[Malaysiakini] Toll operator vs residents: Barriers torn down, re-erected again
by Syed Jaymal Zahiid
It appears that there is no end in sight in the stand-off between the determined Bandar Mahkota Cheras (BMC) residents and an equally determined toll operator Grand Saga Sdn Bhd.
Late last night, just hours after concrete barricades were re-erected by Grand Saga, angry residents had dismantled them for the second time.
However, at 5pm today workers from Grand Saga arrived at the scene backed by a team of 100 riot police to erect the barrier for the third time.
The police kept about 400 residents at bay as the workers dug trenches across the toll-free road.
Instead of putting in concrete blocks which could be easily dismantled, this time Grand Saga is building a permanent wall using pre-mixed concrete.
Yesterday at 9pm, two residents were arrested when some 1,000 people tried to block the Grand Saga staff from placing the three-feet high concrete barriers on an alternate toll-free road.
Grand Saga was successful in rebuilding the concrete barrier, which forced residents in the area to use its tolled highway.
This resulted in commuters having to travel an additional six kilometre and pay Grand Saga 90 sen toll for every trip [see Google map below].
The residents, who first removed the barricades on April 21, have claimed that the land belongs to the developer.
Some 100 policemen, including members of the Federal Reserve Unit (FRU), were present when the barricades were being re-erected yesterday.
Also present was Selangor police chief Khalid Abu Bakar.
By the time Malaysiakini visited the site at around 10.30pm, the freshly-erected barricades were already removed by the residents and traffic flow was normal.
The residents resolved to remove the concrete slabs following the Pakatan Rakyat-led Selangor government’s declaration that the barriers are an "illegal edifice".
DAP state executive councillor Ronnie Liu, who visited the site this morning, said no matter how many times Grand Saga puts up the barricades, the residents will remove them.
"What happened yesterday should not have taken place. The state government via the surveillance services of the Department of Survey and Mapping Malaysia (Jupem) have complete jurisdiction over the road and Grand Saga has no authority to place the barricades there," he said.
Police should be neutral
Liu said the police should have taken a neutral stand and not be seen as acting on behalf of Grand Saga and the federal government.
He also advised residents to exercise restraint and not behave in a provocative manner in response to future actions by Grand Saga.
"But Grand Saga and the police must also be mindful of the feelings of the residents here as they have every right to feel upset," he stressed.
Liu also welcomed the residents’s move to file for a court injunction against Grand Saga.
Demands for compensation must be made in court, he said, adding that the injunction will most likely be filed today or tomorrow.
As for the survey report that was supposed to be released by Jupem last week, Liu said that no report has been produced so far and he is upset about this.
"But Jupem has done its work nevertheless. They marked the borders which indicate that the road belongs to the state government with red paint only to be removed by some irresponsible people," he said.
As for the two residents who were arrested yesterday, they are expected to be charged with assaulting police personnel.
The men were part of a 1,000-strong crowd attempting to stop Grand Saga workers from rebuilding the concrete barrier last night.
The duo are being detained at the Cheras police station.
Watch 10-min video of stand-off between residents and police
The article above is taken from Malaysiakini
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