Monday June 22, 2009
PJ folk question the need for another upgrade
By YIP YOKE TENG
THE Section 5 Petaling Jaya Residents Association is questioning the rationale behind spending a substantial amount of ratepayers money to upgrade the pedestrian pavement along Jalan Gasing since the current one had only been in use for seven months.
They said the pavement built with interlocking bricks was in excellent condition and had already been resurfaced in December last year.
“We do not know why the bricks need to be replaced and we are informed that the project cost RM1.2mil,” association president Johan Tung Abdullah said.
Barely seven months later, part of the new pavement was cut out and tactile blocks were inserted to make the pavements more disabled friendly. This, the residents discovered, cost about RM200,000.
“We are very unhappy with what’s happening now. Why did they replace the interlocking bricks in the first place and why did they only make it disabled friendly seven months later? Why the poor planning?” Johan asked.
He said while creating disabled- friendly features was commendable, the council should also survey the area to see if there was a demand.
“We are of the opinion that the previous administration and its councillors had spent ratepayers’ money in a rushed and irresponsible manner as evidenced by the Petaling Jaya Municipal Council (MBPJ) having to spend additional money to rip apart the seven-month-old pavement to install disabled-friendly features,” he said.
The association also questioned the need to replace the road name plaques in the neighbourhood as the old ones were still in good condition.
“Ratepayers in 2006 protested against a 10% increase in assessment and this is a good example why the protest was valid as the council seems to lack good financial governance and accountability in its expenditure,” Johan said.
He said the residents demanded for a reduction in assessments for landed property owners since serviced apartment owners had enjoyed a 2% drop in assessment rates this year.
“Our assessment rates were raised from 8% to 8.8% in 2006 but property owners in premium areas such as Bangsar and Bukit Damansara pay only 6% to 7%,” he said.
All-Petaling Jaya Residents Associations Coalition (APAC) chairman Liew Wei Beng did not welcome the upgrading of the pavement, either.
“Has the council done any survey to see how many blind people would use the facility to justify the high amount of money spent? The councillor involved in the decision should explain the move,” he said.
“If it is only for the use of one or two blind persons, then it is certainly not justifiable as there are a lot more old drains, roads and infrastructure in Petaling Jaya in need of an upgrade,” he added.
Petaling Jaya mayor Datuk Mohamad Roslan Sakiman said he was not aware of the upgrading of Jalan Gasing’s pedestrian pavement and would demand a report from the council’s engineering department.
“The move was made without consulting me and I would not have agreed to it.
“Anyway, I take the complaint positively and will table it to the board of councillors,” he said.
On the replacement of road name plaques, he said the move was necessary to enhance Petaling Jaya’s image as a city.
“The city cannot remain unchanged for decades. In fact, we need to replace the street lamp posts to spruce up the city’s image.
“Can you imagine coming back to Petaling Jaya 10 years later and discover that nothing has changed? That should not be the way,” he said.
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