If Kuala Lumpur is to be a world-class city by 2020, the DBKL’s role as a local authority needs review. It needs more power in some areas and has to strongly lobby for shared powers in others.
The limitations prompted Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Zulhasnan Rafique to set up the Modern City Management Committee for KL, Putrajaya and Labuan, headed by EPF chairman and Perbadanan Putrajaya (PPj) president Tan Sri Samsudin Osman.
In an interview with the StarMetro in Putrajaya recently, Samsudin said the committee would suggest ways and means towards better organisation and management of local authorities where they would have the appropriate mandate to handle day-to-day activities and undertake the functions they are accountable for.
“From a bigger perspective, local authorities do not have much say in public transport and solid waste management.
“We want to make them more accountable but they are not given enough of a mandate,” Samsudin said.
“Another crucial area is the delivery system, central to the idea of a model or sustainable city.
“When other agencies handle housing and flood management, overlapping roles lead to delays,” he said.
Critical areas for municipal service delivery include public transportation, housing, solid waste management, environmental management, river and flood management, institutional arrangement and organisation and enforcement.
To function better, the committee will work closely with the Transport Ministry, the Finance Ministry, the Economic Planning Unit (EPU), the Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID), the DOE and the police.
Valuable input will be garnered from committee members like KL mayor Datuk Ahmad Fuad Ismail, Perbadanan Labuan chief executive officer Datuk Basiran Saban, Malaysian Institute of Planners chairman Dr Norliza Hashim and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia’s Lestari programme coordinator Datin Paduka Dr Halimaton Saadiah.
According to Samsudin, one question that the committee hopes to answer is if KL is being managed the way it should be.
“It is better to ask this question now otherwise, 20 years on, people would still be griping about public housing and transport.
“There is sufficient time before 2020 but we’ve got to get our act together now,” he said.
“It starts with the organisation, the internal structure and the governance structure.
“We will set up the parameters first and seek advice from our panel of experts. It is a daunting task nevertheless,” he added.
While KL’s vision is to become a world-class city by 2020, Samsudin said no target had been set yet for Putrajaya but the former can learn some things from the latter.
“We have the NadiPutra bus service for Putrajaya and are establishing a network to cater for the years ahead as the population grows.
“The park-and-ride areas will ensure smooth traffic flow once the volume of cars increases.
“The Putrajaya Lake is monitored by the lake management arm so if the water is murky or the fish population is dwindling, the section is answerable.
“We can also detect pollution,” explained Samsudin.
“The DOE has delegated power to the PPj to deal with pollutants and effluents. This is the form of power-sharing the committee is keen to advocate.
“When the public sees a problem, they want the Government to deal with it.
“They don’t want to hear about how the problem is out of a particular agency’s jurisdiction.
“We need to break down the barriers between departments and work towards a common goal.
“It is all about the one Government concept,” he said.
He pointed out that Vancouver, Melbourne, Sydney and Tokyo were good examples of cities with well-oiled management mechanisms, laws and administrative and local government structures.
Samsudin also said the aim in tackling social ills should be to weed out the causes rather than going for symptomatic treatments.
He feels that enforcement units should be given appropriate powers as and when necessary.
“If a city is run well with adequate authority to enforce the law, the public will comply.
“This would prove a deterrent against crime,” he added.