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4 March, 2010

Highway project will fuel growth of coastal towns

I REFER to the report “Analysts sceptical about Taiping-JB highway project”. As a highway user, I believe this project is very important to fuel growth in the coastal towns along the way in the long term.

Coastal towns, especially those in the west coast and north-west of Selangor such as Kuala Selangor, Sungai Besar, Sabak Bernam, and Perak such as Teluk Intan and Taiping, have experienced heavy emigration of their population for a very long time due to lack of jobs and investments.

Although economically they are doing fine, supported by high commodity prices, this is not sustainable in the long run when we are fast maturing and changing into a service-based economy.

Therefore, an improved road network connecting these areas to the Klang Valley will help to bring in crucial investments for development. By the way, this should be in line with the Perak Mentri Besar’s plan to turn Perak into a food-producing state under the Amanjaya Plan where good road infrastructure is crucial to bring food products to the markets or processing plants when they are still fresh.

At the same time, PLUS highways are already experiencing severe congestion in the Klang Valley, Negri Sembilan and parts of Perak over the weekends or festive seasons. As traffic increases, I can foresee that it will only take a few more years before severe congestion appears regularly on these highways.

Therefore, I believe that the construction of an alternative highway is economically viable in the long term.

Regarding the negative impact on PLUS, it certainly depends on how the company manages it. As road users, we should be happy when we have a choice. With competing highways, we can choose the best in terms of price, service and distance.

As a taxpayer, we may need to upgrade certain stretches of the existing route along the way instead of building a new one to lower construction cost.

HIGHWAY USER, Petaling Jaya.

-- The Star --