The Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ) has set its sights on attaining city status.
The council’s recent five-star rating from the Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Ministy (KPKT) was just the boost needed to finally apply to be declared a city, said MPSJ president Datuk Asmawi Kasbi.
“We have already met all the requirements in terms of service and development, now it is just the case of applying formally to the ministry.
“We are now going through an internal vetting process and plan to send our application within the year,” said Asmawi.
The papers will be sent to the State Government Secretary (SUK) and the Public Service Department (JPA).
The five-star rating, given to local authorities with 90 marks and above, was achieved only by MPSJ and the Johor Baru City Council (MBJB).
Currently, Shah Alam and Petaling Jaya are the other two cities in Selangor.
The Subang Jaya municipality has a population of 740,000 and targets revenue of RM250mil this year. A total of 74.6% of this will come from assessment taxes.
Covering 16,180ha, the area under MPSJ’s administration also comprises Bandar Sunway, Putra Heights, Seri Kembangan and parts of Puchong as well as Batu Tiga.
At the heart of the municipality, of course, is the gem known as Subang Jaya.
Achieving a five-star rating is the latest plaudit for the township that was transformed from a rubber plantation and was part of Petaling Jaya.
The first major housing estates of SS12 to SS19 were developed starting in 1974 by Sime UEP, which also was involved in 80% of projects in USJ, Subang Jaya.
In 1997, Subang Jaya was carved out from the then Petaling Jaya District Council and was upgraded to become a municipality.
The municipality today has multiple international colleges and universities, at least two modern medical centres and numerous recreational parks.
Its current rail transport is Komuter, but LRT construction work is going full-swing and will offer another transportation mode to the denizens in the near future.
The social aspect
“Subang Jaya is proud to be home to a wide mix of residents.
“The multi-racial population from various strata of society is the driving force behind MPSJ’s success,” said Asmawi.
He said that in pursuing cityhood, the utmost important set of criteria to satisfy is the Malaysian Urban Rural National Indicators Network on Sustainable Development (MURNInets). (See story on MURNInets)
According to Asmawi, there will be a two-tier effect to attaining city status.
“Other than the prestige of being called a city, it will result in improved council services for those living within the city boundaries,” he said.
It will also result in improvements to the structure of the administration, in terms of strengthening the functions of the local authority as well as career development for staff.
This would create a domino effect through better service delivery and a possible restructuring of departments, added the council president.
“At the moment, we will not be restructuring but we have recently done a reshuffle at the director and deputy director levels to strengthen our delivery system.
“These changes were made for the benefit of the whole organisation, and we want our employees to learn multiple skills,” said Asmawi.
Kelana Jaya MP Wong Chen welcomes MPSJ’s decision to obtain city status.
However, he believes there are several pressing factors that need to be looked into first.
“I think it is fantastic. MPSJ certainly has come a long way but they must stay on their toes in terms of transparency.
“They should also upgrade their services because after all, their main role is to serve the people well,” he said.
Subang Jaya assemblyman Hannah Yeoh said that while city status was a step forward, there was room for improvement in other aspects.
“MPSJ covers such a huge area, which is their biggest problem.
“The boundaries need to be reduced as currently, their power is restricted because of the size of the area
and the relative small number of staff.
“I do commend their efforts, especially the Engineering Department, for consulting and engaging the public more in the past six years,” she added.
SS17 resident Theresa Ratnam Thong said that there were a number of areas in which MPSJ should improve, especially their security and waste management.
She questioned MPSJ’s capacity to administer a city.
“After the state government decided to dispense with the services of Alam Flora, the management of waste has deteriorated.
“Who is monitoring the performance of the contractors appointed, because garbage dumping and pest control have worsened.
“How can attaining city status be justified and at what expense?
“MPSJ needs to take it up a notch as I still have doubts about their ability and performance to administer the municipality,” she said, adding that MPSJ personnel must be more people-focused.
A sustainable city