By Nasuha Badrul Huzaini
THE recent upgrade of the Kuala Selangor District Council to a municipality (MPKS) has given its residents some assurance that progress is slowly but surely making its way to the area.
In a recent interview with MPKS president Rahilah Rahmat, Selangor Journal asked about the current happenings in the newly-minted municipality and also about the council’s plans for the future.
According to Rahilah, the status upgrade will push MPKS towards better urban planning and development.
It has already made plans to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) as outlined by the United Nations.
Alongside these plans for development is the council’s intention to review the MDKS 2025 Local Plan (Replacement) and upgrade it to the MPKS 2035 Local Plan.
“For this to happen, the council wants more active and effective participation from the residents,” she said.
Several plans to upgrade and enhance the existing public facilities and infrastructure, especially at various tourist locations in the district, have also been put in place. More specifically, Dataran Malawati, Pantai Remis and Pekan Lama Kuala Selangor have been singled out for revival.
“We have also prepared the Bukit Malawati Kuala Selangor Special Area Plan (RKK) that includes project proposals to beautify and upgrade Bukit Malawati, the Kampung Kuantan Fireflies Sanctuary, Taman Alam and the famous Sky Mirror which attracts both local and foreign tourists.
“The idea to implement the projects came about during a town hall session with the local people. However, the total allocation to execute the plan will depend on our financial capabilities,” she said.
Selangor is currently in Phase One of the National Recovery Plan. According to a recent statement by Menteri Besar Dato’ Amirudin Shari, the state could shift to Phase Two soon, given that the current vaccination rate had surpassed over 50 per cent of the adult population. Phase Two states are allowed more flexibility — interdistrict travel is allowed, and so are tourism activities.
To this, Rahilah said that MPKS, through its Tourism Unit, is ready to intensify promotions of local sites.
“Among our plans is to promote nature tourism products through social media while reminding tourists to comply with the Covid-19 prevention regulations.
“MPKS also wants to collaborate with the private sector and non-governmental organisations to carry out Corporate Social Responsibility activities,” she added.
Adopting the digital agenda
As one of Selangor’s agencies, MPKS is keen to take up the state’s smart challenge and offer its services via digital platforms.
“We have started using the iP3KS System platform, which gives the residents of Kuala Selangor the option of making payments online instead of having to physically go to the MPKS payment counters.
“People can review and make payments for their assessments and compounds, apply for and renew their licences, purchase tender documents and even make reservations for using the town hall,” she said.
The council has also taken the initiative to install 21 additional closed-circuit televisions (CCTVs) at hotspots across the district as early as next year.
She said the CCTVs will be placed at significant road junctions and areas with a high number of people.
“The main purpose of the CCTVs is to monitor the flow of traffic during peak hours. The data that we obtain will be used to analyse the efficiency of our existing traffic lights.
“The locations for the CCTVs were decided on with the help of the police, the Road Transport Department and members of the disabled community.
Initiatives and incentives
As a council that cares for the wellbeing of its residents, MPKS is paying close attention to how the pandemic is affecting people’s lives.
“Throughout the periods of the movement control order (MCO), MPKS had provided 1,500 food baskets to many families who needed help, including the residents of the high-density housing areas.
“We also provided retail spaces to small traders for rent. Every application goes through the proper process and must first meet the requirements set by the council,” she said.
She added that the existing tenants of MPKS-owned premises also received several incentives throughout the MCO periods.
“They include rental relief for premises that are not allowed to operate, a reduction of 30 per cent rental rates for food businesses and food processing manufacturers and the exemption of late fines to all tenants of such premises.
“Apart from that, MPKS has extended help to the small traders and small business owners whose income was affected by the MCO.
“For the small traders and hawkers, they can receive 40 per cent discounts on their rental sites until Dec 31, 2021.
“Meanwhile, car wash operators and owners of workshops and shops selling car accessories are allowed to pay their parking permits by instalment.
This article first appeared in the Selangor Journal monthly September edition, published on September 6, 2021.