MOVING towards a green lifestyle is the aim for cities in the Federal Territories.
The ban on the use of plastic straws which starts today is the first step to meeting the green objective.
The Federal Territories Ministry has taken the bold step to kick off the initiative in Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan, joining many cities in the US, Scotland, England, Aruba and Taiwan which have taken similar steps.
The ban on plastic straws is a follow-up action from the ban on single-use plastic bag in 2017 that was enforced in September last year.
Although the plastic straw ban is a condition in the business licence, the ministry has given until Jan 1 next year before enforcement kicks in, so that traders can adapt to the new practice.
The ministry, however, has advised traders to only offer plastic straws upon request and not make them readily available to the public.
The sick, disabled and elderly are not affected by the new policy.
Yayasan Wilayah Persekutuan, the welfare arm of the ministry that has taken the responsibility to stabilise the market for 100% biodegradable products, and is storing up on paper straws for sale.
There are also reusable stainless steel, bamboo and glass straws, as well as single-use biodegradable straws, in the market.
Things are also looking bright for city dwellers in terms of transportation.
Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) has taken over the operations of GoKL buses from the Transport Ministry.
DBKL has budgeted an allocation of RM20mil for the purpose.
The free bus service which was started in 2012, has 40 buses running on four different routes, covering many areas in the central business district, passing through Jalan Bukit Bintang, Jalan Tun Razak, Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock, Jalan Ampang, Jalan Raja Chulan and Jalan Raja Laut, among others.
Federal Territories Minister Khalid Abdul Samad announced the possibility of adding new routes to increase accessibility especially for the B40 group (the bottom 40% of households with monthly income of RM3,900 and below) living in People Housing Schemes (PPR) like PPR Sri Pantai as well as government complexes such as Mindef and transportation hubs like Tun Razak Terminal.
The ministry is targeting for at least 100,000 commuters on GoKL buses in a day, compared to 60,000 commuters now, by the end of the year.
The 30-day unlimited Rapid bus and rail pass for Malaysians only, as announced by Transport Minister Anthony Loke will benefit residents and workers in Kuala Lumpur, as a wide network of rail and bus services pass through the city.
The Rapid pass which comes into force today will also complement the free bus service.
The pass comes in two versions.
The RM50 pass is for Rapid bus only while the RM100 pass can be used on all Rapid services, including LRT, MRT, Monorail, the Sunway BRT service, as well as all MRT feeder buses.
In terms of notable programmes or events lined up for the year, Kuala Lumpur will be the human resources development and urban sustainability training hub for Citynet members – a regional network of local authorities for the management of human settlements, in the Asia Pacific.
A series of international events will take place in collaboration with Seoul Human Resource Development Centre and Citynet secretariat.
In Putrajaya, two events are listed for a comeback. After a one-year hiatus, the Putrajaya Hot Air Balloon Fiesta will be back for its 10th edition from March 28 to March 30.
The Putrajaya International Islamic Art and Culture Festival, which was last held in 2016, will also return this year from July 25 to July 28.