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Friday April 5, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Friday April 26, 2013 MYT 1:01:48 AM
by story andphotos by zazali musa
<b>Entrance feature:</b> Two statues depicting a dancing couple doing the Malay joget at the entrance of the Aw Pottery factory - the famous landmark in Machap, Kluang, Johor.
KLUANG: For hardcore drug addicts who had undergone rehabilitation process, Simpang Renggam definitely will bring back fond memories.
Many will recall spending their “cold turkey” days at the Simpang Renggam Behavioural Rehabilitation Centre, which is the largest drug rehabilitation centre in Malaysia.
The centre is located along Jalan Renggam, a popular bypass going to Kluang town, opposite the 5th Battalion Royal Malaysia Police General Operation Force.
The old main trunk road in Simpang Renggam used to take the traffic going to through Johor before the opening of the North-South Expressway (NSE) in 1994.
The Simpang Renggam town is easily accessible from the Machap and the Simpang Renggam exits along the NSE as well as via the connecting roads from Ayer Hitam, Kluang and Benut.
Good accessibility aside, bad road condition is one of the problems bogging some villages in and around the Simpang Renggam area such as at Kampung Lapis Hassan.
Cookies making factory worker Samini Omar, 51, said the road upgrading work at the village was best described as “half-baked” as only half the work was done.
“The village road was laid with gravel quite sometime ago but till now the asphalt or bitumen has yet to be laid resulting in uneven road surfaces,” she said.
Samini said the uneven road surfaces have caused inconveniences to motorcyclists and children cycling to schools especially on rainy days.
She also wanted more street lights installed at traditional villages as the dark surroundings were not safe especially for women factory workers who leave their houses to work in the night shift.
Samini said the Government should open 1Malaysia shops and clinics in Simpang Renggam for the benefit of low income wage earners.
Samini’s workmate Suzainah Samad, 50, from Kampung Parit Salman is more worried of not getting her land title which she has been waiting for over 20 years.
She claimed that about 100 families from the village had submitted their applications for the land title to the Kluang district land office but did not know what happen to them.
“Every time we enquire, an officer tells us that our applications have been forwarded to the Johor Baru land office but until now there is no news,” said Suzainah.
She also hoped that more small and medium enterprises (SMEs) would consider setting up operations in Simpang Renggam to create more job opportunities for locals.
Suzainah said Simpang Renggam also needed a public library as locals especially children now have to travel to Kluang library which is about 40km to borrow books.
Photoshop-cum-mobile phone shop assistant Nick Lee, 23, said he was happy living here due to the less stressful environment unlike living in big cities such as Johor Baru or Kuala Lumpur.
He said the presence of foreign workers from Bangladesh, Indonesia, Nepal and Vietnam was good for businesses as they normally patronise mobile phone and sundry shops in the town area.
Separately, Lee said it was timely for Simpang Renggam town to have its own Fire and Rescue station as it is now depending on the fire engines from the Renggam station, about 15km away from the town.
Electrical shop proprietor Ee Ai Lian, 52, from Taman Renggam Jaya wanted the local authority to improve road maintenance in housing estates especially those with potholes.
Apart from potholes, she said criminals now strike even during broad daylight especially targeting housewives while sending or
fetching their children from school.
Ee hoped the state government would allocate financial assistance for the building of the new Presbyterian Gloria Church at Jalan Johor-Jalan Simpang Renggam.
“We are grateful to the state government for giving us the 0.40ha state-owned land for the church and we still need between RM800,000 to RM1mil for the project,” she said.
Ee said the existing church at Taman Usaha Jaya has been around for 28 years was no longer suitable due to its location in a housing estate.
Lorry driver Subramaniam Arumugam, 35, from the Taman Perumahan Awam Rakyat Renggam said there were not many job opportunities in and around Renggam area.
He said many of Renggam
residents either have to go to
work in Kluang or Simpang Renggam as Reggam town with 4,000 population is considered a cowboy town.
“Renggam town used to be a vibrant place but now Simpang Renggam town has taken over as there are more economic activities there,” said Subramaniam who works in Kluang.
He said the state government should encourage the SMEs to set up operations and developers to build more houses in Renggam which would create economic spill-over to the area.
To supplement the family’s income, Subramaniam’s wife Rajini Rajendran, 32, is running a stall in front of a Hindu temple selling South Indian savoury snacks such as vadai, magelek and samosa.
She said income from selling the snacks was okay and the stall depended on temple worshippers as well as motorists using Renggam road to go to Kluang.
“Although Renggam is a small town, cases of house breaks-in and motorcycle thefts are quite common here as many drug addicts from outside like to come here due to the laidback environment,” said Rajini.
The Simpang Renggam constituency is made up of two state seats – Machap and Layang-Layang with 40,217 voters in the constituency.
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