FIRST term MPSJ councillor Kamarul Hisham is no push-over serving the community under his care. Despite this being his maiden tour as councillor for Jawatankuasa Penduduk Zon 4 (which covers USJ1 to USJ6), he has managed to successfully bring the community under him together. We talked to him recently on how he is coping working in an area which is a potpourri of residential, commercial and industrial zones.
- How long has it been since you took over the reins as councillor? Has it been a roller-coaster ride from the very beginning?
– I was sworn in as MPSJ Councillor on 26th July 2018, so it has been almost a year since I took over. Actually, I must say that it was a very smooth transition from my previous predecessor Izham Hashim who has now become the Assemblyman for Pandan Indah and also Selangor Exco for Infrastructure and Public Amenities, Agricultural Modernisation and Agro–based Industry. I took the role quite seriously as this is a big responsibility for me and having a great team in JKP 4 has also helped to smoothen my work here. I believe because of this factor, JKP 4 was recently awarded Best JKP MPSJ for Year 2018. This was a big surprise for us because we had never won the Grand Prize before.
- How long was your stint in JKP 4 when Selangor Exco for Infrastructure and Public Amenities, Agricultural Modernisation and Agro–based Industry Izham Hashim was the councillor? Has this helped you when you took over the leadership?
– Ever since Pakatan Rakyat took over the state government in 2008, I was the Secretary for JKP 4 for the past 3 Councillors before me. I served for 4 years as secretary for JKP 4 under Councillor Izham Hashim. I believe being under his leadership has helped to prepare me with solid grounds and vast amount of experience for my stint as the new Councillor and continue the good work that he has done in this area.
- What are the pressing issues in your zone? How do you (or have you) plan to tackle them? Do the issues vary from residential to commercial to industrial areas?
– For the last 10 years, Zone 4 only covered the neighbourhood of USJ 1. However, due to the redelienation of the Parlimentary and State seat in GE14, DUN Subang Jaya has become bigger which extends up to USJ 22. As such, when I was first sworn in, I was asked to take a bigger portion of the zoning apart from USJ1. First we decided to just split USJ into 2 where Zone 4 covers USJ 1 to USJ 10 and Zone 3 to cover USJ 11 to USJ 22. However, after a few months, MPSJ realised that my area was just too big to cover and upon discussions with MPSJ, Adun Subang Jaya and Zone 3 Councillor, it was agreed and decided that Zone 4 is to cover USJ 1 to USJ 6.
The pressing issues in my Zone currently are increasing dengue cases, general cleanliness of the residential and playground areas and abandoned vehicles around residential/commercial/industrial areas. The USJ 2/4 and USJ 2/5 under Zone 4 has been a dengue hotspot for more than 100 days this year. Apart from organizing gotong-royong, we recently conducted a search and destroy program with Petaling District Health Department, MPSJ Health Department, Adun Subang Jaya’s office and RA/RTs of USJ 2 where we did house-to-house search of Aedes larvae breeding grounds. It is also an activity where we give awareness to residents about the cleanliness of their own homes and where the potential breeding grounds for the Aedes larvae are. In USJ 2/4, out of 76 houses inspected, 6 breeding grounds were found inside the houses and 15 within the housing compound. While in USJ 2/5 just recently, out of 81 houses inspected, 3 breeding spots were found inside the houses while another 3 within the house compound.
To my surprise Angsana low-cost flats which have always been a dengue hotspot every year since I was in JKP 4, is currently free from hotspot. I believe this was due to the efficiency of the domestic waste collection at 5 refuse chambers here done by the KDEB contractor who is solely appointed to collect domestic waste from Angsana low-cost flat. Previously, the rubbish at these 5 refuse chambers would be all scattered and sometimes uncollected for a few days exposing them and making them breeding grounds for Aedes larvae.
KDEB took over from MPSJ since January 2019 for domestic waste collections and general cleaning of residential areas and commercials. Although there were several hiccups at the beginning, the quality of work still needs to be improved especially for the general cleaning. I received regular complaints from residents about clogged drains, dried leaves not picked up and many more. We had a few meetings with KDEB to sort out these issues. KDEB even presented their monthly report to Councillors in MPSJ. As for the cleaning of the playground areas, it is still under the MPSJ Landscape Department jurisdiction and many discussions and meetings have been held to sort the problems out. Hopefully, these problems would be resolved soon for the benefit of the residents.
Abandoned vehicles also post a threat to the community in a way that it is also potentiol breeding grounds for Aedes larvae. Many abandoned cars can be found around USJ 1 Industrial areas and also Angsana low-cost flats, some have been stacked up for many years and were left there by irresponsible individuals/companies. MPSJ had limited storage space to allocate these abandoned cars and as such would not be able to attend to all the complaints pertaining to this issue. However, I am constantly discussing with the relevant departments to resolve this issue.
- Is tackling the issues in Angsana low-cost flats one of the major challenges as a councillor for you? What kind of help are you getting from MPSJ and other related agencies?
– Yes, definitely Angsana low-cost flats is a big challenge but for every challenge I believe there is an opportunity for us in JKP 4 to do good things here. This time around MPSJ had introduced “Program Pangsapuri dan Kampung Angkat – Komuniti Berdaya”, where every Councillor is to choose a low-cost flat in their area and conduct programs there. With the budget allocated by MPSJ specially for this program we hope we are able to bring some positive changes to the living conditions for these flat dwellers and also to empower them to become better citizens. There are a few programs and projects in the pipeline. For example, recently we had organised a workshop for ketupat weaving a few days before Hari Raya headed by one of the resident who had recently won a grand prize in a ketupat weaving competition during Tun M’s launching of the Dasar Komuniti Negara in Puchong. More than 40 residents participated and prior to that, Baskin MPSJ had managed to get an order of 200 ketupat from as far as Kuala Langat and Sepang. Cash from the sales of these ketupats were distributed among the ladies who participated in the workshop. The most recent project which I am very excited about is the 100 Murals project which will be announced soon. We are liaising with MPSJ and NGO’s who are interested to work with JKP 4 to rejuvenate Angsana low-cost flats by means of exciting and educational mural paintings. I am also pleased that after almost two and a half years, KRT Pangsapuri Angsana was officially formed recently and JKP 4 is looking forward to work together with the recently formed committee.
- Tell us a bit about yourself. What do you do for a living? Tell us a little bit about your family.
– I was born 49 years ago in University Hospital PJ where my mom worked ever since she was still single. My father passed away when I was 12 years old. I am the eldest of 3 siblings. I am married with 3 children; 2 daughters (16 years and 11 years old) and a 14 year old son. My wife is currently a dentist in Shah Alam. Apart from being the MPSJ Councillor, I am also a practising architect in USJ 1 since 2001. In addition, I am also currently the State Secretary for Parti Amanah Negara (AMANAH) Negeri Selangor and also the Assistant Secretary for Pakatan Harapan (PH) Negeri Selangor. I was also previously the Assistant Secretary for Parti Amanah Negara (AMANAH) Nasional but I recently resigned due to my heavy commitment here in MPSJ and Selangor.
- As an architect, do you see the potential to improve the living conditions of the areas under your care? Share with us some insights.
– I do see the potential but it is very limited due to budget constraints and several other factors. For instance, I may have ideas on how to create and beautify the communal spaces within the Angsana low-cost flats. Ideally it may work but practically it needs commitment and cooporation amongst the residents as well as the budget to do it. Collaboration with NGO’s is an option but as long as the mindset of the residents is not change, the whole idea may be redundant. Perhaps, a visit to established and well-maintained low-cost flats within Malaysia may open the eyes of the residents so that they will have a clearer picture of what Angsana can be in the future. A few years ago I was involved in the design of a public library using containers in Kg Lindungan, PJS 6 where I spent most of my childhood. In a way it was like a token for me to give back to the community. It was quite a success in a sense that the community was also involved in part of the design process. It would be nice to do it here in Zone 4 someday, I hope.
In certain cases, I have also used my experience as an architect to provide technical advise to residents on the Uniform Building By-law (UBBL) in relation to their building plan submission. I was also approached by Adun’s office and other parties for advise on matters or complaints related to building plan submission and planning permission.
- If you suddenly had a windfall of RM1mil, what would you use it for in the community? Tell us why too.
– RM1mil is a large sum of money indeed. Definitely, I would use it in Angsana low-cost flats. Firstly, I would use it to change all the lifts here because they are more than 15 years old. The lives of the residents here have been mostly affected with deteriorated lifts. I have seen cases where the elderly and disabled people had to be carried up and down the staircases due to the faulty lifts. Secondly, the external walls of these flats need a fresh coat of paint. With vibrant and lively colours, it is hoped that the fresh coat of paint will bring cheer to the residents here in Angsana. Any balance amount will be distributed based on the need of each area in Zone 4.
- What are your plans for the remaining time as councillor during this term?
– Currently MPSJ is in collaboration with various agencies such as MBI, LUAS, JPS, PTD and KDEB in pursuing the SJ Riverfront project along the Klang River which will be carried out in phases. The first phase of this project shall involve the area along Angsana low-cost flats and will take a period of 2 years from now till 2020. As part of the project, I will be involved in many engagements and townhall meetings with Agsana residents to explain and elaborate to them the benefits of this project as a whole to their community. The kick-off meeting was held in April this year followed by a technical meeting in May. The first public event will be held during JKP 4 Hari Raya Open House on 7th July 2019 where an exhibition of the SJ Riverfront project shall be on display for residents to view. In addition, MPSJ will educate and train a group of residents from Angsana as ‘River Rangers’ where they will be given training on how to protect the river and make it sustainable for the next generation in line with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)