What used to be a 500-metre trip to adjacent Taman Kanagapuram now involves a 5km drive due to a concrete barricade put up by MBPJ.
Parents are now forced to make a 5km drive using the New Pantai Expressway (NPE) to send their children to schools located in Taman Kanagapuram – a trip of less than 500 metres previously.
Block E residents action committee chairman M Sugumaran, who lives in a flat in Petaling Utama, said the road was barricaded on Aug 15 by MBPJ.
“We were told that closure was necessary to fix a broken pipe under the road. There was no such work carried out and the concrete barricade is still there, with just a small opening for motorcycles to move in and out.”
Sugumaran claimed MBPJ officials said several residents in the affluent Taman Kanagapuram complained of traffic congestion in their area due to the existence of the road.
“They also said the crime rate has soared in the residential area as bad hats were using the road. Are they insinuating that we are responsible for the crime rates? It’s ridiculous,” said Sugumaran.
“Parents from Petaling Utama can’t even send their children to the only playground which is located in Taman Kanagapuram due to the barricade,” he added.
Sugumaran criticised the MBPJ for favouring about 50 families in the affluent Taman Kanagapuram area at the expense of 1,000 poor families in Petaling Utama.
FMT spoke to several Petaling Utama residents who echoed Sugumaran’s sentiments over the road closure and hardship they have had to endure the past week.
M Seelan, 43, a resident of Petaling Utama, said he has difficulties sending his children to school and it is was especially inconvenient during inclement weather.
Schoolchildren coming late to school
Housewife M Umadevi vented her frustration on the rich folk of Taman Kanagapuram for making the complaint against Petaling Utama residents, which led to the road closure.
“I’m in my advanced stages of pregnancy and driving 5km to send my children to school is hard. I now walk daily across the opening in the barricade to send them,” she said.
G Kasturi, who runs the kindergarten in Taman Kanagapuram, said the road closure had caused much inconvenience to her students as many get caught up in the traffic using the highway.
“There is traffic congestion at the NPE and Taman Sri Sentosa in the mornings and this road was an alternative to many parents.
“Now, many of my students from Petaling Utama and Puchong are arriving late for class although my lessons start at 8am. Even I was delayed many times,” said
MBPJ councillor Latheefa Koya said MBPJ would hold a meeting with representatives from both areas after Hari Raya to reach an amicable solution.
“We have decided to reopen the road pending the meeting,” said Latheefa, who said the road was built illegally years ago by an unknown party.
“A decision was made to close the road last year but we did not act on it. Unfortunately, some of our officers took action without notifying us,” she added.
Meanwhile, a resident of Taman Kanagapuram, K Rajaretinam, 58, said he did not see any problems with the existence of the road.
“I don’t know who asked MBPJ to close the road but I will support for the road to be reopened,” said Rajaretinam.