MALAYSIA Tanah Tumpah Darahku



Saturday, December 31, 2022

My 7 wishes for DBKL in 2023


From V Ravindran

The Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur covers an area of 243 sq km with a census population of about two million as of 2020.

Kuala Lumpur, or KL, is a cultural melting pot with unique city attractions. It has been recognised as the only global city in the country and is highly ranked by expatriates.

The surrounding areas are the most industrialised and fastest-growing economic regions in Malaysia.

According to digital travel platform Agoda, KL is ranked third (Bangkok tops the list with South Korea’s Jeju Island at second) out of the top 15 global summer destinations of 2022.

Malaysians and KLites are justifiably proud of KL’s status as a major attraction for both local and foreign tourists.

This fact alone ensures a massive and steady flow of revenue to fuel our national development agenda and keep entrepreneurs in KL happy.

All said, we cannot rest on our laurels as our target should be a consistent top-five on the global list of cities to attract more tourists.

This requires more effective, consistent and professional efforts by our citizens, the corporate and public sectors, and local authorities – especially agencies under the massive umbrella of the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL).

DBKL, established in 1972, is a huge local authority with thousands of employees and an annual budget exceeding RM3 billion.

If effectively mobilised, it certainly has the capabilities and the capacity to make KL an even greater city in the coming years.

Great expectations require even greater effort. In this regard, my new year’s wish list (not in any particular order) for DBKL to immediately and effectively act on for 2023 is as follows:

• The upgrading and professional management of wet markets (both in permanent locations and morning markets) in designated city areas and housing estates in the suburbs. Many remain wet, dirty, unsightly, and stinky.

This is mostly due to mismanagement of waste materials, clogged drains, poor cleaning-up protocol, and weak enforcement. Bad hygiene, among others, can lead to the outbreak of diseases and food poisoning.

• Dirty back lanes and clogged drains seem to be the norm in many areas, especially behind shophouses, in both city areas and housing estates. Here too, bad hygiene can cause diseases to spread while clogged drains just make KL’s flood situation worse.

• Too many beggars and homeless persons are being sighted in the city centre, outer commercial zones, pedestrian bridges, and rail stations. Among the more obvious areas are around KL Sentral, the iconic transport hub for the city and the Klang Valley.

• More effective mitigation of floods. The recurrence of flash floods has shocked residents and visitors alike.

Many observers are still wondering about the promised effectiveness of KL’s Stormwater Management and Road Tunnel (SMART) which opened in 2007. Rightly so, as this RM2 billion, 10km tunnel was considered the world’s first dual-function tunnel, the longest stormwater drainage tunnel in Southeast Asia, and second longest in Asia when it was completed.

• More effective enforcement against illegal parking on city roads. It does not need a traffic consultant to observe that illegal parking is rampant when enforcement is weak.

• Urgent action on food stalls (both legal and illegal) operating on pedestrian pavements. In the KL Sentral area, for example, the tactile paths for the visually impaired are impacted and pavement tiles damaged due to such stalls. In the same area, random riding and parking of motorcycles with some weaving around pedestrians is common.

• DBKL must act decisively on the fate of Plaza Rakyat initiated in the 90s, the biggest (30 acres) and longest standing eyesore in the record books of Kuala Lumpur’s history.

It has been abandoned for more than 25 years partly due to the 1997 Asian financial crisis. It remains an eyesore in the heart of the city, frozen in time and has now become “home” to the homeless and drug addicts, not to mention being infested with rodents and mosquitoes.

The bustling metropolis of Kuala Lumpur certainly does not deserve this. - FMT

V Ravindran is a retired administrative and diplomatic service (PTD) officer and an FMT reader.

The views expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of MMKtT.

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