WHEN it was announced at the recent full board meeting that Kuala Langat will become a municipality on March 1, all those in the meeting room clapped.
With the upgrade to municipal status, ratepayers can look forward to changes as outlined in the council’s local draft plan.
From this year until 2025, one of the plans for economic growth will be to leverage on Kuala Langat as a tourist draw.
Istana Bandar, a palace built by Sultan Alaeddin Sulaiman Shah in 1899 and the Insitu Museum in Jugra have already received national heritage status in 2002.
The projected target for this sector is 600,000 tourists by 2025.
A semi-pedestrian street and an artists’ lane has also been planned for Banting.
To strengthen food security, the new municipality has earmarked Batu Laut for agriculture and livestock farming development.
These activities will take place in an area covering 200ha and has been projected to produce 6,000 metric tonnes of agro food produce and 150 agricultural and livestock entrepreneurs.
To cater to the growing population, plans are afoot to build three more primary and four secondary schools for Kuala Langat.
At present, there are 54 primary and 14 secondary national type schools here.
The draft plan also mentions the addition of four more health clinics, four police stations and a fire and rescue station.
Currently there are two fire stations in Kuala Langat. One is in Banting, another in Teluk Panglima Garang.
The MEX2 Highway and a new community township, Kota Seri Langat, a project by PNB Development is mentioned in the local draft plan.
Located near the Mahkota Industrial Park, it will have bicycle lanes and fronts the Jalan Klang Banting.
As of April 2019, physical progress of the MEX2 is reported at 82.3%.
By 2025, the council is expected to extend its service area by an additional 40%.
Sharing in the joy of the upgrade to Kuala Langat Municipal Council (MPKL) was councillor Mat Irwan Ismail, who expressed relief that the long wait for municipality status was over.
The Kuala Langat District Council (MDKL) applied to be made a municipality in 2007.
This was done just a year after the state government declared that Kuala Langat would be part of the Klang Valley 2 development plan along with then underdeveloped areas such as Banting, Dengkil and Sepang.
Development for this project started in Kuala Langat itself with a 12km-long man-made beach in Morib.
However, the council’s application was rejected as its population growth was still below 150,000 and yearly revenue was not more than RM20mil which are conditions set by the Housing and Local Government Ministry to become a municipal council.
A second application was made to the Selangor Planning Unit (UPEN) in 2015 because as of 2014, the district’s population had already reached 220,214 and the council’s revenue was RM88.515mil. However, there was no reply.
In 2018, the council submitted its papers for the third time and the approval from the government came last month.
Ratepayers in Kuala Langat hope that with the upgrade to a municipality, they can expect better service from the council.
One pertinent complaint is the condition of the Jalan Klang Banting road, a main thoroughfare which stretches from Tanjung Sepat, Selangor to Ipoh, Perak.
Former national bowler Kenny Ang, who was born in Jenjarom, said the road was bumpy and full of potholes.
Ang, who is also president of the Selangor Ang Clan Association and Persatuan Kebudayaan Jenjarom, also pointed out that the street lights along this road were constantly out of order, posing danger to motorists.
“Now that we are a municipality, the status upgrade must not just be in name but be visible in terms of public facilities and infrastructure, ” said Ang.
Jalan Banting Dengkil, used by motorists as a shortcut from Sungai Manggis to Kuala Lumpur International Airport, also has the same problem.
JKR Kuala Langat district engineer Rizalman Darus said theft and vandalism are reasons why the streetlights on these two roads are not working.
He added parts like cables, timers and controllers at feeder pillars were sometimes stolen just days after being replaced.
On the bumpy road conditions, he explained that these roads constructed in the 1950s were built on peat soil and thus have an undulating feature.
Some parts will be patchy and this cannot be helped due to increased traffic particularly along the Banting to Bangi stretch.
However, he said, motorists should have a better drive in Sijangkang, Teluk Datuk and Tanjung Sepat where road resurfacing works were carried out last year.
Rizalman assured that JKR would continue to seek funding from the ministry for continuous improvements to the two federal routes.
Apart from those two roads, Kuala Langat has good road connections.
The West Coast Expressway (WCE) connects Bandar Mahkota in Banting to Taiping, Perak; South Klang Valley Expressway (SKVE) connects Banting to Gelang Patah, Johor; and Elite Highway links Bandar Saujana Putra in Tanjung Dua Belas to Nilai, Negri Sembilan.
Kuala Langat Chinese Traders Association president Tan Lai Son said as they were anticipating a rise in assessment rates next year, ratepayers expected better service from the municipality, especially rubbish disposal and drain cleaning.
“The upgrade should mean a better living environment for all, ” said Tan.
At the recent full board meeting, MPKL president Mohammad Zain A. Hamid said the council allocated RM2.5mil for upgrades and maintenance for public areas and recreational facilities in Teluk Panglima Garang, Jenjarom and Banting.
He also said the council was checking sea pollution and fecal stench caused by animal farms in the Ladang Tumbok area.
Mohammad Zain said he was informed by the District Land Office that a 364.2 ha of agricultural land in Batu Laut had been identified as a prospective site, although the relocation exercise would take time.
Kuala Langat is an education hub with the presence of the Industrial Training Institute, Selangor Matriculation College, Banting Polytechnic, MARA College, Sime Darby Research Centre and four international schools namely MAHSA, Tenby, Oasis and Victoria.
Zuraidah Soho and Roslan Serau hope the authorities in their programmes will not neglect people like their son, Hamka, 14, who has Down syndrome.
The couple feel that there should be more public early intervention and vocational training programmes for special children, namely in the areas of speech therapy, occupational therapy and communication skills.
At present, an online search revealed eight primary and four secondary schools offering classes to special needs children in Kuala Langat.
Kuala Langat Welfare Department’s Children’s Department community development assistant officer Norliana Ahmad Zaini said four community rehabilitation centres in Teluk Panglima Garang, Teluk Datuk, Bukit Changgang and Tanjung Sepat were offering services such as physiotherapy and fine motor skills training from 8am to noon daily.
Norliana added that of the 3,000 registered disabled persons here, a majority were in the primary school age group.