The incumbent Ayer Hitam MP says he did not let go of any opportunity on the effort to upgrade FT50, and dispels his challenger’s claims that his efforts actually lead to the project approval

KUALA LUMPUR: Road safety along a killer stretch in Jalan Kluang-Ayer Hitam-Batu Pahat has long been a priority for Ayer Hitam MP Wee Ka Siong.

Wee said that he had always pushed for the upgrade of the road – officially named FT50 – since 2004, resulting in millions of ringgit set aside for the project.

The MCA deputy president, in a Facebook post, added that he was determined to find a solution to road safety at the stretch using his experience as a civil engineer.

He also said that he had raised the issue in parliament a total of nine times and also gave his professional views.

“I still remember a family member of a person who died in an accident at FT50 who pleaded to me, ‘our lives are so fragile, who else can we ask for help, other than a YB’?” recalled the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department.

He said this to counter his challenger for the Ayer Hitam seat, incumbent Kluang MP Liew Chin Tong, who had claimed responsibility for the FT50 upgrade work.

Liew had posted his “report card” for Kluang in his Facebook, in which he had claimed that he had raised the issue many times in parliament which led to the project being approved by the Works Ministry.

Liew, who is the Johor DAP chief, further claimed that his efforts over the past five years benefited residents not only in Kluang but also Ayer Hitam, Parit Sulong and Batu Pahat.

Wee however attached parliamentary meeting records as proof, adding that the Federal Government had in fact heeded his views on the upgrading of the stretch.

“From parliament to the cabinet, I did not let go of any opportunity on the effort to upgrade FT50. For example, I succeeded in adding a proposal to upgrade and improve the safety of FT50 in the suggested list of main projects under the 11th Malaysia Plan, which will be finalised this November. Hopefully it will be approved,” he said.

Wee said he was surprised with Liew’s post, adding that the content was similar to information that he had shared with Liew at the Parliament lobby last year.

“Maybe he has forgotten, but I remember it clearly. Nonetheless, I did not touch on the cost in our conversation, so Liew is not aware that the overall project would need RM146 million.

“This sum also does not include the cost to install basic safety features along the road,” he said.

He added that an MP’s annual allocation of RM5 million was insufficient to fund the project. Wee pledged to continue working to resolve safety issues at the stretch.