THE Puchong parliamentary constituency was carved out of the Serdang and Petaling Jaya Selatan parliamentary constituencies in 2004.
Starting life as a rubber estate and tin-mining area, the township in present day is packed with residential areas, commercial centres and industrial zones.
Its landscape is constantly evolving and this is set to change even more when the LRT Line Extension passes through this thriving township.
This town in the Petaling district is sandwiched between Petaling Jaya and Kuala Lumpur to the north, Subang Jaya and Shah Alam to the west, Putrajaya to the south and Seri Kembangan to the east.
Some key landmarks in Puchong are the shopping centres and hypermarkets such as IOI Mall, Tesco Puchong, Giant Bandar Kinrara, Giant Bandar Puteri and Jusco Taman Equine.
Others include a giant golf ball that leads visitors to the Kinrara Golf Club, hospitals such as Columbia Asia Medical Centre and KPMC Puchong, as well as major educational institutions Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) and Binary University.
Puchong has two fairly new commercial centres with retail and office elements, namely IOI Boulevard developed by IOI Group and SetiaWalk by SP Setia.
The main arteries that link Puchong to other parts of the Klang Valley are the LDP, Kesas, Bukit Jalil, Elite, SKVE and MEX Expressways, which also means that paying toll is almost unavoidable for those wanting to get in and out of this township.
The Ampang LRT Line Extension, which extends from Sri Petaling to Putra Heights, will offer an option to those wanting to take public transport and hopefully ease traffic volume on the road when it is ready for use in June 2015.
Its alignment runs along the highways and main roads in Puchong, with some of the stations located next to or near landmarks such as IOI Mall, Tesco Puchong, Rakan Muda Complex and Tractors Malaysia.
Puchong is a diverse township.
Although much development has taken place, there are still many villages located within the constituency, including two orang asli villages, two Chinese New Villages and 16 Malay villages.
Its population ranges from mid- to high-income earners, professionals and young families living in modern housing projects, to those from the low-income group and village folks residing in low-cost flats and villages.
“I hope the elected representatives, either parliamentary or state level, will look into the provision of burial grounds, houses of worship and basic community facilities like schools, police stations, government hospitals, community halls and public parks in Puchong,” said Bandar Puteri 8 Residents Associa-tion chairman Datuk Samson Maman.
“The government should also consider building more schools in Puchong, whether national, vernacular or religious schools, as the existing schools are already overcrowded.
“There is also a need for a safe neighbourhood concept, for a sustainable community, which is lacking in many parts of Puchong.
“The local council should look into implementing the Safe City programme in Puchong by getting developers who built the township to provide safe walkways, guardrails and streetlighting,” he added.
In terms of safety and security, Samson feels the situation has seen an improvement over the past couple of years as a more friendly police presence has helped keep crime in check, but there is still a need for clearer guidelines for gated and guarded scheme.
“Puchong is too big to be administered under one parliamentary constituency, and this is not good for the large and fast-growing community,” he said.
“The differences between the federal and state politics rubs off on the community. Although the poli-tical representatives are easily available and approachable in Puchong, resolving matters are more frequently divided by political lines under the jurisdiction of differing federal and state politics, to the detriment of the community.”
According to local Barisan Nasional candidates, the Puchong parliamentary now has a slightly larger Chinese population, and that Barisan stands a good chance of winning if Gobind Singh Deo was fielded instead of Teresa Kok, where a tough fight is anticipated.
The issues that are close to the hearts of the Chinese community are on education, economy and safety.
Potential Barisan candidates are Datuk Loo Yeng Peng, Kohilan Pillay (both Gerakan), Kuan Chee Heng (Independent, but Barisan-friendly).
Gobind, who is the incumbent MP, said he would be happy to serve the people in Puchong if re-elected.
“I have worked hard and there is still more to do. No individual can lay claim to any seat,” he said.
“Ultimately, it is for the people to decide if they want me to continue to represent them in Parliament for another term.”
Loo said the Barisan team continued serving the Puchong community despite their loss in Selangor in 2008.
“Based on our groundwork and active service, especially for those from the needy group, I believe the people of Puchong know which candidate and party would be able to take them to greater heights,” said Loo.
Kuan, who is known for his community policing work, has expressed interest in contesting in Puchong.
“I hope to reduce crime and work with the judiciary to put away criminals,” he said.
Smack in the middle of this consti-tuency is the Ayer Hitam Forest Reserve, where the Temuan orang asli tribe are believed to have settled down 400 years ago.
The 1,176ha forest is under the jurisdiction of the Selangor Forestry Department and the Selangor government granted Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) a 80-year lease in 1996 for education, research and extension in forestry.
Gazetted as an education and research forest, it is off-limits to the public and access is granted upon permission by the UPM Forestry Faculty.
Hikers and residents have been using the forest for hiking and mor-ning exercise, and asked for permission to continue accessing the forest for recreational activities.
In January 2010, the state government said it would abort a proposed 22.26ha cemetery project in the forest reserve but an alternative site for the cemetery has yet to be announced.
“The Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ) should practise proper management and maintenance culture to ensure existing infrastructure is well maintained and there are proper follow-up measures,” said Bandar Kinrara 4 Residents Association chairman Edwin Tong.
He cited as an example, the deteriorating state of the Bandar Kinrara 4 football field, which has a rusty fencing and goal posts that have been falling apart for the past 20 years.
“There is also a need for a better public transportation system with more bus routes and higher frequency,” he said.
Kampung Sungai Rasau village head Tok Batin Dali Anak Kantan said: “Our community hopes the two orang asli villages in Puchong will be gazetted for the community, and that we would be given additional space for agriculture as we want to plant more fruits and vegetables and rear goats and chickens for us to earn an income.”
Other issues affecting the consti-tuency include poor maintenance of flats, management and collection problems at low-cost flats, flash floods in Taman Seri Serdang, land issue for SJKT Castlefield which is affected by the LRT project and the proposed Bandar Putra Permai interchange at MEX Highway that has yet to be confirmed.
Potential Barisan candidates are Datuk Mohamad Satim Diman, Datuk Raden Mokhtar Yusof and Rosli Idrus (all from Umno)
“What is important is our loyalty and devotion to our party,” said Satim.
“It is the top leadership who decides on the candidates and where we would be contesting. Our party machinery is ready to support the candidate who will be fielded.”
Lake Edge resident Jean Nee said there was a dire need to upgrade roads and drains in Kinrara (and Puchong), as conditions of the existing infrastructure had deteriorated over the years.
“The local council should improve its delivery system and garbage collection, infrastructure repairs and enforcement services,” she said.
“There is a lack of proper planning with projects developed on a piecemeal basis and lacking in quality. However, the rapid development is unbalanced as there is inadequate green belt and public parks to serve the needs of the community.”
Nee feels that there is insufficient connectivity between neighbourhoods, which results in residents having to use the highways to get from one residential area to another.
“Inner roads will help divert traffic and reduce congestion on main roads,” she said.
“There is also a need for an alternative access route between Subang Jaya and Shah Alam, for example by building a link between Lake Edge or Taman Perindustrian Puchong to USJ1.
“It is good that the LRT line is being extended to Puchong, as it would encourage people to use public transport”.
Nee feels there has been a decrease in snatch theft cases due to the police’s Ops Payung but said break-ins, robbery and vehicle theft were still prevalent.
“The presence of immigrants in Puchong has also created social problems for residents,” said Bandar Puchong Jaya Fasa 1 Residents Association chairman Albert Teo.
“While we welcome the extension of the LRT line into Puchong, it has also resulted in prices of properties and houses skyrocketing,” he said.
Potential Barisan candidates are Datuk Wong Hock Aun, Dr Kow Cheong Wei and Liew Yew Fook (all MCA).
“As the former Kinrara assemblyman, it is my responsibility to continue working hard and serve the people (even after losing in the 2008 general election),” said Dr Kow.
“The voters in Kinrara are smart and will do the right thing when it comes to evaluating candidates’ performances.”
As a local boy who grew up in Kinrara, Wong is hoping to be elected as assemblyman and be given a platform to better serve the people.
“There is also a possibility of MCA contesting in the Puchong parliamentary constituency via a seat swap with Gerakan,” said Wong.
“This is based on MCA’s organisation and membership size in Puchong, and the fact that the Chinese community forms the majority of voters there”.
Incumbent assemblyman Teresa Kok declined to comment on her party’s election plans.