Friday, July 08, 2011

MCA becoming more irrelevant when they can’t even get their facts right on Petaling Jaya Elevated City

I am very surprised to read some of the criticisms thrown at me and the state government on an issue that I had raised in the previous state assembly and recently in a press conference.

I asked in the state assembly during the April session a question on a proposed development named “PJ Elevated City” on a piece of land in SS8 Petaling Jaya, especially on the part of the construction of hostels which accommodate more than 10,000 factory workers.

A few days ago, Selangor MCA public services and complaints bureau head Theng Book accused me of being more concerned about foreigners than Malaysians, and using the foreigners as an excuse to develop the land.

Theng Book even said “Watch out, people of Petaling Jaya” and “They are taking all your land”, as reported in Free Malaysia Today, an online news portal. MCA legal adviser Lim Choon Kin, also pointed out that the project will drastically affecting the income of house owners in the area, who rent rooms to foreign workers.

Their statements reflect the poor performance of MCA leaders in dealing with issues as they cannot even get their facts right. This is only to show that MCA leaders are in desperado mode that they have to get themselves some quick media exposure, even if they have to issue partially wrong or totally wrong and unfounded statement.

As a matter of fact, “Petaling Jaya Elevated City” is a mixed development comprising not only the said hostels for factory workers but also commercial and recreational facilities as well as various high density residential projects.

They also accused the state government of not providing enough affordable homes to the people of Selangor, citing example that the federal government cares for the poor people by providing affordable homes which are to be sold at RM220,000 a unit.

This is another example on how irrelevant MCA is as they cannot even get the fact correct again. The Selangor PR state government Selangor had in fact launched an affordable housing scheme in Bangi not too long ago. Iskandar Samad, the state EXCO in charge of housing, told that the project will come under the Selangor State Development Corporation (PKNS) and this affordable housing scheme actually has houses that are bigger (750 to 850-sq ft) and more comfortable than low-cost houses, which are only 660-sq ft.

More important is that the maximum cost for each house is RM100,000, which is RM120,000 cheaper that houses built by the federal government under “My First Home Scheme”. If this is not PR’s commitment to provide more affordable homes to the people, then what authority does MCA have to criticize PR when homes to be built under “My First Home Scheme” are sold at RM120,000 higher than PKNS’ affordable homes? MCA cannot be so ignorant to ignore this fact or is it that they are becoming more and more irrelevant that they can’t even get their facts right?

The reason why I raised this question during the previous sitting of the State Assembly is because of the over-population in Sungai Way new village caused by a huge influx of factory workers who are mainly foreigners. No more than 100 houses out of 600 houses in the new village are converted into multi-storey hostels. Each hostel can easily accommodate 60 to 100 workers and the whole new village is over-crowded and choked with all sort of social, cleanliness and infrastructure problems. When we receive complaints from villagers almost on a daily basis, MCA Selangor’s criticism that the state government’s move is affecting the incomes of the locals who rent out their premises to foreign workers simply shows how disconnected MCA are from the ground.

More over it is very important for Selangor, not only to attract enough foreign and domestic investments, but also to supply sufficient labours, including knowledge workers to fuel the economic growth in Selangor. Therefore, the Selangor state government has requested all developers of industrial parks, including PKNS to also provide enough accommodation for both foreign and local workers to alleviate any potential social problem. This will also enable the management of the industrial parks to better manage foreign labours working in the industrial parks.

The fact that Selangor still lacks 60,000 workers proves that investors are still confident with Selangor. However, we shall not take things for granted. Investors will leave for better environment if the state government is incapable to fulfill their requirements. In short, Selangor must be competitive enough to attract investments.

In order to substantiate this, I would like to provide an extraction of a write up from Ngiam Tong Dow, former Permanent Secretary (Administrative Vice-Minister) of the Singapore Ministry of Finance and the Singapore Prime Minister’s Office. In his book entitled “A Mandarin and the making of public policy: reflections By Ngiam Tong Dow”, he wrote in page 64 and I quote:

“Around this period, Motorola, the handphone pioneer, was successfully wooed by Mr Chan Chin Bock to consider Singapore as one of their offshore manufacturing bases. Joy turned to anguish when Motorola told us that their company had a ‘no union’ policy. When EDB could not persuade the National Trade Union Congress (NTUC) to accept this even on principle, Motorola left for Petaling Jaya, Kuala Lumpur (KL) in Malaysia. Every time I went to KL for Currency Board meetings, the gleaming Motorola factories on the way to town turned me green with envy.”

I hereby attach a copy of the answer I have from the State Government to further clarify the matter.

202. Bertanya kepada Y.A.B Dato’ Menteri Besar:

a) Meminta kerajaan negeri memberi penerangan terperinci terhadap projek “PJ Elevated City” ini, khususnya terhadap pembinaan kompleks asrama yang akan menempatkan 10,000 pekerja kilang?

a) Mesyuarat MTES pada 16hb September 2009 telah memutuskan pembangunan di tanah milik Kerajaan Negeri dan MBPJ seluas 20 ekar perlu dibangunkan dengan mengambil kira keperluan Western Digital (10,000 unit asrama dan 3000 tempat letak kereta) dan MBPJ (bengkel dan pejabat) .

Tapak cadangan akan berfungsi sebagai “service centre” bagi perindustrian FIZ. Kawasan ini akan dibangunkan dengan kemudahan perdagangan, rekreasi dan perumahan berkepadatan tinggi (apartmen/apartmen servis/studio apartmen). PKNS telah dilantik sebagai pemaju dan MBPJ adalah pemilik sebahagian tanah.
Konsep pembangunan yang telah diluluskan oleh MTES pada 15hb Jun 2010 merangkumi komponen-komponen berikut :-
i. Hostel penginapan bagi 10,000 pekerja
ii. Tempat letak kereta tambahan sebanyak 3,000 petak untuk kegunaan industri sedia ada
iii. Kegunaan perdagangan (pejabat, retail, service apartment) dan
iv. Perumahan jenis apartmen

Kemajuan projek setakat ini masih diperingkat pengemukaan pelan cadangan dan penetapan tapak gentian bengkel

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