KUALA LUMPUR: Cheras-Kajang Expressway concessionaire Grand Saga Sdn Bhd has denied allegations that it had employed thugs to beat up Bandar Makhota Cheras residents who tried to tear down a barrier blocking the toll-free access to the highway on Tuesday.
Grand Saga executive director Zainal Abidin Ali said it was not involved in the scuffle, and added that a number of its workers were attacked by the thugs as well.
"We do not believe in using violence. Furthermore, I used to be a senior police officer. Such methods (hiring thugs) is against our principles," he said.
According to witnesses, 15 unidentified men assaulted the residents with sticks and helmets when they pushed down one concrete slab from the barrier.
The conflict on Tuesday is an escalation of the ongoing right-of-way tussle between Grand Saga and Bandar Makhota Cheras developer Narajaya Sdn Bhd.
It is learnt that Narajaya, when advertising for Bandar Makhota Cheras, had promised a toll-free access to the Cheras-Kajang Expressway.
Zainal said the barrier has been there since 2005 but the protests began only last month when people started to move into area.
"Instead of asking their developer why it failed to deliver on its promises, the residents are blaming us and tearing down our barrier built on our side of the land.
"Furthermore, we are being accused of hiring thugs."
He said although an injunction was previously sought against Grand Saga demanding that a barrier not be built, the court had recently set the order aside.
"We have the right to build the barrier and the opposition politicians who are siding the residents know this," said Zainal, adding that he had shown Cheras MP Tan Kok Wai all legal documents pertaining to the erection of the barrier on many occasions.
"The issue here is not Grand Saga going against the public. It is about Grand Saga going against Narajaya on the right to access a concession highway. It is a legal issue between two corporate bodies.
"Until the court decides on this, I urge the public to remain calm, stop tearing down the barrier and to use the two alternative toll-free routes instead."
In Shah Alam, Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim said the state government, which holds a substantial stake in Grand Saga Sdn Bhd through a state-owned company, would call an extraordinary general meeting of the toll concessionaire to find out the motive of the company in putting up the concrete barrier.
Kumpulan Perangsang Selangor owns a 20 per cent stake in Tailwork Bhd, which has a 55 per cent share in Cerah Sama Sdn Bhd, which in turn owns Grand Saga.
The menteri besar said the Selangor government would, at the EGM, question whether the move by Grand Saga to barricade the slip road was "ethical and socially responsible".
He said he would also probe allegations that Grand Saga had hired thugs to stop residents from dismantling the barriers.
Khalid said the state government would be writing to the Malaysian Highway Authority and the Works Ministry to determine if Grand Saga had sought permission before putting up the barriers.
"If permission was granted, we will request the move to be rescinded."http://www.nst.com.my/Thursday/Frontpag ... index_html