RUBBISH collection, traffic dispersion, slope failures and public complaints are the main issues on the new Petaling Jaya mayor’s agenda for 2013.
Datin Paduka Alinah Ahmad, the first female mayor in Malaysia, took over mayoral duties from Datuk Mohamad Roslan Sakiman yesterday.
She said she would arrange fortnightly follow-ups with the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) heads of department and councillors to ensure that problems were solved smoothly and promptly.
In her maiden address yesterday, Alinah, 63, said she would set aside an hour every day for councillors from each zone to meet with her on an appointment basis to talk about the issues in their respective areas.
She said she also intended to meet the residents.
“And when I do, it will be a surprise visit,” said Alinah at the handover of duties ceremony in Petaling Jaya yesterday.
Deputy mayor Puasa Md Taib was present to hand over the duties signed by himself and Roslan to Alinah in the presence of MBPJ councillors and heads of department.
Puasa said the swearing-in ceremony would be scheduled for a later date as the council has yet to receive the official letter from the state. “We hope to get it as soon as possible but Alinah will go about her duties as usual,” he added.
Puasa, who had assumed the post of acting mayor until the end of December, congratulated Alinah on her new appointment.
“This is historic because she is the first woman to become a mayor in Malaysia. On behalf of MBPJ, we will give her our full support to ensure the smooth running of the council,” he said.
Alinah said she would like to focus on asset management in Petaling Jaya to see what the basic policies were from the state government and MBPJ.
“It is a matter of expectations versus deliverables. If our expectations are higher but we fail to deliver, then we need to re-examine our policies. If they are irrelevant, we need to change it.”
As for slope failures, Alinah said they would take heed of the recent landslide in Bukit Setiawangsa to monitor and prevent similar occurrences in Petaling Jaya.
“We will engage geoscience experts and those from the Public Works Department as well as appoint independent consultants to study the hill slopes in Petaling Jaya,” she said, while specifically referring to Bukit Gasing.
Last Friday’s landslide at Puncak Setiawangsa led to the evacuation of 106 residents from their bungalows, terrace houses and shophouses in the area.
When asked what were her biggest challenges as mayor, Alinah said it was being the first woman mayor in the country.
“There is the gender issue. It is important for me not to fail because I represent women in general.
“I have to perform my duties responsibly and honour the trust given to me by the state government,” she said.
Alinah added that she would continue the good work that Roslan had done for the city.
“I will put my heart and soul into carrying out my duties and I am confident I can do it with the help of the councillors and the staff.”
Earlier, Alinah said that MBPJ’s RM340mil reserve was not something to be happy about.
“Having money is one thing but managing it is more important. Giving the people of Petaling Jaya value for their money is something I have been trained to do. They should reap the rewards of the tax money they pay,” she added.
As mayor, Alinah will oversee 24 councillors, 10 heads of department and four units comprising about 1,800 employees.