RAWANG, 22 Apr: The joy felt by Goh Ah Kow three months ago has passed and that Village Chief of Kampung Sungai Terentang is now facing the possibility that the good news from earlier this year will not be prolonged.
In January, Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) agreed to not demolish half the village to build the Central Area Reinforcement (CAR) high voltage project.
But, if Pakatan Rakyat does not govern the State Government after the 13th General Election (GE-13), Ah Kow is worried that TNB will continue with its original plan.
The plan will see the demolishing of shops, houses of worship and the residential village of 60 years.
In fact, Kampung Sungai Terentang is said to have only been safe from being demolished because the State Government changed hands from Umno-BN to Pakatan Rakyat in March 2008.
For five years, the Selangor PR took the initiative to negotiate with TNB to find alternative routes that will not affect the building structures in the village, including two schools nearby.
“The State Government set three criteria (ie) CAR cannot go through Kampung Sungai Terentang, does not disturb schools and the Rawang-Ipoh main road,” said William Leong, former MP of Selayang who was involved in the negotiation process.
The outcome of ongoing negotiations between the Selangor PR Government and TNB as of January received agreement from the electricity distribution company to use an alternative route that does not affect the village.
To help find alternative routes in the best interest of all parties, be it the villagers or TNB, the Selangor Government appointed engineering consultants, Aecom from New Zealand.
“The PR State Government’s move was good because they found alternative routes for this project in addition to saving the residents and the village from being destroyed,” said Ah Kow.
Ah Kow said that the villagers were happy with the decision of the State Government to a point that it can be said that a majority of more than 5,000 villagers are now staunch supporters of PR.
The support is from their hopes and outcries to continue to inhabit and continue their lives in the village.
This is because, claimed William, TNB still does not want to implement the decision to use alternative routes agreed upon with the Selangor Government.
“The plan is already completed, it is just that TNB does not want to implement it,” said William.
For Ah Kow and the villagers, the change in administration to Umno-BN will be a grim event from them.
“They gave RM120,000 as compensation for demolished houses. Where are we going to find new homes at the price now?” said Ah Kow.
“We have lived in this village for a long time and we already received land grants.”