SEREMBAN, once known as a town for retirees, badly needs an upgrade in order to move towards attaining city status under new Negri Sembilan Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Aminuddin Harun.
Aminuddin reportedly said Seremban would be declared a city in 2020.
However, there are a number of shortcomings the state government needs to address, namely the lack of infrastructure and public amenities there.
This includes matters related to housing, public transportation, garbage collection and inter-town connectivity with outer-ring roads to ease the traffic congestion along Jalan Rasah and Seremban Town during rush hour.
There is also an urgent need for more parking spaces and improved road network in Seremban town and along Jalan Rasah, as well as at Tuanku Jaafar Hospital where finding a parking bay is almost impossible.
A Seremban resident for the past 60 years, I have noticed there are abandoned buildings and dwellings that need to be restored.
All the infrastructure and public facilities must be in place before Seremban’s city status is officially approved.
While reconstruction is ongoing for the Seremban central market, which was engulfed in a fire two years ago, attention should also be given to the Seremban Terminal 1 bus station as it needs a facelift to turn it into a transportation hub.
Transport Minister Anthony Loke, who is Seremban MP, and the Mentri Besar must review the Seremban Development Master Plan with greater emphasis placed on upgrading the run-down Seremban Railway Station, which was built during the colonial era. It needs to be turned into a transport hub with an integrated development and office blocks.
Currently, an eight-block apartment building is nearing completion in Bukit Tembok. There will be at least 2,000 new dwellers with a further increase of at least 4,000 cars.
The Seremban Transportation Master Plan, which includes plans for a Middle Ring Road and feeder road, must not be delayed to solve the anticipated traffic woes.
There is no doubt the state government has moved some development initiatives to Labu Sendayan and Nilai, and built residential housing at Seremban 2 and Seremban 3 to ensure development is not centred in the town proper but more needs to be done.
There is no perfect city but a good city with decent access is vital for Seremban residents. It means access to facilities, opportunities, recreation, art and culture.
Seremban residents are looking forward to shedding the sleepy town tag, and embracing a city that is a vibrant, fast-moving shopping heaven and a gourmet’s paradise for out-of-town people.
C. SATHASIVAM SITHERAVELLU
Seremban, Negri Sembilan