Constructive ideas for a better Kuala Lumpur

DBKL says most of the feedback received involved improvements to public facilities and infrastructure. — Filepic

PRESERVING traditional Malay villages, housing poor residents in the city’s older flats and converting leasehold land to freehold are just some of the suggestions that Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) has received for its upcoming 2024 budget.

In March, the local authority had invited residents and other stakeholders to give ideas and suggestions on what they would like to see incorporated into the city’s budget.

From April 1 to May 31, residents were invited to submit their feedback in eight categories through a link online.

Most of the feedback received was on the need to house poor residents living in the city’s commercial areas, in units closer to their workplace as well as schools.

“Instead of housing foreign workers in low-cost flats near schools, transportation hubs and commercial areas, DBKL should lease such units to the urban poor,” said Taman Seputeh resident Cynthia Hor, who was one of the stakeholders who provided their feedback online.

“The current model for people’s housing projects (PPR) is no longer conducive for extended B40 families.

“It removes residents from their local communities and makes it difficult for their children to go to schools nearby,” she said, refering to the fact that new low-cost housing projects were situated further from the city centre.

“I feel that all these old flats that are being used as hostels by foreign workers should house poor Malaysians instead,” she added.

Hor cited Brickfields as an example where low-cost flats located near schools and the KL Sentral transportation hub were not accessible to locals who work in the area, due to the high rental there.

“Instead, these flats are occupied by foreign workers and some have up to 15 people staying in each unit,” she noted.

She said the situation resulted in locals being displaced as they were unable to afford the high rent.

“The ideal social housing model which should be introduced here is for the government to lease old flats from owners and rent the units out to qualified tenants,” she highlighted.

Hor added that subsidising the cost with clear entry and exit criteria was far more sustainable.

A Kuala Lumpur resident staying in Jalan Imbi, Jane Rai said leasing those units to Malaysians working in the area would also help ensure that the sites did not turn into slums.

“The conditions at many old flats and shophouses in the inner city are quite squalid,” she said.

A request for DBKL to preserve traditional Malay villages in Kuala Lumpur was also submitted.

“We have 24 traditional Malay villages in Kuala Lumpur and many of the properties are on leasehold land,” said Kampung Malaysia Raya resident Mohd Zainuddin Amran.

“I think it is time for the government to convert the leasehold land to freehold.

“In fact, we have submitted our feedback at the draft Kuala Lumpur Structural Plan 2040 hearing,” he said.

Mohd Zainuddin said converting the land would benefit owners.

“We also want DBKL to invest in traditional Malay villages by upgrading the infrastructure there.

“As new development projects come up, the infrastructure in surrounding areas must likewise be upgraded,” he stressed.

In a statement to StarMetro, DBKL said it had received 446 suggestions from 169 respondents.

“The feedback was on a variety of subjects, ranging from health and cleanliness to infrastructure upgrades, traffic, drainage and housing.

“Generally, people want to see improvements in public facilities like parks, drainage system and sports facilities,” said DBKL.

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