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New FT minister has work cut out
15/04/2009 NST By Minderjeet Kaur

IF the new Federal Territories minister were to start jotting down what needs to be done to improve the city in a notebook it would be full in no time.

He would probably be wondering which problem should he tackle first. Any wrong moves could land him in hot water as he could be accused of getting his priorities wrong or be branded as inexperienced.

Senator Datuk Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin has six months to prove his abilities in the hot seat.

Time is not on his side as expectations are running high on the part of the business community and city folk who are worried about the economic crisis.

There are several issues which he should look into immediately to win the hearts and minds of the people and prove that he is capable of turning Kuala Lumpur into a world-class city by 2020.

First, he should meet the business community and act on their grouses.

Most of them have been hit by the economic slowdown.

They have been appealing to the government and City Hall for help for a long time.

They want a share of the RM60 billion stimulus package to kick-start their businesses.

They have said that they want to retain their workforce but are unable to do it without government assistance.

The new minister should also hold discussions with the business community to look for ideas to create jobs.

By boosting the business community, the minister would, indirectly, be helping to increase employment opportunities and reduce social problems related to unemployment.

Second, he should meet representatives from Barisan Nasional component parties who have a list of questions for him, ranging from housing problems to satisfying public sentiment.

This is because, even though 10 of the 11 parliamentary constituencies are under the opposition, people still go to BN service centres for help.

Third, he needs to work with non-governmental organisations which deal with the poor, disabled and sex workers.

NGOs have been clamouring for less red tape, especially when it concerns disabled people who are looking for jobs or training.

Several NGOs also want City Hall to place sex workers and drug addicts in suitable locations or create job opportunities to reduce crime in the Chow Kit area.

The minister will be meeting the opposition. He will list down their problems and issues and pass them on to Mayor Datuk Ahmad Fuad Ismail to act on.

In doing this, he should take a personal interest in the problems raised and give members of parliament a time frame for them to be solved, especially when it involves bigger issues affecting the community or a housing estate.

However, it may be difficult to come to an agreement with all 10 opposition MPs.

Despite organising various training programmes and issuing warnings about stern action against any staff caught taking duit kopi (bribes), Transparency International felt that City Hall was not doing enough to improve its credibility.

Raja Nong Chik is also expected to do a lot of walkabouts and listen to the grouses of the people.

City folk are fed up with the rush-hour traffic. They also want to see an end to flash floods which have robbed them of their valuables and peace of mind.

They don't want haphazard development.

They also want cleaner air in the city.

They want entertainment outlets to be more suitably located and more parking spaces at reasonable rates.

They want more greenery and clean rivers.

Their demands may seem endless but, really, all they desire is for Kuala Lumpur to be a better city to live in and a place that they can be proud to call home.

They are now pinning their hopes on the new boss to lead the city in the right direction and keep whatever promises he may make to them.


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