ONE of the biggest challenges Shah Alam City Council (MBSA) had to face this year was dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic while also trying to carry out its planned activities.
While many events had to be cancelled, including its 20th anniversary celebration, others still went ahead as planned but moved online, like the launch of the Shah Alam Local Draft Plan 2035.
Enforcement officers had their hands full since the movement control order in March, as most were tasked to check on premises, conduct patrols and assist police at roadblocks, while other MBSA employees were busy sanitising public places.Like many other local councils, MBSA’s Budget 2020 projections were way off due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Since the MCO, MBSA saw a drop of about 25% in revenue compared to last year’s figures.
The reduction was caused by several factors including unpaid assessment fees and also the waiver of the RM20 late fee charges by the state government.
After having to forego the late fee collection, MBSA lost RM1.5mil.
Among other fees which could not be collected were rental and parking as well as compounds.
The city council also had to refund Ramadan Bazaar traders after the events were cancelled due to MCO being imposed to control the spread of Covid-19.
All 24 departments in MBSA also saw an expenditure reduction of up to 24%.
In June, MBSA formed the Revenue Collection Task Force to find ways to collect money owed to the council and also generate new income.
MBSA’s 2021 budget is RM526,887,600 with an estimated revenue of only RM498,820,920.
The deficit of RM28,066,680 is expected to be covered by existing reserves.
MBSA also saw its Enforcement Department officers and a driver brought in for questioning by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission in August over alleged bribery.
One department director was also brought in for questioning over alleged claims that enforcement officers were on the take from illegal businesses operating in Sungai Buloh.
All of them have been taken off their regular duties pending investigations but are still employed by MBSA.The arrests came after two videos about illegal roadside stalls in Bandar Baru Sungai Buloh went viral in early August.
The videos, posted by Hot Burger Malaysia, alleged that selective enforcement by MBSA.
However, the city council said the seized stalls had previously been given warnings and most were found to have flouted MCO rules.
Officers had also conducted a joint operation on the premises which were selling illegal cigarettes and would be working with police to take action against gambling dens.
On a separate matter, stakeholders expressed unhappiness over certain aspects of the Shah Alam Local Draft Plan 2035.
One involved a 1km road which would cut through the Shah Alam Community Forest while the other was a proposed residential development to be built on an existing golf course in Section U9.
Both proposals received numerous objections from stakeholders.
The proposed residential development saw more than 500 objections while the road project was opposed by 200.
Concerns were also expressed over several transport projects that would cut across a few green lungs in Shah Alam.
There were concerns that these developments, including a highway project and two rail lines, would fragmentise forests hence hindering wildlife movement.
The projects include the proposed alignment for the Duta-Ulu Kelang Expressway 2A highway, LRT 2 Circle Line, MRT extension as well as a road project that will connect Setia Alam to Section U10, Shah Alam.