Controversy has erupted over 20 lots in KL’s main shopping district, Bukit Bintang, to be acquired for the Klang Valley Mass Rapid Transit (MRT). Are transport planners hoping to reap a windfall from property development while entrenching a consumerist culture?
According to the videoclip, something else – “an exciting future development” – will be sprouting near the Jalan Bukit Bintang-Jalan Sultan Ismail intersection. And it also looks as if there’s going to be an extensive pedestrian tunnel system underground with kiosks and stores connecting various points in the area.
Is this how they are going to fund the RM50bn MRT project? (Don’t ask me how they arrive at that stupendous total in the first place.)
Prasarana says the lots will be acquired to make way for tunnelling works and an underground station. Several lots along Jalan Bukit Bintang, Jalan Imbi, Jalan Jati, Jalan Inai, Jalan Kamuning, Jalan Kampung and Jalan Utara reportedly would be acquired under the Land Acquisition Act 1960.
There is something else to consider. Blog reader Orang Kechil comments:
… we should all consider … the social and cultural heritage of Bukit Bintang – these cultural and social networks have taken at least a hundred years to evolve – there are real traders there who not only have social ties that form the very cement that makes Malaysia a very unique place. Now all these attributes are going to be replaced by stainless steel and glass cladding where we will probably have the same run of the mill antiseptic Italian restaraunts and bistros that is really a form of McDonalization that we can very well do without – so we can well expect the new demographics of Bukit Bintang to offer us nothing more than what is typically on offer in most cities around the world – and this again should lead many to question, if all we can offer is a saccharine social and cultural product – how might this add value to the whole idea of selling Malaysia as a unique cultural hub.