By Danial Dzulkifly
SHAH ALAM, Sept 21 — Selangor Menteri Besar Dato’ Seri Amirudin Shari has emphasised the state’s need for increased funding and attention from the federal government to maintain its extensive network of public infrastructure, which include federal roads and flood mitigation projects.
Amirudin said the state administration is aware of the federal government’s approach to more sustainable policies aimed at elevating Malaysia’s socio-economic status and strengthening its fiscal position, which Selangor fully supports.
However, he said there is still a pressing need for the state to focus its efforts on providing good infrastructure to support its expanding economic activities and accommodate the significant population surge driven by steady migration.
“The primary focus of the Selangor government is ‘going back to basics’. This means ensuring the smooth operation of economic activities for the public and providing top-quality public amenities and infrastructure.
“I am cognisant of the federal government’s policies that emphasise providing a livable wage to its citizens, enacting a just economy and delving into new economic sectors.
“However, in Selangor, we believe that enhancing these aspects is directly linked to our ‘back to basics’ approach centred on public amenities,” he said during his opening remarks at the Budget 2024 Roadshow dialogue at the state administration building, here, today.
“The point we wish to underscore to the federal government today concerns flood mitigation in areas like Meru, Kapar, Sungai Langat and Sungai Damansara. All these locations are part of the flood mitigation projects announced by the federal government.”
Amirudin said it is crucial that these projects be expedited, noting the trauma Selangor citizens had to endure due to the major floods in 2021.
“This has, to some extent, shaken investors’ confidence, with many continually querying us whether flooding remains an issue,’’ he said at the programme, which was also attended by Deputy Finance Minister II Steven Sim Chee Keong.
The nationwide dialogue roadshow provides an opportunity for the Finance Ministry to gather insights from each state administration.
This feedback will act as a guide on policy changes and adjustments in the Budget 2024, which is set to be tabled by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in Parliament on October 13.
Increase Marris allocation, please
In his speech, Amirudin also stressed on the necessity for an increased allocation under the Malaysian Road Records Information System (Marris) to allow the state to better upkeep roads within its jurisdiction.
He appealed to the federal government to allow the state to utilise more than the currently allocated 10 per cent of funds for the maintenance of federal roads.
“In Selangor, we grapple with issues related to federal roads, the quality of which has been called into question due to the modest allocation given to the state’s Public Works Department, which is responsible for major roads, especially in industrial areas.”
He said primary complaints are in Klang, particularly concerning roads leading to Port Klang and Pulau Indah.
“At present, we cannot simply point out whether a particular road falls under state or federal jurisdiction. Ultimately, it’s the (state) government that bears the brunt of the criticism,’’ he said.
Amirudin pointed out that each year, the state government receives between RM400 million to RM600 million from Marris, of which about “99 to 100 per cent” are utilised for road maintenance.
“In terms of policy, we’re appealing to the federal government to at least allow us to use 15 per cent of the Marris allocation to upkeep federal roads. Often, these roads need immediate attention, but our hands are tied since they fall under federal jurisdiction.
“Thus, we’re requesting permission to use the Marris funds for immediate remedial actions until federal funds can be allocated for proper resurfacing of these roads,’’ he said.
In response to Amiruddin, Sim, during his address at today’s dialogue, said current Finance Ministry guidelines already allow states to utilise up to 20 per cent of the funds for federal road maintenance, and that states only need to file a formal request.