Turn PJ into an admirable city

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  • Tuesday, 30 Jun 2015

Identify basic problems so that Petaling Jaya can be beautiful, well-planned and effective

IN THE 1950s, booming population growth and squatters on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur became a challenge to the authorities in the 1950s. To overcome the situation, Petaling Jaya was born when the Selangor government identified Effingham Estate, a 490ha rubber plantation in Jalan Kelang Lama, as the site of a new settlement.

Over the years, Petaling Jaya continued to grow in tandem with Kuala Lumpur and on Jan 1, 1977, the Petaling Jaya Town Authority was upgraded to the Petaling Jaya Municipal Council, which in turn eventually became the Petaling Jaya City Council on June 20, 2006.

Petaling Jaya progressed rapidly due to its location in close proximity to Kuala Lumpur and is currently a burgeoning city with fast-changing skylines.

Some developments, such as the recent One-Way Loop did not go down well with residents initially but seem to have been accepted as a solution for the city’s perennial traffic woes.

Her new mayor, Mohd Azizi Mohd Zain, from the Selayang local authority, faces challenges in his position and it will not be a walk in the park.

About 60% of Petaling Jaya’s natural endowments have been traded for bricks and mortar and even trees planted 60 to 70 years ago have not been spared the axe to make way for road expansions or additional walkways.

Mohd Azizi has been in office for three months now and should have settled in nicely, so allow me to share my 11 wishes for the mayor to help turn Petaling Jaya into an admirable city.

1. Please turun padang or come down and see the successes and failures on the ground personally. Make “management by walkabout” the mantra for your management. By meeting and talking to residents associations (RAs), Rukun Tetangga (RT) and ratepayers, you will be able to get your officers to act on the problems much faster and more effectively.

2. Ensure waste management standards are raised and appoint contractors who will genuinely do the work instead of those with “connections”, political or otherwise. Ensure the contact details for these contractors and the waste collection schedules are provided to every household in the city.

3. Review and change the archaic law that states only town roads more than 20 years old will be repaved or resurfaced. This is not practical as increased road density, weather conditions and a rise in population are among the factors affecting the roads. For example, the roads in Bandar Sri Damansara have not been repaved in more than 18 years.

4. Appoint professional tree-pruning contractors who have the right equipment, such as the Simon Snorkel, and appropriate vehicles to handle tree pruning in Petaling Jaya. The current batch of contractors and their vehicles are a serious concern. I have witnessed one miserable vehicle with two workers struggling from morning till evening to prune not more than five trees a day. This is a serious embarrassment for the city council. Worse still if there is a bee-hive in a tall tree, as the council cannot manage its removal but has to call in a private contractor or fire-brigade to clear it. Recently, there was also a reported bee attack on a council worker that proved fatal.

5. Ensure every pot-hole is patched within 48 hours and no hole is left unattended for more than two working days. Set a quality standard for the materials used in the pot-hole patching. The current patching does not seem to last two or three downpours. Please also stop patching during rainy weather.

6. Eradicate the illegal advertisement menace as soon as possible. Work closely with the Multimedia Commission, identify every advertiser and disconnect the mobile lines. Charge them in court and levy a heavy penalty. Also ask the Engineering Department to use new paint that is resistant to stickers. We want to ensure these irresponsible acts are totally stopped.

7. Look into the parking woes in every condominium in Petaling Jaya. The roads leading to many of these condominiums are filled with haphazardly-parked cars. This is a nuisance and enforcement officers don’t seem to be around after 7pm to issue summonses to the irresponsible drivers.

8. Be more aggressive when it comes to recycling and step up waste reduction programmes. The landfills are only getting bigger and the people must be educated on the impact of waste on everyone’s life. Reward those who toe the line and penalise the waste generators.

9. Close the kerbside drains in all the housing estates to create wider roads with more space for cars to pass and also park.

10. Create a library in every town hall or an online centre for reference for the children. This will raise the living standards of our society and bring about a “knowledge society”. These libraries will also act as a conduit between the government and the youth.

11. Finally, Petaling Jaya has an ageing population and MBPJ has not approved several assisted nursing homes for the elderly. The city council should allow more such homes to be set up in the city for senior citizens whose children are overseas or cannot look after their parents because of their professional commitments.

The city council should be fair and not drag its feet in approving assisted nursing homes as this is in line with meeting the social needs of the aging population.

Petaling Jaya residents are modern and demanding. The city can be a great place to live if we identify the basic problems and resolve them. Let not complacency and bureaucracy corrode and erode the Petaling Jaya City Council. We will trust you and your leadership if your actions speak louder than your words.

We are all for a beautiful, well-planned and effective Petaling Jaya, our dear Mayor!

An ardent nature lover and a dedicated social worker, Ravindran Raman Kutty is a Corporate Communications practitioner by profession. Please send in your feedback or comments to metro@thestar.com.my

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