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Mixed reaction to LRT extension lines

Source : the Star June 21

COME June 30, the final stretches of the Kelana Jaya and Sri Petaling Light Rail Transit (LRT) lines will be completed and operational.

From 6am onwards, residents of Subang Jaya, Puchong and Shah Alam can take the LRT all the way to Gombak via the Kelana Jaya Line and to Sentul Timur through the Sri Petaling Line.

The connecting station for both lines will be the Putra Heights Station.

The Sri Petaling Line was operational since early this year with the exception of the Puchong Perdana and Puchong Prima stations.

The two Puchong stations, together with 13 more from Putra Heights to Lembah Subang, will be the final additions to complete the two lines.

There are three interchange stations along the latest addition – Putra Heights station where commuters can switch to the Sri Petaling LRT line; Subang Jaya station that connects passengers to the KTM Komuter network; and the USJ 7 station which interchanges with the Bus Rapid Transit (Sunway Line).

The fare table is ready and will be implemented immediately.

Speaking on the positive impact of the LRT extension line, Prasarana spokesman Azhar Ghazali said it would be a significant cost-saving measure for those who opt not to drive.

“While we will not have a special promotion in conjunction with the opening, commuters can enjoy savings by taking up our SMART7 and SMART30 packages.

“For example, if you are working in KLCC and staying in Saujana Putra or Putra Heights, every morning you will face massive traffic jam along Elite and NKVE during morning peak hours.

“You will also need to spend on petrol, car maintenance and pay a RM5.20 toll one way (Putra Heights – Jalan Tuanku Abdul Halim).

“But if you park your car at Putra Heights LRT Station and take the train you just pay RM3.40 (SMART30) for one way,” he said.

Each station is equipped with elevators, escalators, toilets and a surau as well as a customer service office.

As for park-and-ride facilities, no charges would be imposed for all users for the first month, afterwhich it would cost commuters RM4 a day.

Although only five stations were equipped with carpark facilities, Ghazali added that Alam Megah would have 92 parking bays.

Public transport users and Subang Jaya residents have proclaimed a mix of joy and curiosity about the upcoming stations.

Freelance educator Andy Darrel Gomes, a frequent traveller to Subang Jaya, looked forward to the new line connecting more places of interest.

“Previously, many places in Subang Jaya were accessible only via bus which are usually very congested and we usually end up standing throughout the long journey because of the traffic congestion.

“The number of transits via different vehicles to get to a place is also tiring and time consuming. This new LRT line will really help,” he said.

Living near two LRT stations, USJ 2 resident of 20 years Gareth Tan said he was looking forward to saving time and fuel once the train services commenced.

“I am excited at the prospect of a convenient public transport system that will take me directly to Kuala Lumpur, allowing me to save on fuel and the typically high parking charges in the city.

“Even if it takes 60 to 90 minutes for a one-way trip, it is a dependable measure of travel time compared to fighting the traffic directly to Kuala Lumpur or to an LRT station in Petaling Jaya,” he said.

However, SS16 resident Ruebni Karunakaran said the reduction of traffic congestion still depended on how smoothly passengers used the drop-off facilities, as not all stations were equipped with parking bays.

“There might be a traffic jam caused by cars dropping off or waiting by the LRT stations to pick up people,” she said.

Bicycle parking

With 130 bicycle parking lots available throughout the Kelana Jaya Line extension, passengers have the alternate option of cycling to the LRT stations.

Stations with parking facilities for bicycles have a railing where cyclists can securely lock their bicycles.

As for taking bicycles on the LRT trains, Azhar said only foldable bicycles were allowed on board.

“Folding bicycles are allowed on the train during off-peak hours which is after 9am and before 5pm, and after 8pm on weekdays and anytime on weekends,” he said.

He added that there would be no fee imposed on cyclists using the parking facility.

Responding to the facilities provided, Cycling Kuala Lumpur and Bicycle Map Project project coordinator Jeffrey Lim said the parking facilities provided ought to be more secure.

“If the Kelana Jaya line is supposed to be a transport mode and promote cycling as a form of collaborative transportation, it needs to provide a cycling hub with secure and sheltered parking bays.

“People who commute by bikes also need to be able to commute during peak hours.

“Perhaps they can allow full-sized bikes off-peak hours, and throughout the day during weekends,” he said.

Parking woes for Subang Jaya folk

Seven out of the 12 new stations along the Kelana Jaya Line presently do not have parking facilities for cars.

The situation had raised concerns among Subang Jaya folk, primarily those living within the SS18 and USJ vicinity.

Living near the SS18 station, which only has drop-off facilities, protem chairman of the SS18 Rukun Tetangga Dr Hamidah Merican said the absence of a carpark would affect the safety and serenity of her neighbourhood.

Residents are worried that commuters would park their cars along SS18/6 and in front of their homes indiscriminately.

“We are not happy with this. Our quaint neighbourhood will see an increase in number of vehicles plying our streets.

“Our streets will no longer be safe for our children to ride their bicycles and this may lead to an increase in crime too,” she said, adding that the resident association was now pressed to install boom gates to keep their streets safe.

USJ 6 Rukun Tetangga deputy chairman Lee Yap Juan said the park-and-ride facility was necessary to manage the traffic around the neighbourhood.

“In the initial blueprint, as agreed by residents, there was supposed to be a multipurpose carpark facility built to service USJ 7 and Taipan stations.

“The absence of this facility will definitely cause a lot of congestion especially for USJ 6 residents,” he said.

In an effort to alleviate potential traffic congestion, Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ) corporate communications officer Azli Muhammad Azli Miswan said the council planned to increase traffic enforcement and provide additional Bas Selangorku services to the LRT stations.

“We also plan to have more parking bays at the multistorey carpark in SS15 which is close to the LRT station,” he said.

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Furnishing modern lifestyles

Source: the Star June 13 2016

TIMES have changed and so have consumers’ preference for home furnishing needs.

Addressing the demand for today’s living solutions, MajuHome Concept officially reintroduced its 30-year-old brand with a more modern image.

This came with the unveiling of the company’s latest 5574.2sq m outlet in Citta Mall, Petaling Jaya, which offers home and lifestyle products including furniture, bedding, decorative items, kitchen cabinets, appliances as well as office furniture.

It is MajuHome Concept’s third outlet following its first store in Setapak, Kuala Lumpur, and the second one in Subang Jaya.

Company group managing director Ken Low said when MajuHome Concept was founded in 1986 by his late father, the store’s objective was to be a one-stop furniture mall with a range of products that offered convenience for customers.

“Back in the day, furniture shopping was pretty straightforward, choices were limited and options were few.

“This has changed over the years along with the improvement of living standards.”

Low said today, furniture shopping has become a part of life and the designs have become a fashion statement that defines personal tastes and styles.

“Furniture is no longer just for functionality but also for lifestyle and aesthetic value,” he said.

To keep up with this evolving progress, he said, the brand is moving away from the traditional image of local furniture mall and towards a contemporary furniture and lifestyle concept store to deliver an extensive repertoire of items that suit customers’ individual tastes.

Low shared that the company came up with the new tagline “Redefining lifestyle, your way”.

“We understand that everyone is unique. Your own taste and lifestyle can be reflected by the car you drive, the clothes you wear or the house you live in.

“Similarly, furniture has become a statement as well,” he said.

During the store opening, MajuHome Concept welcomed former Formula 1 driver Alex Yoong on board as brand ambassador.

“To both the company and our Malaysian consumers, Alex Yoong is a personality who has demonstrated determination, persistence and commitment in all that he does, which took his performance to an international level.

“As a homegrown brand, MajuHome Concept also aspires to become a more successful brand in the world stage and to be known for who we are and what we do best,” he remarked.

On a personal level, Yoong said he found MajuHome Concepts products to be relatable to his lifestyle.

“I’m drawn to the broad selections as well as the sleek and simple options they have, many of which definitely fit well in my home.

“I am more of a minimalist.

“As a race car driver, you want your car to be lightweight – it is all about being fast in the race, so I’m more partial to simple and modern pieces,” Yoong said.

Of the new store, Low said establishing one in a complex such as Citta Mall has always been in the plan.

Due to the bulky nature of most furniture pieces, he said it was necessary for them to have the right platform to display their products.

“Citta Mall gives us the space that we need, all in one place. It’s not easy to find a place of this size,” he said, adding that they were confident with the store’s performance due to its location in Ara Damansara, an up- and-coming neighbourhood.

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Riverbank collapsing in Ara Damansara


Source: the Star May 10

COLLAPSING riverbanks and sinking backlanes have Ara Damansara residents literally living on the edge.

A site visit to Sungai Kayu Ara conducted by Kota Damansara assemblyman Halimaton Saadiah Bohan and two Petaling Jaya councillors showed the riverbank behind Jalan 1A/26A collapsing while the backlane in Jalan 1A/32C was slowly sinking.

The trio was accompanied by the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) Engineering Department director Ismail Shafie as well as residents from the Idaman housing development.

Foo Teck Leong, a resident staying near Jalan 1A/26A, showed StarMetro a picture on his handphone which he said was taken in December last year.

“When this picture was taken we were standing on a drain which no longer exists as the entire riverbank has collapsed.

“It is just a matter of time before the soil underneath the backlane and cul-de-sac at Jalan 1A/26D also gives way,” he said.

Halimaton said MBPJ needed to move fast and be the coordinating body between the residents and other organisations such as Ara Damansara’s developer and the Selangor Drainage and Irrigation Department.

“There are about 10 houses along the Jalan 1A/32C backlane affected,” said the assemblyman.

Resident Albert Lau said in addition to Jalan 1A/26A, other places with collapsing riverbanks include three locations in Jalan 1A/20, while residents from Jalan 1A/23 Ara Impian also said they are also facing collapsing banks in their housing area.

He said the residents association and other concerned parties had submitted complaints to the relevant authorities.

MBPJ councillow Wong Yuet Leng said the council had already conducted a study in late March that identified the problem locations and listed both short and long-term solutions, which include sheet-piling the riverbanks and repairing the drainage system.

“We hope to meet the developer’s consultants this week and some came with us today to survey the damage,” she said.

During the walkabout, several residents said there used to be sand excavation and illegal dumping in the area.

“Earlier, we used to have fewer mosquitoes and the river was flowing well,” said Lau, who moved here 14 years ago.

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Buddhist bookstore to close


Source: the Star Apr 26

A BUDDHIST bookstore in Petaling Jaya will be closing its doors at the end of this month, after having served the community for nearly two decades.

Sukhi Hotu, which was named after the ancient Pali greeting “may you be well and happy”, caters specifically to English-readers in the local Buddhist community.

It first opened its doors in Taman Mayang in 1997 and subsequently moved to Ara Damansara.

At its peak, the store offered more than 2,000 unique titles, a treasure trove for those seeking books on Buddhism written in English.

However, declining sales since 2014 has made operations a growing concern.

“In a week, there may be two or three days in which there are no walk-in customers,” said general manager Aaron Lee, 39.

Sukhi Hotu was once a treasure trove for avid Buddhist readers with its more than 2,000 individual titles. Sukhi Hotu was once a treasure trove for avid Buddhist readers with its more than 2,000 individual titles.

He explained that more than 70% of the Buddhist community here were those who speak Chinese.

“Of the remaining who are English-speaking, those who have the habit of reading are even fewer,” he said.

But the news was not all gloomy, said the former surveyor who has been working with the book store for the past 10 years.

Sukhi Hotu’s shop in Air Itam, Penang, which opened a year after the one in Petaling Jaya, is still doing reasonably well.

Lee pointed out that its location, next to the famous Taman Emas Kopitiam, was patronised by tourists and locals alike.

Starting next month, the Penang shop will be the sole retail store for Sukhi Hotu.

“It is a shame for Sukhi Hotu to close down,” said Lee.

He said the bookstore held a full set of Pali Text Society’s English translation of the Buddhist scriptures, along with its commentaries, the sole company in Malaysia to do so.

Sukhi Hotus general manager Aaron Lee, 39, said the book store needed to catch up with the times by moving its operations online. Lee says the book store needs to catch up with times by moving its operations online.

The store also sells a series of meditation cushions that they have designed themselves and are made locally.

Despite closing down its retail shop in Petaling Jaya, the company will still be accepting mail orders.

“The inventory here will be kept in storage.

“Now that the physical shop is closed, I can focus my resources on moving everything online,” said Lee.

The shop’s business model will be changed entirely, he said, elaborating that it would focus on selling its products via its website.

“Right now, we need support from the community.

“If sales builds up, then maybe we can partner with a logistics company to commit to making daily deliveries,” he said.

Lee said Sukhi Hotu was trying its best to catch up to the times.

“In this day and age, we need to connect with the people more pro-actively,” he said.

Despite going through a transitional phase, Lee promised that the shop would hold on to its values.

“Our aim is still to complement the spiritual lifestyle of the Buddhist community, to serve the Buddhist sangha and promote its teachings,” he said.

The Petaling Jaya shop will officially cease operations on May 1.

The shop is located at Pusat Perdagangan Dana 1 in Ara Damansara or call 03-7842 6828.

Alternatively, visit www.sukhihotu.com

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Pylon too close for comfort, say Bukit Mayang Emas folk

Source: the Star Apr 7

THE installation of pylons in Bukit Mayang Emas, Petaling Jaya, without any notification has raised concerns among the residents.

One of the pylons is located on a vacant land close to Jalan BM1/11. The land belongs to Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB).

Some 50 residents came forward to highlight their concerns to StarMetro.

When StarMetro visited the site, workers were in the midst of installing another pylon.

Bukit Mayang Emas Residents Association chairman Steven Foo said he hoped TNB would halt the installation process and furnish the residents with details.

He said the pylon could be located to the farther end of the vacant land instead of towering beside their houses.

Among their other concerns are the safety aspect of the structure and the side-effects to residents.

“We want to know if this pylon is safe to be in close proximity to our houses and how sturdy is it.

“We would also like TNB to provide us with a safety report to back the fact that it would not cause any adverse health effects on residents,” he said.

The newly appointed area councillor Lee Soong Yee said he was gathering information on the project.

“I am still new here and I am gathering information on this matter,” he said.

Based on a statement from TNB, the project is part of the upgrading of the transmission line from Kampung Chempaka to Ara Damansara.

“It is being done to meet the increasing electricity demand in Ara Damansara. Currently, the power supply to the area is sourced from substations located outside the Ara Damansara vicinity.

“These substations have reached their maximum supply limit.

“As such, the existing electricity supply needs to be diverted and reconnected to the customers surrounding these substations.

“In order to ensure residents of Ara Damansara receive reliable power supply without experiencing blackout or shortage of electricity supply, the development of this substation is highly necessary,” the statement elaborated.

The land was given in 1997 by the developer of this residential area as a site to build a substation. It is endorsed and gazetted by the state government.

The transmission line stretches from Kampung Chempaka to the Civil Aviation Department in Subang.

TNB said the access for construction work is through TNB’s existing right of way.

It has been approved by the Forestry Department.

“The access road to the neighbourhood will not be used during the construction and it will not cause any constraints or inconvenience to the residents in the area,” TNB further said in its statement.

It added that the residents were made aware of the substation’s construction through numerous briefings held by the utility company.

TNB has followed all the guidelines and conditions set by Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ), and followed the World Health Organisation standards in relation to the noise, pollution and electromagnetic exposure standards.

TNB said it had held dialogues with the residents on this matter on Aug 2, 2013, Sept 22, 2013, Oct 2, 2013 and April 3, 2015.

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Surau to be build near Ara Hill, Semi-Ds & Bungalows (Ara Vista)

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Quaking in their homes

Source: the Star Mar 18

STRONG tremors sent some residents of Jalan PJU 1A in Ara Damansara scurrying from their homes, fearing their ceilings would collapse.

The residents believe the violent vibrations, which last about 10 minutes at a time, are caused by a construction project opposite their neighbourhood.

“Our houses are separated from the construction site only by a 12m-wide road. We can feel everything they are doing,” said Winchester Residents Association (WRA) outgoing chairman Tee Guan Huat.

Tee, who has been chairman of WRA for the past three years, added that the vibrations were strong enough to cause the furniture in their double-storey terrace houses to shake.

“I felt it a few times when I was home during the day and it was really scary because my cups and even window grilles would be vibrating violently,” said Tee’s wife, Chong Fui Kuen.

She added that she suffered a close call in the kitchen one day when a wooden wall panel above the stove fell onto a boiling pot of water.

At least 10 other houses face the same problem and Tee believes that there may be more who have not reported it yet.

Apart from that, the walls of the houses have cracked, mostly near room doors and the ceiling.

“My wife has noticed new cracks in our walls and also experienced the vibrations,” said another resident, Ho Keng Leng.

Ho, who moved in about six years ago with his wife and two young children, fears for his family’s safety.

“My plaster ceiling collapsed once due to poor workmanship and I’m really worried all the strong vibrations will cause it to fall again and injure my children,” he said.

Residents have filed complaints with both the authorities and the developer but to no avail. Reports have been filed since November last year. Construction started in September.

The residents said that while they were not against development in their area, they want the responsible parties to respond to their complaints.

When contacted, Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) public relations officer Zainun Zakaria said the council was not aware of the residents’ complaints.

“We did not receive any complaint before this. We will look into it now,” she said.

Officers from MBPJ’s building department visited the site and assured that they would soon contact the affected residents.

“We will also contact the developer and hold them responsible for the damages suffered by residents,” she said.

When contacted, Sime Darby Property’s project management team said they had inspected the premises of the complainants and would continue to closely monitor the situation.

“Our piling operations are meticulously monitored by a dedicated seismograph system to ensure the vibrations do not exceed the specified allowable tolerance to avoid damageable impact to surrounding areas and properties,” said a spokesman.

Following the complaint, the project management team had also conducted vibration and sound testing at the site, which confirmed it was within permissible levels and met the requirements set by the Department of Environment.

“Our community engagement team will continue reaching out to residents and provide the necessary assistance for the purpose of alleviating present and future concerns,” added the spokesman.

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Happy Chinese New Year

This is the year of the red fire Monkey.

We wish Chinese residents in Ara Damansara, a very happy and prosperous Chinese New Year! May the year of the fire monkey brings you passion and success in everything you do. May this year be another year of joy and satisfactions in your engagements and your wishes come true.

Be safe on the roads and Happy holidays!

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Happy New Year 2016!

We wish all residents in Ara Damansara, a very happy and prosperous new year! Let’s wish 2016 will be a better year for all of us, both in our personal and social lives. Let’s help each other in whatever ways we can, big or small. Let’s give generously and expect no returns.

Let’s make this community a healthy and happy neighbourhood where everyone lives in harmony and all strive to keep the environment clean, safe and peaceful.

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Merry Christmas!

Wishing all our Christian residents, Merry Christmas! May this day of joy be one of sharing especially with those who are less fortunate.

Wishing the rest Happy Holidays and be safe on the roads.

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