NOVEMBER 1 — We would like to express our appreciation for the newly appointed Menteri Besar, Azmin Ali for taking the time to attend the “Programme Turun Padang” in Petaling Jaya yesterday.
More importantly, however, was the message he delivered to the people of Petaling Jaya as well as our senior civil servants, including the Mayor for Petaling Jaya City Council, Datin Paduka Alinah Ahmad and the Petaling District Officer, Dato Misri Idris.
Over the past few months, the people of Petaling Jaya have been extremely concerned with several developments which may have a severe and irreversible impact on the quality of life in the city.
In particular, we have been worried about the new highway concession, Kinrara-Damansara Expressway (Kidex) being granted a carte blanche to build the highway regardless of its impact and implications.
The residents were also concerned about the draft revision of the Petaling Jaya Local Plan (RTPJ) which among other things, rezoned certain developments for higher density as well as the complete removal of existing guidelines for Development Orders and Building Plans.
We are happy that the new menteri besar announced a marked shift in policy-making for the state.
While the menteri besar said that the Selangor state government is not against the construction of highways, any highway to be built must prove itself beneficial to the rakyat. As such, certain conditions must be met including:
a. The concessionaire must provide a traffic impact study demonstrating substantial benefit for commuters in terms of reducing traffic congestion and travel time.
b. There must be full transparency on the rate of return of the highway including the toll rates to be charged. This is to ensure that there will be no astronomical profits for the concessionaire and unfair burden on the users.
c. In line with the transparency and accountability practice of the state government, Azmin Ali also demanded that the concession agreement must be fully disclosed to the public.
Therefore any concessionaire must meet the above conditions before the state grants its approval for the project to proceed.
With regards to the revised RTPJ, Azmin reiterated that the Pakatan Rakyat Selangor government believes in transparency and good governance when deciding on the new local plan for Petaling Jaya.
As such he announced that the Mayor and the local councillors appointed by the state government, together with the people's elected representatives must sit down together and agree on the new draft plan in line with the aspirations of the people of Petaling Jaya. This is in the spirit of democratic practices respecting the rights and wishes of the people, a fundamental principle upheld by Pakatan Rakyat
He emphasised that only when this agreement is achieved, the new draft, with any necessary revisions, shall be presented to the State for consideration and approval.
We welcome and fully support the above announcements by the new Menteri Besar. The position taken represents a marked shift in policy-making from the previous administration's top-down “take it or leave it” approach. It shows that the Pakatan Rakyat Government is inclusive in its decision-making processes and prioritises the interest and welfare of the people as opposed to vested interest parties.
In a gist, Azmin Ali has expanded beyond the state government’s “Merakyatkan Ekonomi Selangor” programmes to “Merakyatkan Kerajaan Negeri Selangor.” These important initial positions taken by the new Menteri Besar certainly augurs well for the future and goes a long way towards regaining the confidence and support of the people.
Media Statement by Tony Pua, DAP Selangor chairman and Member of Parliament for Petaling Jaya Utara on November 1, 2014.
* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail Online.