BIDOR: Semi-urban areas and small towns have the potential to become growth areas and take the pressure off Klang Valley, MCA secretary-general Datuk Ong Ka Chuan said.
He said small towns have their charm and attractions.
With RM100,000, one can buy a terrace house here (in small towns). That amount of money will not buy any landed property in the Klang Valley.
In Kuala Lumpur, land is so scarce that many are living in condominiums and apartments. Such units are also not cheap. With food, payments for cars, houses and education expenses, many families need substantial sums of money to live in relative comfort, said Ong, who is Perak MCA chief and contesting the Tanjung Malim parliamentary seat.
He said when cities were overcrowded, societal friction and problems tend to be more prominent, leaving city folk yearning for more open areas and a bigger personal space.
Ong said semi-urban areas could be developed to become niche markets to attract those wanting to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
However, for our towns to be attractive, we must be realistic. Do we have jobs to offer? For instance, what can a graduate do in Bidor?
If we can work out an economic overhaul offering secure employment to these folk, our towns can be transformed, said Ong at a dinner organised by the 35 Chinese associations here on Tuesday.
Also present were Sungkai Barisan Nasional candidate Datuk S. Veerasingam and former Tanjung Malim MP Datuk Loke Yuen Yeow.
Ong urged the locals to support Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, saying the Prime Minister was a man with deep concern for the people.
He is also a man who enjoys the simple life. When he came down to hand over the land leases to farmers in early February, he spent time at some of the farmers houses, enjoying the steamed corn and potatoes prepared for him.
At the same time, he paid close attention to the woes brought up by the farmers, said Ong.
He said there was much work to do and pledged to work closely with local leaders.
He thanked Loke for serving Tanjung Malim for five terms, saying Loke had been gracious to make way under the partys rejuvenation process.
Loke called on the locals in the constituency to continue to vote for Barisan candidates.
Ong is facing PKR's Mohamad Azman Marjohan in the elections.
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