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(From left) Datuk Seri Rosli Sulaiman, Cheras MP Tan Kok Wai, and Chai Mei Li are seen in front of the Dang Wangi district police headquarters in Kuala Lumpur January 10, 2022. — Picture by Choo Choy May
(From left) Datuk Seri Rosli Sulaiman, Cheras MP Tan Kok Wai, and Chai Mei Li are seen in front of the Dang Wangi district police headquarters in Kuala Lumpur January 10, 2022. — Picture by Choo Choy May

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KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 10 — The police have launched an investigation against key figures in the movement protesting the planned expansion of a flyover on Jalan Yew here, where thousands of small and petty traders have traded for generations.

Tan Kok Wai, the Cheras member of parliament from DAP; Datuk Rosli Sulaiman of the Federal Territories Bumiputera Traders and Hawkers Association; and Chai May Li, secretary of the newly-formed action committee against the project were called in for questioning at the Dang Wangi district police headquarters earlier this evening.

“They are investigating us in relation to the gathering held on December 31 (2021),” the DAP leader said.

“But we are not being charged (yet),” he added.

Worried that they could be displaced by the planned expansion of the Jalan Yew-Sungai Besi flyover, traders at one of the capital city’s oldest markets have rallied behind an action committee formed to protest against the project.

Tan had announced the formation of the committee on December 31 last year, alongside other multiracial key members composed mostly of small and petty traders and residents associations.

The DAP leader, acting as adviser to the action committee, had described the planned expansion of the busy flyover as “destructive” to the lives and livelihoods of nearby residents and traders, and likening it to a “man-made disaster”.

He criticised the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) and the federal government for greenlighting the project, suggesting the move was insensitive to the small and petty traders who have traded there, many for generations.

The group had marched around the Pudu market area and Yew road as part of a media event to announce the committee’s formation and get feedback from residents and traders there.

No social, environmental study done

Tan told Malay Mail that a meeting with the DBKL was held on January 5 following strong support for the action committee displayed at the December 31 gathering.

The DAP leader said the DBKL had informed them of its plan to redesign the original expansion, although he said the project would still have an impact on locals there.

“We reject any form of expansion. We want it to be status quo,” Tan said, noting that any plans to widen the flyover would have an impact on Pudu Market traders and nearby residents.

Tan suggested that traders fear the construction would take up the already limited space around the area, which could deter customers from coming.

“It could be a ghost town,” he said.

The DAP leader alleged the DBKL has yet to conduct social and environmental impact assessments despite having green-lighted the project. The action committee has since called for an independent assessment to be held.

As for the traffic assessment, Tan claimed the DBKL had only agreed to reveal the summary of its study.

The DAP leader said the action committee had rejected the report and demanded a detailed disclosure of the traffic assessment report.

The DBKL could not be reached at the time of writing.

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