Tuesday, October 19, 2010

MPs: Mega-tower won't improve quality of life

Source: http://malaysiakini.com/news/145741 (By Hazlan Zakaria, 19/10/2010)
Five DAP MPs from the Fedral Territories are strongly opposed to the government proposal to build a RM5 billion 100-storey commercial building in the heart of the city. They said that the building will not improve Kuala Lumpur's international standing but will exacerbate the traffic congestion in the area. Instead, the government should use the funds to improve the quality of life for the city folk, they stressed. The five MPs are Tan Kok Wai (Cheras), Fong Kui Loon (Bukit Bintang), Teresa Kok (Seputeh), Dr Tan Seng Giaw (Kepong) and Lim Lip Eng (Segambut).

This was raised during a site visit at the nearest point between Stadium Merdeka and Stadium Negara. The building, proposed in Budget 2011, is expected to be build adjacent to the two stadiums. Fong pointed to the narrow streets and five schools concentrated in the area that he said already presents a traffic problem. This may be made worse by the 100-storey tower and the glut of traffic that will surely follow, he said.
Lim Lip Eng argued that the project has not yet been approved, given the lack of signboards from the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) to announce the project, as per city regulations. “The DBKL must put up a signboard and announce the project, and then there is an objection period of one month for the people to make their comments,” said the DAP elected representative. He said that this is necessary to give the people a chance to say whether they support or object to the project and why. “We of the opposition have made our views known, but the government can say that we are politicising the matter. Now we want to use people power,” opined Lim.
Do we need another skyscraper?
Kok Wai questioned the need for such skyscrapers. “No great cities were built by skyscrapers alone. It is better if we (possess) the criteria that make a good city, like good security and good public transport,” he said. Agreeing with him, Seng Giaw said that the RM5 billion expenditure targeted for the tower may be better spent upgrading city transport and public services. “Granted some people may benefit from the tower, the people who will have offices there for example, but their number is limited. “In contrast, spending the money to upgrade transportation and services will benefit more people,” he said. Kok said that the mega project is just another questionable project that the BN government continues to push through without due consideration, giving as another example the spate of projects in her Seputeh constituency that the DBKL has ramrodded through. These objections by DAP parliamentarians joined a chorus of opposition to the mega-project that was one of the many sore points of Najib's new budget. Many are criticising the tower as another wasteful 'white elephant' project that signalled a return to Mahathir-style projects of grandeur, at a time when the country was saddled with a nosedive in foreign direct investment and rising debt.

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