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By Jaythaleela K
MARUDI, March 6: About 60 people took to the streets here today to protest against the proposed building of a petrol station within a residential area in Kampung Cina.
They gathered at the Marudi market at about 9am and marched peacefully towards the town’s public leisure park. They dispersed later in the afternoon.
When contacted, Pujut assemblyman Dr Ting Tiong Choon told DayakDaily that the residents did not want a petrol station built on their only leisure park.
“I am told that more than 100 people have signed a petition calling on Marudi District Council to stop demolition work until the matter is brought to the attention of the authority, including Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.
“The residents want the petrol station to be built at the original proposed site, which is at the Light Industrial Park, or elsewhere.”
Dr Ting claimed that the land the leisure park occupied was state land, but it was sold to an individual for the purpose of building a petrol station at a ‘ridiculously’ low price barely two weeks ago.
The petrol station issue arose as the Public Works Department (JKR) wants to implement a 300-metre waterfront project stretching from the government wharf to the Sarawak Rivers Board (SRB)’s terminal office. This proposed project, to form a part of the 7.6 acres Marudi Town Square Esplanade, affects two petrol stations and the Customs Department building.
“The RM23 million Marudi Riverside Park project was supposed to start in 2017 but was repeatedly deferred until now.”
Dr Ting revealed that two sites were identified for the two affected petrol stations, namely at the JKR worksite in Sg Jaong and at the Light Industrial Park.
But the residents recently heard that one of the petrol stations would be built in the middle of where they lived; hence, the protest.
The affected residents, he said, then filed complaints with their community leaders, but their cries for help were to no avail.
“I was made to understand that at least one of the community leaders claimed that nothing could be done anymore as all procedures had been followed accordingly.”
He claimed that messages to local elected representatives last week were not responded to until the matter went viral on social media and published in newspapers.
“The council’s contractors were seen at the leisure park and rumours swirled that the park facilities would be demolished immediately.” — DayakDaily