MANAGING a city is no easy feat and city administrators rely on public input to better understand the views and expectations of its residents.
Spanning over 243sq km and with a population of 1.8 million, Kuala Lumpur is a rapidly growing metropolis in South-East Asia.
Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) is aware that concerted effort of stakeholders is needed to make the city liveable, harmonious and sustainable in meeting residents’ expectations.
To do this, DBKL is seeking public input to draft its budget for 2020.
Among the criteria the local authority is looking into are cleanliness, infrastructure, recreational facilities, housing maintenance, community well-being and petty traders management as well as culture, sports and tourism.
Kuala Lumpur mayor Datuk Nor Hisham Ahmad Dahlan (pic right) said the move was in line with the government’s approach of engaging ratepayers.
“Kuala Lumpur folk are educated and know their rights. They know what they want.
“Let this be a platform for them to speak up and provide input so we can do better, ” he said.
StarMetro spoke to a few residents on issues they hope DBKL will look into in the upcoming budget.
While construction of new developments are inevitable, comprehensive studies on their impact on existing infrastructure must not be neglected.
Kepong Community Service Centre head Yee Poh Ping said DBKL should hire experts to ensure a comprehensive impact study was done before approving any project.
“The approval process for new developments should take into account the ability of existing roads to accommodate traffic growth due to increase in the number of residents and vehicles in a particular area.
Pointing to the 2km stretch of Jalan Kepong, which are dotted with commercial and residential areas, Yee said the rise of new developments contributed to the area’s traffic volume.
“Do not just rely on the developers’ reports. Come and assess the area proposed for development to have a holistic grasp of the situation, ” he said.
Bangsar Baru Residents Association secretary Prem Kumar Nair said DBKL should penalise motorists who park irresponsibly.
He said lax enforcement by DBKL led to the problem to fester.
“They are not afraid to park their cars haphazardly because they know there will be no consequence.
“More enforcement personnel should be sent to high-density areas to monitor the parking problem, and issue fines to errant drivers, ” he said.
It was reported on Aug 6 that there are 1,931 DBKL enforcement officers.
A majority of city folk want better enforcement against illegal roadside traders.
Yee also suggested for DBKL to emulate Shah Alam City Council which has a strict policy against roadside stalls, urging it to build more food courts and designate proper trading sites for hawkers.
“Issuing compounds is insufficient to address the problem.
“DBKL must set a definite time frame for them to relocate to the new location, ” he said, adding that cleanliness standards would deteriorate if roadside stalls were not reined in.
Hawkers and Petty Traders Association president Datuk Rosli Sulaiman agreed that more food courts should be built.
“I also hope DBKL can provide financial assistance to hawkers to purchase bioplastics. These are more expensive than conventional plastics, ” he said.
Nair said the mushrooming of illegal stalls in Bangsar gave rise to the perception that DBKL was not doing enough to curb the problem.
He added that roadside stalls also contributed to traffic congestion because customers parked illegally along roads to get to the stalls.
Taman Seputeh Residents Association chairman Dr Balaeswaran Poobalasingam said hawkers should vacate the lot after trading hours and allow Alam Flora Sdn Bhd to do cleaning, and the cost should be borne by DBKL.
In 2018, the percentage of elderly citizens above 65 years old increased from 6.3% to 6.5% in 2017, according to the Malaysia Statistics Department.
TTDI Residents Association chairman Hafiz Abu Bakar said it was important to cater to the growing population of senior citizens in Kuala Lumpur.
“DBKL must build more community centres where activities and programmes for the elderly can be held, provide platforms for them to mingle with the local community and foster closer community relations, ” he said, adding that more bicycle lanes and walkways should be built to encourage healthy activities such as walking and cycling.Yee concurred, adding that more recreational parks were needed.
“Focus on physical development with little regard for greenery and parks encourage people to adopt a sedentary lifestyle which is unhealthy, ” he said, adding that there was a need for more green lung in Kuala Lumpur.
Hidden corners and poorly lit areas were a safety concern at night, said Hafiz.
“Such areas must be identified. DBKL should fix street lights and these must be properly maintained, ” he said.
Nair suggested that DBKL instal CCTVs in neighbourhoods as a safety measure to prevent crimes.
“The police force is stretched thin and unable to monitor all areas. With CCTVs, we can lighten their burden and reduce the demand for constant patrol, ” he said.
PPR Seri Aman Residents Association chairman Mohamed Nawaz Koya, however, said residents should also play a role in maintaining neighbourhood facilities.
“Residents vandalised the lights in the multistorey parking lot in our area, causing many areas to be poorly lit. I constantly raise the matter via the residents’ WhatsApp group, ” he said, urging DBKL to help address the problem.
The presence of abandoned vehicles in the area, he said was another matter that needed to be dealt with.
“I urge DBKL to identify the owners and take action against them. If all else fails, tow the car away.”
In a Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID) report in 2018, while 29.7% flood incidents took place in the Klang Valley in the preceding year, only 1.5% of the number were in Kuala Lumpur. The rest of the flooding occurrences were in Selangor.
This figure however, did little to allay concerns.
Mohamed Nawaz said DBKL had to do more to mitigate flooding in the city.
“DBKL must inspect existing irrigation and infrastructure to ensure they are in proper working condition.
“In Kuala Lumpur, if it rains for more than an hour, then the water level starts to rise and this results in mayhem especially for motorists stuck in traffic.
The public are invited to provide their input via https://sites.google.com/view/ideabajet/utama before Aug 31.
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