By Alang Bendahara
SERI Setia (N32), home to 100,000 people, has a mix of upper- and middle-class residents as well as pockets of urban poor from what used to be squatters there. Since becoming elected as its state assemblyman, Halimey Abu Bakar, a local boy from the Desa Mentari area, has taken steps to engage with the 53,492 voters from all sides of the divide.
With his background as part of the post-squatter generation or ‘anak setinggan’ (child from the squatters), who is also the son of a night market trader — and coupled with 10 years of experience as a former councillor with the Petaling Jaya Municipal Council (MBPJ) — Halimey knows exactly what is needed to serve in his ‘own backyard’.
Selangor Journal (SJ) : What is the main industry in your constituency?
Halimey Abu Bakar (HAB):
It is mostly industrial areas with a few business parks. We used to have the Sungai Way Free Trade Industri- al Zone (FIZ), but most of the big players there have moved out or closed down. Now it is just 20 per cent of what it used to be.
But we still have the Hicom Glenmarie Industrial Park and the Bukit Jelutong Industrial Park which is not as big as FIZ but are expanding fast.
The main business district is the Ara Damansara area which is also coming up fast.
SJ: What is the main attraction in Seri Setia?
HAB: It would be the Taman Bandaran Kelana Jaya which is the largest and one of the most well-known parks in Petaling Jaya.
The park has seven lakes, with extensive jogging tracks circling around its beautiful lakes. During weekends it will be filled with people doing recreational activities
SJ: What are the concerns raised by your constituents and how do you address them?
HAB: Traffic congestion is the main grouse of the people, as we have four main highways — the Federal Highway, Lebuhraya Damansara-Puchong, the Guthrie Corridor Expressway and the New Pantai Expressway. I have repeatedly raised this issue in the State Legislative Assembly and will continue to do so.
Second is the poor attitude of residents in the low-cost flats, who double-park their vehicles, causing misunderstandings, and also littering without a care. I have engaged with non-governmental organisations, members of the local council and also the people themselves, to educate them and at the same time try to solve their woes.
The third is unemployment due to the closure of big factories in FIZ. The state job fair in Seri Setia was put on hold due to the movement control order (MCO) 2.0, but after Raya, we will hold briefings with those who were laid off to help them.
Fourth is the crime rate at the low-cost flats. We are bringing it down through various engagement programmes with the local community, the police and the National Anti-Drugs Agency (Nada).
Then, there is noise pollution in Ara Damansara from aeroplanes and helicopters operating in the middle of the night. I have sent a letter to the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia and will send another to set a meeting with them and the aviation companies involved.
SJ: What are your achievements so far in your constituency?
HAB: In Kampung Lindungan PJS6, I have set up a Community Library with the help of the Selangor Public Library Corporation.
We also upgraded the MBPJ community hall there to a bigger multipurpose hall. A new MBPJ stall is also built in the area for 26 traders. While in PJS8 I managed to get an MBPJ kiosk built for street hawkers there.
The building of a new road bridge for light vehicles coming from PJS5 Desa Ria to PJS4 is now 80 per cent complete. It replaces the temporary old iron bridge.
The new bridge built by MBPJ will be permanent and made out of concrete.
SJ: What are some of your problem-solving methods?
HAB: I like to engage with the appointed councillors of the Residents Representative Councils (MPP). l meet them to discuss problems, solutions and planning for the next programmes. I have also asked MPP to set up bureaus such as the welfare bureau, to inform us if anyone needs assistance, or if there is a natural disaster, death or just someone requesting food aid.
I also work with the communities and NGOs on programmes such as the Peduli Rakyat Initiative for residents to know what assistance they can get. Also, I work with the Nada Icon to conduct anti-drug programmes in the Seri Setia areas.
I would say that being a former MBPJ councillor for 10 years really helps me to serve the people better. Also, it helps me in solving complaints from residents who always tend to blame the local councils for everything.
This article first appeared in the Selangor Journal monthly May edition, published on May 3, 2021.