Monday, December 7, 2009

DBKL to focus on upgrading services and amenities

Source: (By BAVANI M, 7/12/2009)

A PEOPLE-centric budget for next year focusing on maintaining and upgrading existing public amenities as well as improving services is expected to be unveiled by the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) today. Kuala Lumpur mayor Datuk Ahmad Fuad Ismail who disclosed some details of the 2010 budget at a meeting with Kuala Lumpur MP’s on Friday had said the budget of RM2.12bil is aimed at ensuring that KLites enjoy a better quality of life with a better administered DBKL. DBKL’s 2010 budget with the theme “Putting People First’’ is aimed at promoting integrity and transparency and to emphasise on people-centric projects. DBKL has allocated RM1.102bil for administration costs for cleanliness, beautification, upgrading of pipes, roads, public amenities, recreation as well as safety while the RM1.07bil for development cost will focus more on projects that would benefit the residents. As for revenue, a bulk of DBKL earnings are from assessment (RM755mil), sale of asset/housing (RM451mil), rental of public housing (RM65mil), licence and permit (RM47.96mil) and planning and construction (RM116 mil). DBKL would also receive various grants from the Federal government totalling millions for administration and development purposes. Even though the budget is supposed to be more people friendly, city MP’s are disappointed that their request for a more detailed budget was not granted.

“They are talking about integrity and transparency and being accountable, but they are not practising it,’’ said disgruntled Cheras MP Tan Kok Wai. “Open up all the 20 departments in DBKL and show the various projects and contracts given out. The Public Works Department alone has over 100 projects amounting to hundreds of millions of ringgit. Show us all the contracts,’’ he said. Tan said that the DBKL is the third biggest spender in the country. “Compare KL’s RM2.12bil against Selangor’s RM1.2bil. On paper it would seem that KL’s two million residents are getting a fair deal compared to Selangor’s 5.6 million residents but KLites have the right to know where their money is going,’’ he added. Batu MP Tian Chua said that DBKL should allow elected reps to give input when formulating the budget. “Not just the budget. They should also let us see when tabling their annual audited accounts. We have the right to know how people’s money is being spent so there is some monitoring. This is certainly inadequate,’’ he said. Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar said DBKL needs to review the contracts of its service providers like Alam Flora. “Waste collection service has deteriorated ever since Alam Flora took over the management of waste in the city. “DBKL has to honour numerous contracts that are still running but the quality and service performance of these contractors must be re-examined as well,” she said. She also said the surplus budget, thanks to federal government assistance, formed a whopping 67.6% of the development expenditure and which also included a one-off payment amounting to RM451.3mil. “There is no rationale for distribution of development expenditure according to constituencies. DBKL is not answerable to Parliament. One example is the number of public housing in Bandar Tun Razak, Lembah Pantai and Bukit Bintang - 11, 3 and 5 respectively. “You would expect that the budget would follow the number of housing but Bandar Tun Razak gets RM79.2mil, Lembah Pantai 26mil and Bukit Bintang RM240mil. “As such, the RM2.12bil budget (even higher than that for Selangor and Penang), has to be tabled in Parliament, to constituents and to MPs. “This is made even more necessary with the disclosure that not even the Auditor General has the right to review the big budget.

“Such powers have been given to DBKL to freely use taxpayers’ money with no proper check and balance, save for some episodes of internal auditing.” “We were also informed, after a query, that an item under maintenance costing RM250mil (for 2010) has been transferred from the FT Ministry to DBKL in the form of the said amount. Hence for 2010, the maintenance item under the FT Ministry has been effectively erased. “How do we monitor and compare past and present implementation of maintenance works in our cities.

Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng feels that the budget allocation is a huge amount. “Make no mistake. It is still a deficit budget despite the extra windfall from the sale of PPR units. The RM451mil revenue from the sale of the flats is a ‘one off thing’ and DBKL cannot rely on that,’’ added Lim.

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