I REFER to “Give and take for the greater good” (Letters, March 2). The residents especially in Taman Tun Dr Ismail (TTDI) and Kota Damansara are not against the MRT.

It is not the temporary inconvenience caused during the construction stage that is the issue. The fundamental call is for the track to go underground. There are sound reasons for going underground. The MRT track is squeezed over narrow road reserves. There is no provision of MRT reserves with proper buffers. Albeit it costs more to go underground but the total long-term benefits over-ride the short-term one-off cost savings of construction.

The intolerable noise and pollution are permanent and recurring damages. The scaring of the vista and the blocking of sunlight are also long-term detrimental factors. The inflexibility for future expansion of both the MRT and the roads below should also be taken into account.

The additional cost should be evaluated over the life cycle of the MRT versus the cost and damage to the liveability of the city and environment. The additional cost can be offset with less land acquisition, compensation and the commercial development of areas beside underground stations as in MRT stations worldwide.

In developed countries properties that are debased by public infrastructure are compensated for loss of value. In Malaysia there is no such provision. You only have locus standi to claim injurious affection after any part of your property has been acquired.

In developed countries there is constitutional protection of peaceful enjoyment of their properties from any state actions. Under our constitution no person may be deprived of property without adequate compensation. This provision should cover any person who suffers diminution of his property by state action.

Zhang CG
Petaling Jaya

Source: The Sun – March 30, 2011