PETALING JAYA,Dec 17: A transport expert, an economist and the head of a business group predict that the Damansara-Shah Alam Elevated Expressway (DASH) and the Sungai Besi-Ulu Kelang Expressway (SUKE) projects will boost Malaysia’s economy upon completion.
Transport planning consultant Rosli Azad Khan said the immediate benefit from the two highways would be shorter journey times, allowing motorists to save travel costs.
“In the case of SUKE, this is a useful bypass as motorists would not have to go through the Kuala Lumpur Ring Road which is always congested, crowded, and time-consuming,” he told FMT.
While people would still have to pay toll fees, Rosli pointed out that these small additional charges were unlikely to affect road users too much.
He said that faster travel times also meant more effective logistic systems, which the country’s economy was dependent on.
“The lower the costs of distribution, especially for goods and services, the better and more productive the logistics systems will be. A road that is always congested will not be contributing effectively to the country’s economy,” he said.
Economist Geoffrey Williams agreed, saying infrastructure investments such as the SUKE and DASH highways were generally proportional to economic growth, as they added value to the land immediately surrounding the roads.
Williams said transport routes had significant positive impacts on the country in the long run, especially for local communities and those from low-income groups.
“The areas around the new roads can be used to set up new businesses which benefit from easy access to transport routes and can make residential areas more attractive because they are less isolated and more convenient,” he said.
However, he warned that the benefits from these highways must be “balanced against its environmental impacts” of pollution and increased carbon emissions.
Michael Kang, president of the Small and Medium Enterprises Association of Malaysia, said well-planned infrastructures such as roads and telecommunication towers were essential in helping micro-businesses.
He said good infrastructure always made for better connectivity between customers and businesses, and more efficient operational logistics.
Both highways are being developed by Prolintas Group of Companies and will act as part of a new ring road which will allow road users easy movement between townships and the city centre.
Besides connecting to more than 100 high-density locations, SUKE and DASH offer an effective traffic dispersal system and, most importantly, will promote economic activities and community well-being.