Keep plans for Kampar highway link, residents tell Pakatan

Loghun Kumaran
Despite Barisan Nasional’s defeat, residents want MCA’s proposal for a new Kampar exit on the North-South Expressway to be developed. — Picture by Farhan Najib

IPOH, June 20 — Kampar residents want the Pakatan Harapan government to continue MCA’s plans for a new Kampar exit on the North-South Expressway.

The planned exit gained renewed traction when Kampar MCA placed it in their election manifesto.

Despite Barisan Nasional’s defeat, residents told Malay Mail they want the Chinese-based party’s proposal to be developed.

Residents such as 26-year old student Monisha G. Selvakumar claim the existing trunk road linking Kampar to Ipoh and Tapah was unsafe.

The road, which alternates between single and dual lanes, has several sharp turns and is poorly lit at night. It is also regularly used by heavy vehicles.

“At the moment, many people like me travel to Kampar daily using the trunk road. It isn’t safe as there are heavy lorries driving up and down. A Kampar exit would give motorists a safer alternative,” said Monisha.

Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR) lecturer Dr Ihediwa Samuel Chibundu agreed, saying that it would save time for motorists who regularly get stuck in traffic jams.

“It’s incumbent upon Pakatan Harapan to look into the possibility of making this happen. They didn’t promise this, but it has to be treated on its own merit considering the benefits to Kampar residents.” he said.

Fellow UTAR lecturer Teh Boon Teck said a highway exit would also encourage development in Kampar.

He pointed out that UTAR’s planned teaching hospital and the existing government hospital would draw in more people who needed medical service.

“Bidor, Tapah, and Gopeng all have their own exits, but Kampar doesn’t and this is unfair. A highway exit would help promote tourism and make it convenient for people who want medical service here.”

However, 30-year-old executive Harpreet Kaur disagreed, saying it was an unnecessary expenditure that would also harm the environment.

“They will need to cut through the hills to build the exit, which would incur a hefty cost. Is it really necessary to waste money and to destroy the earth?” she questioned.

When contacted for response, Kampar MP Thomas Su Keong Siong said there were currently two options: building a highway link through nearby Sahom or expanding the existing trunk road to a full dual carriageway.

Su said he preferred the latter, as building a highway link would require the road to cut through a range of hills, affecting the environment and Orang Asli settlements.

“Sahom is over 20 km away from Kampar, so it will still be a far drive for motorists,” Su told Malay Mail today.

“The better option would be upgrading the trunk road. At the same time, the road also needs better streetlights and some reparation, and I will bring this up to Parliament.”

Keranji assemblyman Chong Zhemin agreed, saying upgrading the trunk road would also be more cost-effective.

“Highway users have to pay tolls, but the trunk is free to use. In addition, upgrading the old road would cost a fraction of the funds needed to build a new link,” he said.