Apathy hampers dialogue

ONLY 12 residents turned up at the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) budget dialogue organised by Bukit Gasing assemblyman Rajiv Rishyakaran.

This was despite the banners hung around the Bukit Gasing constituency informing residents of the session at PJ Live Arts.

Besides residents, those who came to the session were Petaling Jaya-based NGO representatives, as well as the media and local councillors Ang Ming Ern and Sean Oon.

Section 8 resident T.C. Ang, who attended with his wife, said he was happy to have a chance to participate.

“It was supposed to be about giving residents and people who are living here a chance to be part of determining their own solutions,” said Ang, who had asked for better security measures in the city.

Meanwhile, SS2 resident Fong Peng Lim said it was time the public took an interest in the council’s budgeting process.

“Even though I am from a different area, this still affects our lives in the city, which is why I came to listen,” said Fong.

Rajiv started by giving an overview of the state’s 2015 Budget, both inflow, outflow and MBPJ’s expenditure.

It was revealed that the council’s engineering works, which included road and drainage repairs, topped spending at almost RM112mil, 30% of the Budget.

Residents came up with 13 suggested focus areas for the 2016 council Budget and were asked to vote on the most important in terms of priority.

The top-voted suggestion was more funds for road maintenance and repairs.

Another area that got a lot of votes was increased effectiveness, transparency and accountability of council enforcement with independent monitoring, which had been suggested by Friends of Kota Damansara chairman Jeffrey Phang.

Rajiv said he would forward the suggestions, in their order of popularity, to the council, as well as the mayor and Mentri Besar for consideration.

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