Saturday, July 26, 2008

Selangor has no plans to change cars - The Star


The Selangor government has no plans to change its fleet of Proton Perdana cars yet, said Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim.

“We have no plans now to change the cars, which were bought and used by the previous state executive councillors.

“If (the cars are) not good, we will repair them and continue to use them,” he said Saturday after launching the Selangor Book Fair 2008 organised by the state government and the Selangor Public Library Corporation here.

He said the state government would look into its budget and the length of time that the cars had been on the road.

“I’m unable to explain the maintenance costs in detail now, but we do know that the cost is higher if the car is older,” he said, adding that there were however no plans to replace the cars this year.

Also present were state executive councillors Dr Halimah Ali and Dr Xavier Jayekumar as well as director of Selangor Public Library Corporation Mohdi Darim.

When asked what car the state executive councillors would prefer if they decided to change the cars, Khalid said, it was difficult to make a comparison as all councillors and state department heads used only Protons.

“We will have to study whether we want to replace the cars with newer Proton Perdanas or cars of other makes,” he said, adding that national interest, financial feasibility and minimum wastage would be among the state’s considerations in deciding.

He also said that all states were starting to consider their expenditure and trying to use cars that were more economical, which was a good move.

Friday, July 25, 2008

What are the roles of councillors? - The Star

Jul 25, 2008 - By SALINA KHALID

THE 288 new councillors for the two city councils and 10 municipal or district councils in Selangor have been assigned zones within their respective councils.

Much has been discussed and debated about the selection and appointment of these councillors since the Pakatan Rakyat state government invited nominations from the community for the councillor posts following the March 8 general election.

Much has also been said about certain characters with doubtful backgrounds and underworld connections who were selected as councillors.

One nominee was alleged to have used his appointment letter to throw his weight around to prevent enforcement officers from doing their duty.

Arpah: Councillors have to reside in the council they are serving.

One thing, however, has not been thoroughly discussed and articulated in public, and that is the roles and functions of a councillor.

What roles and responsibilities do the local councillors have?

Under the public administration scheme, the local council is the third tier of government after the federal government and state government.

A recent street poll revealed that most people are not clear and certain about what the functions of their local councillors are.

Many people do not know whether the council appointees are there to represent them or simply given the post as political rewards or to guard the interests of their political parties.

Petaling Jaya resident Hamzah Mohamad thinks that councillors are the eyes and ears of the local council and are those whom people go to when dealing with matters concerning the local authority

“They are like an agent of the local council to me. Yet I do not know exactly what their role is,” he said.

Hamzah, who has been a resident in Petaling Jaya for about 10 years, said he had met several councillors for various reasons, including for assistance in local council matters like parking problems in his residential area.

He knows that the councillors meet every month at a full board meeting to discuss and decide on matters concerning the community.

Other than that, he doesn’t know what else do the councillors do.

Hamzah is not alone. Most people are also in the dark like him.

According to a former councillor, councillors should serve as the eyes and ears of the council so that they can serve the people and at the same time advice the council on what is going-on on the ground.

“They should listen to the needs of local people and take their views into account when making decisions,” he said.

A source in the Federal Local Government and Housing Ministry describes councillors as community leaders who work in partnership with the respective local authority.

Khalid: Councillors must strive to improve the quality of the delivery system.

According to Federal Local Housing Department director-general Datin Arpah Abdul Razak, an appointed councillor has to be reside in the area of the council’s jurisdiction he is serving and have a wide experience and expertise in the local government matters. She said this in a recent talk.

Section 10(2) of the Local Government Act 1976 states that “councillors of the local authority shall be appointed from among persons the majority of whom shall be persons ordinarily residents in the local authority area who in the opinion of the state authority have wide experience in local government affairs or who have achieved distinction in any profession, commerce or industry, or are otherwise capable of representing the interests of their communities in the local authority area”.

Although it is the duty of a councillor to represent the whole community, he also has a duty to serve the local government as a member of its administration.

A councillor must know what is going on in his area, and to help solve any problems or answer the queries that the community may have.

The councillor’s job involves helping to solve the people’s problems, such as garbage collection, clogged drains, floods, as well the general welfare of the people.

The councillors are among the decision-makers of policies and practices of the council.

They are responsible for helping the people understand the policies and projects of their local councils.

Councillors, hence, are important because they are supposed to be the voice of the community and play a vital role in the functioning of democracy.

They are the community representatives and champion the local issues to enhance the quality of life and development in the area that they serve.

Meanwhile, the newly-appointed local councillors in Selangor comprises party workers, professionals, NGOs, the disabled and women.

Previously more than one councillor was assigned to a zone, but now each has been assigned a zone.

Each will be assigned an office and staff to assist him in his work to serve the community.

Under the Pakatan Rakyat state government, the state assemblymen are not appointed as councillors, unlike the previous Barisan Nasional state government.

Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim in his speech during last month’s mass swearing-in of the councillors reminded them that they were to serve the people.

He said the process of awarding contracts through direct negotiations had been abolished in Selangor and there would be no exception at the local council level.

“These councillors must strive to improve the quality of the delivery system and find ways to increase revenue and ensure that every ringgit is wisely spent,” Khalid said.

He said the councillors were expected to practice good governance at all times and ensure that decisions made at the sub-committee and full board meetings were favourable to the people.

“They must be impartial and should not allow any parties to exploit their positions to serve unscrupulous interests,” he said.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Umno-PAS rule in S'gor - 'Anwar ruined it' - Malaysiakini

Syed Jaymal Zahiid | Jul 22, 08 4:13pm

PKR leader Anwar Ibrahim had used his influence in PAS to derail the possibility of Umno and the Islamic party forming a joint government to rule Selangor in the wake of the March 8 polls.

This was revealed by former menteri besar and Umno supreme council member Dr Mohd Khir Toyo.

selangor adun ceremony 220408 khir toyoIn a posting on his blog, Khir said Umno had offered its arch-rival PAS the menteri besar post during a dialogue session held shortly after the elections.

Apart from this, he said PAS was also offered the deputy menteri besar as well as four executive councillors posts if it agreed to form the coalition.

Khir also said he was willing to be left out of the state government line-up if that would encourage PAS to accept the partnership.

"I brought them (PAS) for a muzakarah (dialogue) with the prime minister and suggested to Abdullah (Ahmad Badawi) that PAS leaders in Selangor be offered those posts," he added.

He said Umno and PAS could form a synthesis in championing Malay interests in the state which fell into opposition control.

'Anwar blocked it'

"Unfortunately the influence of Anwar in PAS through the party's secretary-general Kamaruddin Jaafar blocked the initiative.

anwar ibrahim freed from police ipk detention pc 170708 06"As long as Anwar is important in Pakatan Rakyat, the muzakarah will not succeed. Anwar does not want to see Malays unite and that is why he formed Pakatan that thrives on the ideals of equality to the extent of elevating other religions on the same par as the primary religion in this country, Islam," he added.

Khir said this was proven by the fact that Anwar was being supported by 'extremist' Chinese and Indians via opposition party DAP and the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf).

Monday, July 21, 2008

MPS: Complain to land office on illegal dumping - The Star

Jul 21, 2008 Story and photos by STUART MICHAEL

The Selayang Municipal Council (MPS) says it does not have the authority to stop the illegal dumping of construction debris on private land.

Its president, Zainal Abidin Azim, said: “We cannot do anything to the dumpsite operator unless they are dumping household rubbish and not construction material.

“The complaints must be referred to the Gombak District Land Office for action to be taken.”

Last week, Zainal Abidin together with MPS Health and Licensing director Dr Razif Zainal Abidin and three Selayang councillors visited the dumpsite in Jalan SG9/8, Taman Sri Gombak, where lorries were dumping construction debris on the private land owned by several landowners.

Sign of danger?: Smoke coming out from amid the debris dumped at the site.

“We can’t do anything as it is outside our jurisdiction. Even if we seal the premises, the contractors might just remove it the next day,” said Zainal Abidin.

“The best solution is for the landowners who are against the dumping to sue the landowners who gave consent to the contractor to dump construction debris.

“MPS and the land office can be a party to the suit,” he added.

Zainal Abidin said some the land owners had applied to the Agricul-ture Department to start planting on their land but feared they could not go ahead with the plan due to the dumping activities.

A mess: Piles of used wood on the private land at Taman Sri Gombak.

Zainal Abidin said he had a letter from the former Selangor mentri besar Datuk Seri Dr Mohamad Khir Toyo allowing the dumping of construction debris on the land.

Terence Miranda, a representative of the landowners, said the dumping had been going on for more than two years.

During the visit to the area smoke could be seen coming out from the debris, raising fears that it could be toxic.

“There are lorries coming in every now and then but they stop coming when MPS officers arrive,” said Terence.

He said the councillors present wanted Selangor state tourism, consumer affairs and environment committee chairman Elizabeth Wong to visit the site.

SS3 folks upset by Syabas’ action - The Star

Jul 21, 2008 By OH ING YEEN

RESIDENTS of Taman Seaport in SS3, Petaling Jaya, were appalled by the sight of the bulldozed slope in Jalan SS3/51.

The residents had only wanted Syabas to trim the trees around the reservoir, said SS3 Taman Subang secretary Musa Abdullah.

“Syabas had promised to cut down only the trees that were growing within the gridline and to replant them, but as it turned out, they just cut down all the trees,” he said.

According to a letter from Syabas, it had received a complaint from residents in Jalan SS3/51 regarding soil erosion and fallen trees near their houses. It is also stated that the MBPJ landscape department had asked Syabas to cut down the trees that had fallen or were on the verge of falling, as the trees were of a species that was prone to rotting.

Musa said many of the trees that were felled were in good condition.

Denuded of trees: Musa (third from left) voicing his unhappiness over Syabas’ felling of trees near the reservoir in SS3/51 to Pua (second from left) and Lau (right). With them is Chang.

He also pointed out that this could lead to clogged drains and suggested that the authorities cover the drains.

“We want the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) to have a landscaping proposal within a week and get the residents’ agreement as it affects us,” he said.

Resident Alfred Chang was worried that his garden would be demolished as part of Syabas’ project.

“It was designed by the previous owner and I continued tending the garden after I bought the house.

“Although the garden is part of the authorities’ land, I see no need for it to be demolished as there’s no problem of soil erosion because we have used concrete terracing,” he said, adding that it was ironic the issue was cropping up at this time, just after the celebration of International Green Day.

According to Kampung Tunku assemblyman Lau Weng San, Syabas wanted to cut down the trees to insert ports to strengthen the stability of the soil.

“When we asked, Syabas said it had obtained a permit from MBPJ to do so but the latter denied it,” he said.

A stop-work order was issued on April 12, but work resumed after a month.

Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua said even if Syabas owned the property it had to obtain the residents’ agreement as it affected them.

“Syabas resumed work, stating that none of the residents had objected to it.

However, everything should be in black and white.

“Syabas should submit landscape plans to the MBPJ,” he said, referring to the verbal agreements made by Syabas.

Also present was newly-appointed MBPJ councillor Tiew Way Keng, who promised to raise the matter during the council’s full board meeting.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Selangor gets tough on illegal sand mining - The Star

Jul 19, 2008 By Christina Tan

THE Selangor government loses over RM100mil in revenue every year due to illegal sand mining activities in the state, said state Modern Agriculture Methods, Natural Resources and Entrepreneurship Development committee chairman Yaakob Sapari.

“We have identified seven places, including Bestari Jaya, Rawang and Kuala Langat, where the illegal sand minding is widely carried out.

“The activities at certain places have been going on for more than 20 years,” he said after meeting police, Drainage and Irrigation Department representatives and other enforcement officers.

The meeting was held to discuss operations to curb illegal sand mining in the state.

Yaakob said the state government had issued 46 sand mining permits on private land.

Yaakob said the state government had set up a committee led by his assistant, Shuhaimi Shafiei, to look into the matter.

Shuhaimi said some of the culprits involved in illegal mining were those who had applied for permits and were waiting for approval.

He warned those carrying out illegal sand mining that the state government would not hesitate in taking stern action against them.

“The lorries, trucks or vehicles that are used for such activities will be confiscated,” he said.

Shuhaimi said no one had been brought to court for such illegal activities so far and the state government was reviewing the system.

He added that the state government hoped to start a standard system by July.

Shuhaimi also said a hotline would be launched for the public to lodge complaints on illegal sand mining.

Company says billboard is for the community - The Star

Jul 18, 2008 By LIM CHIA YING

OUTDOOR advertising company Setia Media Sdn Bhd said the billboard depicting Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim at SS2, Petaling Jaya, was a form of community service.

Setia Media managing director Peter Tan said the billboard was meant to carry civic messages as a way of showing its support for the new state government.

Tan was responding to the article published by StarMetro yesterday (June 12) about the new billboard.

Residents felt the billboard glorified politicians and was a waste of money.

They wanted particulars like contact details of their elected officials posted on the billboards.

“I wish to thank the residents who alerted our company. I'll get my team to add the contact numbers,” Tan said.

He said the billboard was placed on a previously empty board, which was given to his company by the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) after being relocated from its original spot across a drain.

The company's deputy managing director Johnson Tan claimed the cost of billboards was fully sponsored by Setia Media.

He added that the company had also obtained approvals and licenses to put up some 20 billboards.

State local government committee chairman Ronnie Liu was quoted in yesterday's story as saying that the state government had not forked out a single cent for the billboard.

Johnson said if the company chances upon an empty board, it would try put up something after licenses have been approved.

“We hope to help the people have easier access to their state assemblymen or MPs especially in the case of emergencies,” said Johnson.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Selangor CPO: Stay away from Sunday's rally - The Sun

SHAH ALAM: Jul 3, 2008 By Charles Ramendran

Police today warned that stern action awaits those who take part in a planned rally to protest the recent fuel price hike organised by the Coalition Against Inflation (Protes) for Sunday at a field opposite Amcorp Mall in Petaling Jaya.

Selangor police chief DCP Datuk Khalid Abu Bakar said the rally is illegal as it's organisers have not applied for a police permit.

He said he had met with the Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim on Tuesday and discussed the difficulties the rally may cause to the public, should it go on.

The police chief said the venue of the gathering could cause major traffic issues as the place was confined with narrow roads.

He said police had suggested to the Mentri Besar that the rally should alternatively be held at either the Shah Alam stadium or Melewati stadium here.

He said the Mentri Besar told him he would consider the police suggestion, but to date, he had yet to revert to the police.

"I hope those who are planning to turn up will stay away from the gathering which is illegal," said Khalid at a community policing programme launch by Hyundai-Sime Darby Motors Sdn Bhd at it's head office at the Temasya Industrial Park near Glenmarie.

"Our personnel are prepared for the event and action will be taken if our orders to leave the area are defied."

Keadilan vice president Azmin Ali when contacted welcomed the state police chief's suggestion

He said in a dicussion with his party it was agreed the rally be held at the Shah Alam stadium as the indoor Melewati stadium was not large enough and could only accomodate about 15,000 people.

However, he said the suggestion could not materialise as the Sultan Selangor Cup soccer match between Malaysia and Singapore will be held at the Shah Alam stadium on the same day.

"It coincides with the match and we do not was to disrupt this programme. We are expecting a large turnout for the rally and there may be inadequate parking lots for the rally participants and football fans." he said.

He said the rally themed the "One Million Rally" as the organisers are expecting a million people to turn up will see a list of events including concerts and family-orientated events.

"We expect a large turnout due to the fuel hike and recent political developments. The people are enraged by what is happening. There will be no marching. The people will gather and the organiser will address the crowd on current issues.

I hope the police will cooperate with the organisers and help in managing the traffic conditions on the day. We do not want any provocations from either side. We want it to go on smoothly and peacefully." Azmin added

Ex-convicts among councillors?

Jul 3, 2008 By Nuradzimmah Daim, Azira Shaharuddin and Neville Spykerman


The Selangor government is going ahead with the appointment of Ampang Jaya councillors on Tuesday despite the possibility of three of them having criminal backgrounds.

Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim is determined to proceed with their appointment along with 21 others with a promise to resolve the matter "later".

This may mean sacking them at some time in the future if investigations prove their ineligibility for appointment.

"If, for whatever reason, their appointments are against any policy, we will de-list them.

"I hope this setback will not hamper us from going ahead with the appointment of the councillors," said the state leader already embroiled in a controversy surrounding allegations of abuse of power involving his Parti Keadilan Rakyat government.

At least three candidates, already issued appointment letters as councillors, are being scrutinised following claims by an Ampang resident that two had police records for robbery and involvement with the underworld.

Another is alleged to have served time under preventive laws.

Checks with the police confirmed that at least one had a criminal record.

Caught completely off-guard when told about the allegations at a press conference after the weekly state executive council meeting yesterday, a fuming Abdul Khalid said he would act against them at a later date "if for whatever reason their appointments are against any policy".

Abdul Khalid said the new councillors would be re-assessed after their appointments.

Ampang Jaya Municipal Council (MPAJ) president Datuk Mohammad Yacob also expressed shock over the allegation, saying he was unaware of the situation.

"Everything was going as planned with the councillors receiving their letters of appointment. We are just following the directive of the state government," he said, declining to elaborate.

The incident has cast more doubts on the credibility of the Selangor government after Abdul Khalid admitted that the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) had determined that his office had solicited donations for the celebration of Pakatan Rakyat's 100 days in office.

Abdul Khalid's office came under scrutiny recently after it was reported that letters bearing the official letterhead of the office of the menteri besar were used to solicit donations for the celebrations.

The menteri besar said the Selangor ACA director had briefed him on Tuesday, saying there was basis to the allegations.

"The incident happened without my knowledge and involved the officer who was initially suspended but later resigned," he said, referring to his former aide, Yahya Sahri.

Abdul Khalid said this was the second case involving Yah-ya, who was earlier implicated for alleged abuse of power.

"The misuse of the office of the menteri besar cannot be tolerated by Pakatan Rakyat, which upholds corporate governance."

Abdul Khalid said auditors from Ernst and Young had been appointed to trace money which may have been donated, with the money being returned if the allegations were true.

"We also urge companies which have made contributions to come forward," he said, adding that officers from state-linked companies would also be called to provide information.

Case to answer - The Star


The Selangor Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) has found grounds for a case against a former officer with the Mentri Besar’s office in relation to the solicitation of funds for the 100-day-in-office celebrations, Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim said yesterday.

He told a press conference that state ACA chief Jaafar Mahad conveyed to him on Tuesday there was misuse of the Selangor Mentri Besar’s official letterhead.

“As MB, I have to be informed of any use of the official letterhead. In this case, I only found out after the letters (seeking donations) were sent out to companies being approached to contribute towards the state celebrations,” he said.

Khalid said Jaafar also informed him that the same former officer had also used the letterhead to secure cleaning and garbage collection contracts in Petaling Jaya.

The ACA started to investigate the case after former PKR stalwart Mohamad Ezam Mohd Nor claimed that the Mentri Besar’s office collected RM200,000 in funds for the celebrations and deposited the cash into the PKR account instead of the state coffers.

On Tuesday, Ezam lodged a report with the state ACA over alleged misuse of power and corruption at the Mentri Besar’s office in soliciting funds for the celebrations.

He handed over to the ACA documents bearing the Selangor Mentri Besar’s official letterhead and the former officer’s name that were used to solicit the funds.

Khalid said the state government’s own inquiry was continuing and the international auditing firm of Ernst & Young had been hired to look through the PKR accounts.

“We will return the money to the companies. We will seek details from these companies on what had transpired.”

When contacted, Jaafar declined to elaborate on Khalid’s statement but said the ACA investigation into the matter was almost over and investigation papers would be handed over to its Prosecution Division for further action.

On June 23, Yahya Sahri, a former senior aide to the Mentri Besar, was suspended by Khalid for two months pending a probe into allegations of misuse of office facilities.

Yahya then resigned, claiming he had lost confidence in the Mentri Besar for suspending him without hearing his side first.

Yesterday, Yahya told a local daily that he wanted to set the record straight and clear his name.

“I did not do anything wrong. It was just a miscommunication and it has led to so many problems,” he said, adding that the “problems” would not have occurred if Khalid had spoken to him directly.

“I am a politician and I have my pride. How can he send me an SMS to say I had been suspended (for two months). Why couldn’t he have called and talked to me. That is why I resigned,” said Yahya, who is a member of the PKR supreme council and also the Selangor PKR state liaison secretary.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Seven non-political councillors among 24 sworn in - The Star

Jul 2, 2008 By LIM CHIA YING

SEVEN new councillors appointed from among professionals and representatives of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) were among the 24 sworn in yesterday for the Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ).

The others are Pakatan Rakyat nominees, with eight from the DAP, six from Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), and three from PAS.

There are eight Malays (33%), 11 Chinese (45%), and five Indians (20%) in the new council.

The inclusion of NGO representatives and professionals is a fresh change from what was previously made up by only politicians.

One for the album: The new batch of 24 councillors posing for a group photo together with the MPSJ president and deputy president in front of the MPSJ building after their swearing-in ceremony yesterday.

The non-political appointees are Arumugam Kalimuthu (Tamil Foundation), Chang Kim Loong (House Buyers Association), Choong Yew Lim (Petaling Bus and Ind Association), Rabiah Omar (All Women's Action Society), Datuk Dr Subramaniam Nadarajan (Rotary Club), Tan Jo Hann (Permas), and Theresa Ratnam John Ratnam (residents association).

After the councillors were sworn in, MPSJ secretary Slamat Hamzah briefed them on the standing order and procedures at council and full board meetings

MPSJ president Datuk Adnan Md Ikshan then thanked the previous councillors who had served their term that ended officially on Monday.

“I ask for the cooperation, dedication, and patience of all the new councillors today to work closely together to serve the people and resolve problems they face,” Adnan said.

“It’s important for us to also have integrity, and instil the confidence in the public that we will do our best to serve. Cooperation from everyone is required to disseminate information to each other in order for us to take action fast,” he said.

The term for the councillors is a year, expiring on June 30 next year. Their renewal is subject to satisfactory performance and stirring services.

Adnan said like previously, four councillors would sit in the One-Stop Centre (OSC) meeting and that they would be placed in the various internal committees based on their background, expertise and the organisation they represent.

According to Theresa Ratnam, who stays in SS17 Subang Jaya and is active with the residents association through the Residents Committee previously, it is an honour for her to be appointed a councillor.

“I can now serve the community from a different level than when I was with the JKP. This allows me to see things from a different perspective,” she said.

“I want to ensure compliance in upholding the various legislations. Pressing issues in Subang Jaya like the perennial traffic chaos, illegal hawkers, and land use are some things I would want to look into,” she said.

Rabiah Omar, who is with the All Women's Action Society (AWAM) and a resident at Section 9 Putra Heights, said it had always been her aspiration to serve the community.

“The crime rate in Subang Jaya is a major concern for me as I'm a mother of a young daughter. For now, I wish to also work closely with the MPSJ to stop the open burning at Bukit Lanchong which I could smell again this morning,” she said.

Asked if the JKP still exists, Adnan said it would be reshuffled and rezoned from previously 29 zones to 24, each to be presided by a councillor.

He said with the NGO representatives and professionals in the council, it would be different this time.

Adnan said what was most important was that the councillors could convey the message to the people and hopefully, this would take some pressure off the MPSJ.

On whether having most of the councillors coming from Subang Jaya could create an imbalance on issues presented, Adnan said he could not comment as the appointments were made by the state government.

Seri Kembangan has just one representative and Puchong a handful.

Present at the ceremony were Kelana Jaya MP Loh Gwo Burne, Seri Kembangan assemblyman and state executive councillor Ean Yong Hian Wah and Subang Jaya assemblyman Hannah Yeoh.

Former councillor Datuk Lee Hwa Beng said now that the council was finally in place, it was important to give the councillors a chance to perform.

“Hopefully, they will fulfil the expectations of the public. With Theresa Ratnam and Dr Subramaniam in the line-up, the people will obviously contact them often,” Lee said.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Traders hold meeting with elected reps - The Star

Jul 1, 2008 By DEBBIE CHAN

THE Sungai Way Small Traders Association organised a meeting with their newlyelected representatives, PJ Utara MP Tony Pua and Kampung Tunku state assemblyman Lau Weng San, for the first time to discuss various issues affecting the traders.

Most of the traders were from the Seri Setia wet market and the biggest issue that has remained unresolved for years is the lack of parking bays for market customers.

Due to this, customers would just park their vehicles illegally and they often get summoned for it.

“The lack of parking bays and the strict enforcement has led to fewer customers at the market as many fear being summoned,” Lau explained.

“This is a important issue that must be looked into and resolved because it is affecting the business,” he said.

The traders were also concerned about the rise in the number of illegal petty traders and hawkers in the surrounding areas as it has affected business in the market.

Among other concerns that were voiced out was the poor maintenance of the market facilities, from the drainage system to the lightings.

“The MBPJ has never helped us maintain or upgrade the facilities here.

“They have always expected us to do things ourselves, which is not fair,” said trader Hajah Hasenah.

“On top of that, we are puzzled by the different rental rates charged for the stalls here. Even though the stalls are of the same size, we pay different rates,” Hajah said.

Crime is also a growing concern as many of the stalls have been broken into, especially during festive seasons.

“It’s a puzzle how this can happen despite the market being situated right next to a police station,” Lau said.

Lau and Pua promised the traders that all parking bays available would remain as parking bays and not be zoned for other development.

“The parking bays will not be reduced and I have also written to the police to be more compassionate with regard to the current situation and not be so stringent in their enforcement of the law in this area, but this is only a short-term solution,” Lau said.

They will look into other options, including using the underground car parks available in the Kg Baru Sg Way Multipurpose Hall, which is opposite the market.

“On infrastructure and facilities issues, I believe that the MBPJ should help us solve these problems holistically.

“It has been close to 20 years since the market was built and it is about time that a major upgrade and revamp was done.

“We will request for upgrading works to be included in the MBPJ’s 2009 budget so that there will be resources allocated to improve this area,” Lau added.

Mass swearing-in for councillors in Selangor - The Star


THE 288 newly-appointed local government councillors in Selangor will attend a mass swearing-in and briefing on their duties at the state secretariat in Shah Alam on July 5.

State Local Government, Research and Study Committee chairman Ronnie Liu said the briefing would be simple and the councillors would be sent for a two-day training stint at the state-run Local Government Training Institute in Jugra later to allow them to have a full understanding of their duties.

He said each council would send four of its 24 councillors at a time and the state government would organise the training starting next month.

“Since we are the only state with such a training institute, an offer to train councillors has been extended to all the other Pakatan Rakyat-led state governments. We are also open to requests from the non-Pakatan states,” he told a press conference after attending the weekly executive council meeting at the state secretariat building recently.

According to Liu, the group attending the first study trip arranged by the state government left for Singapore on Thursday by stage bus to see how the Singapore Housing Board manages its township to ensure it is clean and green.

The group was to look into how Singapore managed its highrise residential developments, maintained smooth traffic flow and ran an efficient public transportation system.

He said the group of 37 on the trip funded by local councils included himself, the heads of all 12 local councils in the state and a few officers from the Landscape Department.

No other politician or spouses of those going on the trip joined them and the hotel at which they stayed was not a five-star hotel, he added.

He agreed that there were local experts who could provide assistance on landscaping and local council management but said there was no harm in learning from a country that had a world-acknowledged local planning and management system.