PETALING JAYA: The seat might have changed - from the Bukit Nenas seat in the Selangor State Assembly in 1969 to the Kuala Lumpur Bandar/Bukit Bintang parliamentary seat in 1974 - but it was still business as usual for assemblyman-turned-MP Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye in the new Federal Territory.
"All the seats became Parliamentary seats, but there weren’t too many changes on the ground as I was handling the same matters as I did as the Bukit Nenas assemblyman," said Lee.
Speaking on the 40th anniversary of the creation of the Federal Territories, Lee said he had to grapple with issues of squatters and illegal hawkers as a MP in 1974.
"I started my political career in 1969 as the Bukit Nenas state assemblyman. I am happy that I managed to resolve a lot of squatter and hawker problems during my years as a MP, as these issues were bugging me at the time.
"There were so many squatters in KL in those days, and I had to deal with squatter evictions to make way for roads, housing and other development," said Lee.
Lee added that he had to handle negotiations between squatters, landowners and developers to ensure everyone got a fair settlement, and that he helped unlicensed hawkers get licences so they could earn a living legally.
Asked how things have changed in the capital city over the last 40 years, Lee said the crime rate had increased since his time as a MP.
"KL is a more complex city now. The population has increased with more going on in terms of entertainment outlets, commercial activities and buildings.
"When a city grows and expands, more come to the city looking for jobs and employment and more immigrants - all of these are factors," said Lee.
He said that in the past, crimes were not as complex, adding that such changes were the price one has to pay for development.
He pointed out there had been increases in snatch thefts, home break-ins and drug-related problems.
He added that he believed the police were handling the situation as well as they could.
"I believe the KL police are aware of it and are managing the situation to the best of their ability. Now, I think they have more equipment, manpower and equipment to handle crime.
"But the quality of service has to be improved. While they are giving their best, they can still improve to make Kuala Lumpur a safe city - and the public can do their part to help the police as well," he said.
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