 20,000 passengers per hour per direction when launched in the end of 2016.
MRT is a new rail transport system for the Klang Valley. It is part of the government’s Greater Kuala Lumpur/Klang Valley’s National Key Economic Area (NKEA), under the Economic Transformation Programme. The Sungai Buloh – Kajang (SBK) Line runs for 51kms, from the north-west town of Sg Buloh to the south-east city town of Kajang.
For more on the tunnelling see: http://tunnellingjournal.com/news/breaking-news-mmc-gamuda-wins-kuala-lumpur-mrt/