It is 2021. Time flew by just like that and it felt faster the past year compared to before. The past year we have been constantly reminded about this highly infectious virus called Covid-19. Each day, we look at the statistics ever changing of new cases where it is now a norm to have cases in the thousands in the past few weeks.
The extension upon extension of whatever xxCO (xx Control Order) seems to be a new norm. This is certainly going to continue in 2021. We have been informed of the vaccines being distributed overseas. In Singapore, their front-liners have been the first to receive. In contrast, some Malaysian politicians decided that they would like to be the first to show that it is safe. It is a solid fact that politicians today have no more care for you and me other than entertaining you with their rhetoric and clowning around. Political elites and the social elites would definitely look for the opportunity to get the vaccines.
As we head into 2021, we would have to see what the government has in her plans to quickly find a new way for the slowing economy. We have read how the High Speed Rail project lapsed on 31st December 2020 and the need for contractual obligations to proceed in view of this. Would this cost Malaysia? The answer to this question remains to be seen. What is sure now is that the 350km connection from Singapore to Malaysia which would take 90 minutes (from the previous 11 hours) remains a distant dream. This would affect improved leisure and business opportunities as it is far more convenient than the shuttle flights between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.
Our domestically driven economy is still untapped and much to be desired. The import and export business rely much on the global demand and supply. This is even made harder with stricter regulations on health safety within the shipping and logistics industries across the world. The construction and manufacturing industry seemed to have slowed and it does not help with spikes in Covid -19 cases within those industries.
Nevertheless, we would need to see more jobs being created by the Government as giving hand-outs and the relaxation of rules pertaining your dipping into your savings jar would have a defining future effect. Even today, we have read how the ASB (Amanah Saham Bumiputra) dividend has dropped to 4.25% and those who have taken loans for investments would have to figure out how their rates fare against the earnings. Not a nice end for 2020 but I guess the situation warrants it. Weak spending and a negative 1% inflation rate are what we face going into 2021.
I have gone to the shopping centres during the days prior to Christmas and it was a stark reality that the crowd was nowhere near what we used to see. It has thinned considerably. Many shops though opened saw few people within. This was also due to the SOPs currently in place to manage capacity. Many have even opted for shorter operation hours in order to manage their costs. A good idea actually when you see that between the hours of 8pm till 10pm, shopping centres start to turn into ghost towns. Maybe we should emulate what shopping centres in Australia do. They only open from 9am till about 6pm and only have longer hours on Thursday nights. A cost saving for sure. Many of those who came to shopping centres needed to just get out of their own homes. Hardly much shopping was seen during Christmas.
By the way, how many of you here knew that MPSJ has been elevated into a city status as of 20th October 2020? Many I have asked, did not know and only wondered why the logo changed. I guess they may have seen the various buntings around showing the new MBSJ logo.
We do hope that MBSJ continues to improve the public facilities around SS14, SS15, SS16, USJ1, USJ9, USJ10 and USJ21. The connectivity between bus stops and LRT stations must still be an important aspect of Subang Jaya. It is time to consider the strict requirement of a road green shoulder between the road and the walkways.
There is a need still to also look at the pedestrian bridges and pedestrian crossings which would need a review to ensure they are placed within the natural walking path. The back lanes behind shops should be targeted for cleanliness and safety. Most of these are deplorable with open kitchens and grease. Perhaps it would be good ideas to have the property owners take responsibility for their perimeter cleanliness. Otherwise you would see discarded plastic and face masks everywhere. Even green areas around Subang Jaya’s commercial areas have rubbish strewn onto them. These green grass patches have become disposal centres. Let us not litter as this is seems to be a huge problem now.
You cannot deny that Subang Jaya is not getting any cleaner. We have lost many trees although promised of replacements. Many years have passed. People have forgotten. We also have this green lung in Subang Ria Recreational Park. I remembered this was supposed to be upgraded to make it into the ‘Central Park’ of Subang Jaya. Nothing much has been done.
With Subang Jaya becoming a city, we hope for better and greener padangs, better basketball courts, better street football courts, better yet accessible bus stops, better bicycle lanes, improved walkways, brighter and safer commercial areas, beautiful landscapes and the use of technology for everything. Let us have a new hope for a better Subang Jaya. Let us go back to basics. Let us make this a Garden City.
Here is wishing you a Happy New Year!