KUALA Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan are on the right track to becoming cleaner and more liveable cities, provided that the people practise tolerance and have civic consciousness, Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor said.
He added that the necessary infrastructure and planning in all three Federal Territories (FT) was under way but needed time for it to take effect.
“I’ve done many walkabouts and met the people and we are aware of the problems they face, including the high cost of living and shortage of housing.
“Many people come to the Federal Territories with dreams to make it big but the reality may be otherwise.
“It is a competitive market and many are forced to fight their way up in every aspect.
“Many who came here to escape rural poverty end up being trapped in urban poverty. Trying to make a living becomes increasingly difficult and the people are stressed all the time,” he said.
Tengku Adnan said to tackle the housing issue, they had planned 80,000 units of houses under the FT Affordable Housing Policy (Rumawip) in the Federal Territories.
“We planned for 50,000 houses in Kuala Lumpur, 20,000 houses in Putrajaya and 10,000 houses in Labuan, which will hopefully realise the dream of young adults to own a property in the FT,” he said.
On the Rumawip website, it was stated that two of the 10 projects slated for Kuala Lumpur are already under construction — the Setapak Jaya Baru project Parc Tower and Residensi Pandanmas in Kampung Pandan — while the rest and one other project in Labuan are soon to be launched.
Tengku Adnan also said the recent initiative of having townhall meetings had been fruitful in gathering information about the problems residents faced.
“The two sessions so far, with the people from Bandar Tun Razak and Setiawangsa, have been encouraging. Many highlighted their problems and also suggested possible solutions as well as providing other suggestions. We expect to complete meetings in all 13 FT parliamentary constituencies by the end of March, after which we would focus on finding solutions.
“There were a lot of complaints on poor services from Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) and the first step taken was the restructuring of DBKL management from the top to the bottom. Putrajaya Corporation and Labuan Corporation will soon follow,” he said.
Commenting on the neverending congestion that plagues the roads in Kuala Lumpur, Tengku Adnan asked for more time to ease the situation.
“On top of the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) and Light Rapid Transit (LRT) extensions, we have plans to introduce trams in our central business district and bus services in suburban areas to improve the connectivity of all modes of public transportation.
He said the MRT line 2 would be extended to Putrajaya for the benefit of the 80,000 people living there.
“I am in discussions with the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) to build a station in Putrajaya Central where the Express Rail Link (ERL) and Bus Hub is located,” he said.
Tengku Adnan is also hoping that the Malaysia-Singapore high-speed rail link project which has a stop in Putrajaya and link up to the Sungai Besi Air Base will start soon.
“Over in Labuan, we are building a 1.2km shortcut from Labuan Airport to Ranca-Ranca industrial centre to reduce the congestion in the city,” he said, adding that a fire station was being built there to cater to the oil and gas companies there.
“The water and electricity supply will also be upgraded for the benefit of the companies,” he said.
On the issue of hawker centres being dominated by foreign nationals, Tengku Adnan said they had pooled the resources of various agencies to conduct raids at least three times in two weeks at hotspots.
“If the licence holders are not present during all three raids, their licences will be revoked.
“This month alone we have pulled back 34 licences,” he said, adding that they have also closed 979 restaurants in all federal territories because of various offences related to hygiene.
Another issue that Tengku Adnan is highly concerned about is the racial tolerance among the people.
“The trend of youngsters hanging out in groups of their own race is a cause for concern and I believe the parents are the catalyst. Racial extremism was not an issue 40 years ago.
“The Malays are increasingly sensitive to a temple being built in a Putrajaya, a Malay—prominent area, not realising they are denying the rights of the 700 Indians living there.
“That is why we have made it compulsory for all new housing development to have a non-Muslim prayer room.
“To break this attitude, we have made it a point to celebrate not only Hari Raya, but also Chinese New Year, Deepavali and Christmas on a grand scale to promote racial understanding.
“Last Christmas, there was a Christmas tree outside Menara DBKL. Some were unhappy with this but we still went ahead with the idea.
“Although the celebration was toned down due to the floods, we had 2,000 people attending, out of which 500 were the homeless. Everyone went back home with presents.
“We cannot accept extremism. Malaysians need to sit back and think, instead of just being noisemakers. Only then can we have a city we can be proud of, not only for its infrastructure but also for its people and their lifestyle,” Tengku Adnan said.