It’s a brand-new year once more, and it looks like Kuala Lumpur mayor Datuk Seri Mohd Amin Abd Aziz is having some big plans for the busy city under his care. He recently shared with StarMetro his plans for what KL-ites can expect in 2017, following the progress made in 2016.
Beautification and Tourism
Kuala Lumpur is preparing for the upcoming SEA Games 2017 in August, and preparations to beautify the city have already begun, including painting kerbs along main roads, constructing new railings and installing lighting in selected areas such as Bukit Bintang, Jalan Raja Abdullah and Jalan Raja Laut. DBKL will also carry out landscaping works in key areas.
Renovations to the multi-million ringgit Taman Pudu Ulu Recreation Park, which will be the venue for petanque – a game that involves tossing or rolling hollow steel balls as close as possible to a small wooden ball while standing inside a circle with both feet on the ground – are expected to be complete by February. Upgrading works are also being carried out at the Cheras football stadium, Titiwangsa stadium and Dataran Merdeka.
The mayor also highlighted the newly refurbished Panggung Anniversary in Taman Botany Perdana, which was a popular hang-out for city folk to watch concerts and plays in the 1970s and 1980s. Residents and visitors alike are welcome to enjoy cultural shows and dance festivals there.
Plaza Rakyat, which was abandoned for almost 20 years, will finally begin (re)construction this year. It is currently awaiting plans from the developer. Another long-overdue project is the Kampung Puah project, which has been stalled for 15 years, as there is a developer willing to develop it.
There are plans in the pipeline to build more affordable houses, ranging from RM250,000 to RM300,000, for qualified city folk to buy. For new housing developments, developers are required to ensure that at least 30% is allocated for affordable housing. “Ensuring that everyone is able to afford a home in Kuala Lumpur has been one of my priorities so we have accelerated some of the paperwork required to make sure these commitments are met.”
Strict Enforcement for Businesses
Businesses in the city, especially restaurant operators, are warned that the rules for business licence applications would be tightened to ensure quality. It is not just the cleanliness of the interior of the outlets, but also the dirty drains outside their premises that have become a problem and health hazard to customers. Operators who fail to install grease traps will face action by City Hall, which will take over maintenance for all the grease traps and charge business owners for the service. The fee would amount to about RM125 a month or RM1,500 a year, which would be linked to the premises licence fee. When restaurant owners renew their licences, they will have to pay the grease trap maintenance fee as well.
Settle Your Summonses
Last November, DBKL encouraged Kuala Lumpur residents to settle their compound notices for traffic offences and gave city folk until the end of February 2017 to do so. The ‘discounted’ price for overdue summonses were priced between RM10 and RM30 to encourage motorists to settle their summonses. City folk owe more than RM5.4 million in compounds, and DBKL will go on a clamping spree once the deadline passes for drivers to pay their summonses.
New Blood for DBKL
DBKL will be rolling out leadership programmes to start training capable officers with potential to take leadership roles within the local authority. About 16 senior and executive directors have retired or due to retire soon, therefore the council needs to start grooming new, potential candidates. “Young officers do not realise what the civil service is all about and now after the negative publicity over recent corruption cases, we want to restore some dignity and pride in City Hall,” he said.
Pride & Integrity
DBKL is working with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to counter corruption within its ranks, and contractors are made to sign integrity pledges. The performances of officers and contractors are monitored, especially those who seem to be living beyond their means. If caught, the consequences for these civil servants can be dire. Many officers have been barred from promotions due to various offences, even minor ones.
Starting Jan 1, 2017, Kuala Lumpur has banned the use of polystyrene food containers and adopted the “No Plastic Bag” policy in shopping malls and retail outlets. Hawkers and traders were already given time to start using biodegradable packaging last year, and many vendors have started using alternate methods to pack food and items. Licensed businesses are advised to prepare themselves to go green, and strict enforcement of the ban will begin from Sept 1.