KLANG Municipal Council (MPK) president Datuk Mohamad Yasid Bidin has been given a second term. His extended tenure is set to run until November 2019.
He has received this nod of approval thanks to his success in creating a cleaner town, encouraging new developments, pushing for flood mitigation projects and better public facilities for the municipality’s population of 750,000.
Known for his disciplinarian nature, Mohamad Yasid’s first term saw him shake up certain departments, lead new working policies, reshuffle department heads and introduce optional retirement for non-performing staff.
Mohamad Yasid speaking to a ratepayer to get feedback on council services. — ROHAIZAT MD DARUS/STAR
His strict measures had clipped the wings of corruption and even contractors who slacked were fined, thus giving the boot to the kau tim (settle) culture. All these were in line with his promise to clean house.
Progress is visible in many areas, in terms of physical development and special initiatives to make Klang town more liveable and attractive to others who want to make it their home.
All the programmes implemented by MPK have helped enhance the standard of living for the townsfolk and increase their property value at the same time.
Among the new private developments in the pipeline are Gravit8, a mixed development worth over RM1.3bil in Kota Bayuemas, a highrise mixed development known as the Trio along Jalan Langat in Bukit Tinggi and the five-star Acmar Hotel and Residence at Bandar Baru Klang.
Mohamad Yasid said the council was steadfast in creating a more sustainable town and this required a willingness from the people, including council employees, to change.
He told StarMetro that improving the local economic engine with small businesses, hastening flood mitigation projects and steering local councillors to be more vigilant and responsive to situations in neighbourhoods are top priorities for his second term.
On MPK’s Budget 2018, the council president said he had presented his budget proposal to the state.
He disclosed that the RM230mil expenditure plan would address many of the town’s needs.
A birds eye view of Klangs Jalan Besar.
He also assured ratepayers there were no plans to raise assessment fees for now and the council would instead use revenue collected from licensing and development projects to provide public services and facilities.
The proposed 2018 budget will see a deficit of an estimated RM17mil where expenditure is expected to be at RM248mil. For Budget 2017, MPK had allocated RM221mil where expenses hit RM232mil.
Mohamad Yasid said the municipality had an estimated financial reserve of RM120mil.
“We are in challenging economic times, raising assessment rates will make matters worse for the people, especially in view of the rising cost of living now.
“Our plan is to jumpstart ideas for small enterprises, where we provide trading space to encourage local Klang youths to go into the food truck business at Padang Chetty,” he said.
Klang folk will also see a lot more mixed developments in town.
“Foreigners investors and locals alike are snapping up highrise and sea-frontage residential properties. It augurs well for Klang,” said Mohamad Yasid.
He said Klang, known for its tourist spots, required a budget based on prudent financial planning.
“We want to address public demand for better roads and sidewalks, so this means we need to repair potholes and uneven roads.
“Maintenance of roads are key issues based on the feedback I have received.
“Our proposed allocation is RM2mil at department level to support the cost of road maintenance. For road upgrading, MPK will allocate RM450,000 under Developmental Projects,” he elaborated.
He said the council would also use allocation from the Malaysian Road Records Information System (MARRIS) fund from Federal Government.
Klang Convent School is one of Klangs tourism attraction.
“The common public complaints are about potholes and deterioration of the roads after heavy rain.
“Our streetlights’ wiring box is also being vandalised, thus causing blackouts at certain main arterial roads such as Jalan Langat. We need to find a solution to this nagging problem,” he added.
Datuk Mohamad Yasid Bidin sits down with StarMetro to share his plans to take the royal town to the next level. Here is an excerpt of the interview.
StarMetro: Can you tell us your experience in the hot seat as council president?
It was difficult in the first few months as the town’s biggest problem was cleanliness and illegal dumping.
Financial resources were at hand but it was not going to make a difference if people were not committed to resolve the matter.
I had to acknowledge the creative ideas of certain staff. I listened and they offered fresh solutions.
We removed 154,296.25 tonnes of garbage, the filled the areas with top soil and planted 166 Eugenia trees. No one dumps in those areas now.
The council seizes the vehicles of those caught dumping illegally. Some 114 vehicles were seized and legal action had been filed.
Another important aspect is open communication. It will take time, but being transparent, executing the right action and building trust with the people can overcome a lot of neighbourhood situations. Upon getting a complaint, I channel it to the relevant head of department and get them to brief me on the progress.
All the heads of departments are helpful and I do not mind differences of opinion. In fact, I expect it. I do not mind if arguments are raised on policies and for the betterment of the people.
What do you expect from the councillors?
Councillors must listen to people’s views and see how best a neighbourhood can improve. Most of their time is taken up dealing with complaints or enquiries.
They need to give clear explanations on council policies and help people to be involved in the decision-making process at the municipal level.
Over the next six months councillors must monitor the flood mitigation project and gather feedback from the people if there are complaints.
Councillors must not wait for people to complain about cleanliness but be proactive, for example, ensure the drains are desilted regularly for smooth flow of water.
Datuk Mohamad Yasid Bidin: To create a sustainable town requires the peoples willingness to change.
Is MPK considering alternative revenues so that it does not have to raise assessment rates?
Our aim is to not raise assessment rates. Instead, we will rely more on revenue from billboards, business licences, rental, development fees, advertisements, compounds and planning fees to administer the municipality.
We are also thinking of a digital platform that can earn an income.
With new development, it will spur economic growth and provide jobs. We are looking towards urban regeneration of old commercial areas in Port Klang.
At times people object but it must be discussed in a transparent manner where it allows the area to be revitalised for the future, with benefits for the communities living in the immediate environment.
What does MPK plan to do for tourism in Klang?
We see continued increase in local and foreign visitor numbers. Until September, Klang had an estimated seven million tourists.
Klang has so much potential for sustainable tourism growth. Tourism in Klang can evolve into a key economic driver for the local people and its economy.
What is your vision for Klang in 2018?
Improve the workings in the council and be financially accountable.
Accelerate and expand vibrant economic opportunities. Ensure a sustainable and improved quality of life in terms of a better environment and a low carbon footprint.
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