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Najib: Ease city congestion now

KUALA LUMPUR, 25 April 2009: Three weeks after Datuk Seri Najib Razak went down to the ground to visit three localities in the heart of the city, the prime minister today sprung another surprise when he had a walkabout at the bustling Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman (Jalan TAR) and Puduraya here.

However, he was not happy with the congestion and the inefficiency of the public facilities during his one-hour inspection, according to Federal Territory Minister Datuk Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin.

Najib, who was dressed casually in a brown shirt and beige pants, arrived at Jalan TAR, near Semua House at 3.20pm, accompanied by Raja Nong Chik, his deputy Datuk M. Saravanan and Kuala Lumpur city mayor Datuk Ahmad Fuad Ismail.

At Jalan TAR, which is famed for its textiles and jewellery shops, Najib was briefed by Ahmad Fuad on a proposed multi-storey carpark to be located near Semua House, and other upgrading plans for the areas.

He then spent about 30 minutes walking along the street where he also stopped to chat with the business people and the public there.

Later, he hitched on the crowded LRT (he had to stand) at Masjid Jamek station to the Plaza Rakyat station where he walked to the infamous over-congested Puduraya — where the express bus terminal for the northern and southern zones is located.

Najib, flanked by a phalanx of bodyguards and an entourage of officials, also attracted a large crowd of onlookers, who wasted no time to snap photographs of the nation’s sixth premier.

Later, Najib proceeded to inspect the long-abandoned Plaza Rakyat building project located next to Puduraya before departing at 4.25pm.

Meanwhile, speaking to reporters later, Raja Nong Chik said the prime minister had voiced concern over the lack of facilities and congestion at the places and wanted urgent improvements made.

“He experienced first-hand, by the walkabout and boarding the LRT with the people, what they have to go through daily, like jams and other difficulties, in congested areas.

“He said such problems did not augur well for our country which is seeking to become a developed nation by 2020.

“He has instructed the federal territories ministry and other relevant ministries to ensure the facilities are improved for the benefit of the public,” he said.

On the Plaza Rakyat project, Raja Nong Chik said Najib wanted the developer to be given an ultimatum to complete it.          

“The prime minister wanted us to give a deadline to the developer to complete the project. If they cannot adhere, we will terminate the contract and look for other means.

“He wants the project to resume as soon as possible,” Raja Nong Chik said.

The project, which initially cost RM1.2 billion had been abandoned for 12 years after it changed hands many times. Its current developer is Global Upline.

The Plaza Rakyat project was supposed to comprise three buildings – a 79-storey, 49-storey and 21-storey — for offices, condominiums and a budget hotel.

On the upgrading plan undertaken by Kuala Lumpur City Hall to ease congestion problems in Jalan TAR, Ahmad Fuad said a project for a multi-storey car park was already in the pipeline.

He said contract for the project on a 0.5 hectare land (near Semua House) had already been tendered out and it was expected to begin soon.  

“It’s a 13-storey building and is estimated to cost RM50 million. It will house a multi-storey car park, hawker and trader centres, a multi-purpose hall and office space,” he added. — Bernama

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2 Responses to “Najib: Ease city congestion now”

  1. Eric says:

    Heard all this before? Yes, me too.

    This new PM has the same tricks as the old one. Remember Abdullah complaining about the congestion in the LRT, the abandoned “projects” and ordering “immediate” solutions. We all know what happened afterward?

    Most likely the same here. If I were in the cabinet, I’d already prepare for the next PM. Sounds like this one will be even more short-lived than the previous (read Bakri Musa for more insight).

  2. Noel Dass says:

    It’s great that our dear PM has made an attempt to see for himself the mess that is KL. However, it’s important to point out that a new parking lot near Jalan TAR or even the completion of Plaza Rakyat will NOT do much to help the congestion problem.

    The Jalan TAR project is supposed house hawker and trader centers, a multi-purpose hall and office space – all of which will attract MORE people and MORE cars to the already congested area.

    As for Plaza Rakyat, more shops, condos and office space will only serve to increase the number of people and cars in the area. All of which will make the existing mess an even bigger one.

    Whilst more parking space in the Jalan TAR area is necessary, the project should stop there and funds should be invested in improving the public transport infrastructure in the entire city and surrounding areas of the Klang Valley. As for Plaza Rakyat and the generally congested Puduraya, the bus terminal must me moved OUT of the area, with North-bound buses housed at Hentian Duta exclusively and a new South-bound bus terminal a little further south, complemented with direct rail or shuttle links between both terminals.

    Both the skeleton of Plaza Rakyat and Puduraya should be demolished and turned into an open green space instead and perhaps smaller bus interchanges built to house other intra-city buses and complement the existing Plaza Rakyat LRT station. Moving existing stops for the likes of Selangor Bus, Metro Bus, SJ and other companies that sporadically stop in the vicinity of Kotaraya, Central Market, Bangkok Bank and Medan Pasar to a more coordinated stop could be an option to consider. This move will relieve the existing overcrowding of buses in the roads surrounding the aforementioned areas.

    At the end of the day, KL ultimately needs massive investment in SANE and LOGICAL public transport infrastructure along with a comprehensive and sustainable urban development plan. This move will ultimately encourage people to use public transport instead of driving. The system as it exists now, even with the likes of Rapid KL, hasn’t done much to ease the public’s plight when it comes to commuting. KL and PJ are already OVER-DEVELOPED in some areas. More large-scale development projects a la Plaza Rakyat will only add to the problem, not solve it!

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