By Ashwin Kumar
THE Selangor administration had formulated 60 initiatives under its Smart Selangor Programme in late 2015, intended to fulfil the needs of its growing population.
Leveraging on its smart technology and innovations, Selangor now aspires to be Southeast Asia’s premier smart state by 2025. Smart waste management, smart transport and mobility, and smart governance are just three of the 12 domains that will help the state achieve its goal.
State Local Government, Public Transportation and New Village Development Executive Councillor Ng Sze Han told Selangor Journal in a recent interview that 2019 is a year to remember as the state had put itself on the right track to achieving its vision.
Helping people on the move
Ng said one of the achievements of the Smart Selangor Programme is the focus given to the domain of transportation. Providing free bus rides for people in the vicinity of all the12 local councils reflects a caring and innovative government.
“Our priority is the Smart Selangor Bus service for the people of Selangor.
“When the programme was introduced in 2015, the first phase was to ensure that the service is made available in all 12 local councils in Selangor, which we have achieved. So far, we have 143 buses and 38 routes across the state.
“The second phase, which we are now working on, focuses on improving the service,” he said.
Ng refutes claims that foreigners have been the bigger beneficiary of the free bus rides.
He said studies conducted by the Hulu Selangor and Shah Alam local authorities showed that foreigners accounted for only between 2 and 9 per cent of the total commuters. The state had recorded a total of 46, 901, 720 commuters from July 2015 to January 31, 2020.
“Foreigners no longer get free rides. They have been paying RM1 per ride since the start of the year.
“However, this move has got nothing to do with discrimination towards foreigners. We just want to give priority to taxpayers first.”
Ng said the state government spent RM106 million to deploy 18 buses for 43 routes between July 2015 and September 2019.
A cleaner state
Ng highlighted that the management of solid waste in the state is running smoothly and most residents are satisfied with the quality of work carried out by Kumpulan Darul Ehsan Waste Management (KDEBWM) Sdn Bhd.
KDEBWM has been fully responsible for managing the waste of all 12 local authorities in the state since January.
“We consider the appointment of KDEBWM an achievement. However, there are issues, such as cleanliness, that have to be improved this year.
“KDEBWM is doing its best and complaints on the collection of domestic waste in these areas have dropped by 96 per cent.
“Previously, before KDEBWM, we used to get stench-related complaints during waste collection operations. There were also complaints that normal lorries were used to collect the waste.”
Ng added that KDEBWM’s Japanese-made compactor lorries, equipped with several sophisticated features, are being used by all sub-contractors in Selangor.
“The movement of these lorries are tracked using the Automatic Vehicle Locating System, and monitored by the Centralised Command Centre in Shah Alam.”
Parking made easy
Ng revealed that the Smart Selangor Parking phone application initiative has received almost 99 per cent of positive feedback by its users.
He said the state administration has surpassed its initial target for the parking application, which was 500,000 users.
At present, the application has already been downloaded by more than half a million users and the government expects one million users by the end of the year.
“Via the app, all public parking under the purview of local governments would be paid.
“The app has been problem-free so far and it stores the data of your parking expenses. It is a success but we should not stop here … something has to be done to bring it to another level and I will forward this to the Menteri Besar and other state executive councillors.”
No illegal factories
Ng pointed out that numerous dialogue sessions have been carried out with factory owners and managers to make them understand the need to operate with a valid license.
“The state government has its own reasons to insist on this area of enforcement. We need their (the factories’) data too. For instance, we need to know the location of the factory, whether it is located near schools, rivers and dams. Factories at such locations must be relocated.
“Based on my experience, every unlicensed factory has a different and unique problem so we cannot give blanket approval because of the reasons for being unlicensed varies. Our aim is to help all of them legalise their operations and we can only do that if the owners cooperate with us,” explained Ng.
He said as of now, the response from factory owners from the dialogue sessions has been overwhelming and the authorities are glad that the owners have come forward to legalise their businesses.
“We are not here to judge or scrutinise any unlicensed factory as we really want to make this legalisation programme a success by Sept 30,” Ng said.
After the cut-off date, non-compliance would lead to the illegal land being seized by the district land office, plus a RM500 fine, compounded by an additional RM100 per day until the issue is resolved.
Previously, it was reported that the Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ) plans to install more high-tech closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras in the SS15 commercial area to monitor parking and traffic flow.
Under the proposed pilot project, the CCTVs would be equipped with enhanced technology and algorithms that could gauge the behaviour of motorists and alert authorities for further action.
On this, Ng said the pilot project is being handled by the Smart Selangor Delivery Unit and is aimed at reducing crime and traffic congestion.
“The CCTVs have been placed lower in public areas to enable facial recognition and vehicle registration identification. We hope to reduce traffic congestion and enhance safety in the area.”
Ng also believes that successful implementation of the pilot project would provide greater opportunity for the whole of Selangor to adopt the same technology.
On Selangor’s Sustainable Development Goals, Ng revealed that the administration has focused on the SDG indicators under 11.2 — which is to provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all, improving road safety, and expanding public transport — and 11.6 — which focuses on reducing the adverse per capita environmental impact of cities. Both indicators are targetted to be achieved by 2030.
“We are proud that the Shah Alam City Council (MBSA) had presented its SDGs at the 10th World Urban Forum held in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, recently.
“For my part, I am committed to improving the public transportation system in Selangor and we will try our level best to reduce private cars on the road. It is timely that MBSA is already working on the SDGs and have clear directions on how to achieve them.