Monday, October 18, 2010

Public forum on Budget 2011

PUBLIC FORUM:  BUDGET 2011 - CHANGE OR CONTINUITY?
Date: 20 Oct 2010 (Wed)
Time: 8pm
Venue: Poolside Cove, Sunway Lagoon Club, No. 3, Jalan Lagoon Timur, Bandar Sunway

Speakers
MP for PJ Utara, Tony Pua
Chief Executive of Selangor Economic Advisory Office, Rafizi Ramli
MP for Klang, Charles Santiago
MP for Kuala Selangor, Dr. Dzulkefly Ahmad
Political analyst Dr. Ong Kian Ming
Organiser/moderator: Office of State Assemblywoman for Subang Jaya, Hannah Yeoh

Admission: Free

Map : Please click here

Enquiries: 019-2865858

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Civil service gives FOI Bill the thumbs up


By Stephanie Sta Maria

SHAH ALAM: Civil servants in Selangor today overcame their initial apprehension over the state government's Freedom of Information (FOI) Bill and threw their support behind its enactment. 
At a feedback session held by the Special Committee on Competence, Accountability and Transparency (Selcat) this morning, representatives from various government bodies in the state highlighted certain “vague” clauses in the Bill which they warned would hinder its enforcement.

These concerns included the appointment of an information officer, the definition of specific words, the basis on which a person is deemed “not entitled” to information, how information is disseminated and the response time frame.

On hand to address their concerns were FOI select committee members and assemblymen comprising Saari Sungib (Hulu Kelang), Hannah Yeoh (Subang), Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad (Seri Setia), Dr Ahmad Yunus Hairi (Sijangkang) and Amirudin Shari (Batu Caves).

Many questioned whether information officer meant a new appointee or an extension of powers for the current hire. They stated their preference for the latter, explaining that it would be more cost-effective.

A considerable number of terms, meanwhile, also caused confusion among the civil servants due to the lack of details and definition of each.

“It states that the department is not required to comply with an application for information which is vexatious and unreasonable,” said a Yayasan Selangor representative.

“What is considered vexatious and unreasonable? Some may equate it to photocopying 20 pages. You must clearly define this,” she added.

“Another clause states that applications to access information may be refused by the department when the applicant is not entitled to this information. Who determines this entitlement and what is its basis?”

Here, another representative interjected and said that the above mentioned clause contradicted with an earlier one that states that “any person may be given access to information made by every department”.

“The Bill is called Freedom of Information but there are so many restrictions,” she added. “Perhaps it would be more accurate to rename it Access to Information instead.”

Amirudin shot down this suggestion and said that the restrictions were necessary to avoid the overstepping of state power.

“The FOI Bill is named as such not because we want to draw a line between black and white but because we want transparency to be part of the culture in Selangor,” he added.

The civil servants also protested the 30-day time line between the approval of an application and the delivery of information.

They explained that certain requests would involve the coordination of several departments which could possibly take longer, especially if the information required was several years old.

On that same note, they asked that a time frame be imposed on the information requested as some are not available after a 10-year period.

A boost to people's confidence
Saari, the committee chair, concluded the session by saying that the Selangor government's intention is to uphold the people's basic right to information.

“The FOI Bill is in line with the government's practice of democracy,” he said. “We will take the dominant points of this discussion to the next state assembly sitting and your input will be included in the amendments.”

Nik Nazmi added to this by underlining the government's efforts to boost the people's confidence in it via the Bill.

“There are many times when this 'classified information' finds its way onto blogs,” he noted. “So it is important for our laws to catch up and keep up with technology.”

Hannah later stressed the importance of the civil service support of the Bill as they are the “arms and legs” of making the enactment “functional”.

“This is the first time that  the voice of the civil service has been included in a legislation,” she observed. “It's a good learning step for them to see and understand how this state government functions – that it wants their contributions in improving a future legislation.”

“Today's session was very important and completed our entire exercise. Many times we conduct research and put forth proposals without being aware of the practical issues faced by the civil service. This is why so many legislations in Malaysia lack enforcement.”

The Selangor government made history when it tabled the Bill during the last state assembly sitting in July. It consulted various civil society groups in drafting this legislation but faced criticism from certain quarters for excluding international best practices in the drafts.

A third reading of the Bill will be done during the next sitting in March 2011 after which the government is hoping to have it passed.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Latest : Gated & Guarded guidelines


Click here to read the guidelines issued by Kementerian Perumahan Dan Kerajaan Tempatan (KPKT) on Gated Community and Guarded Neighbourhood.

I welcome feedback from residents on the guidelines, will raise them with the State Exco and State Planning Committee.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Assisting residents of Mutiara Perdana apartment in PJS 7

At the press conference

Article from the Malay Mail  

Sewerage treatment plant mess

Thursday, September 16th, 2010 10:12:00
 
SUBANG JAYA: In today's modern centralised sewerage treatment systems, it is disheartening to know the management of Mutiara Perdana apartment in PJS 7 here still have to manage their own sewerage treatment plant.

Worse, the national sewerage concessionaire, Indah Water Konsortium (IWK), refuses to take over this service for the apartments.

"When we consulted IWK, they said our plant is not built in accordance to the specifications required and told us to 'fix' the plant first before it can be surrendered to them," explained the apartment's joint management body (JMB) chairman Amarjeet Singh.

With JMB, managing agent and MPSJ councillor for Zone 2, Edward Ling at the sewerage treatment plant

He said the problem was due to the developer failing to surrender the sewerage treatment to IWK, forcing the JMB to manage the plant themselves.

Amarjeet said the cost of maintaining the sewerage treatment plant could go up to RM30,000 annually.

"Right now, we can only afford to do corrective maintenance of repairs only if the plant breaks down, as monthly maintenance is too costly.The plant also consumes lots of electricity because its pumps are running 24-7. The power bill alone can cost us up to RM15,000 a year."


Asked about what changes were needed to comply with IWK specifications, Amerjeet said: "After we calculated the cost, we were surprised that the upgrading cost can shoot up to over RM100,000. The cheapest quotation is RM50,000."

And the JMB's problems don't end there - as some of the plant's pumps were stolen recently.

Subang Jaya assemblyman Hannah Yeoh said she had gone with the JMB for a meeting with the National Water Service Commission (Span) to seek viable solutions but found the only way was still to upgrade the plant.

"So now, the management is calling on residents and owners to come forward and chip in to a special fund for this upgrading purpose so they can finally surrender the sewerage treatment to IWK.


"This is for the benefit of residents as a properly maintained sewerage plant will reduce the possibility of recurring sewerage problems. I hope the residents will cooperate with the management."

There are 232 units in the apartment complex, with 70 per cent occupancy.

Yeoh also spoke up on the fencing problem around the perimeter of the apartments, which had caused concern among residents due to several trespassing cases.

She said her office had contributed RM3,000 from the State allocation to increase the height of the fence - adding three feet to the current five-foot-high fence.

 Examining the current fence

"Robbery and burglary cases are somewhat frequent because of the easy access. Last year, there were about 20 cases and another two to three cases were recorded recently."

Yeoh also chided the irresponsible developer, who has wound up and fled. She said since 2008, the apartment - which received the Certificate of Fitness (CF) in 2007 - was without electricity, water supply and even has an outstanding amount of water supply payments (due to installation of bulk meter earlier) which had since been sorted out.

"The Housing and Local Government Ministry should look into into issues of irresponsible developers abandoning properties, causing residents to suffer.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Breast Cancer Awareness program


This is a good effort by Sunway Medical Centre for the ladies. For more details, kindly contact Ms Sandriana at 03 7491 1115 or e-mail at sandrianaam@sunway.com.my
 

Meeting residents of SS18/5


I finally managed to upload photographs of my meeting with residents of SS18/5. 

The residents organised a clean up session for their neighbourhood.

Young and old came out in full force to ensure their housing area is free from breeding grounds for Aedes mosquitoes.

After the clean up, residents had a dialogue session with me, MPSJ councillor Dr Loi, police and also bomba representatives.

The residents even took time to celebrate the birthday of their neighbour - a youthful looking senior citizen.