KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 31, 2016:
“I am very satisfied with the development in Kuala Lumpur, this city is now ‘world class'”.
This was the response of former Kuala Lumpur city mayor Tan Sri Elyas Omar when asked on the progress of Kuala Lumpur at present.
Elyas, who served as Mayor from 1981 to 1992, was impressed at the metropolitan city which was now the benchmark for Malaysia’s development performance.
“Our plans have materialised with public transportation which are of world class, our systems are more sophisticated, the Mass Rapid Transit project is on par with those in developed cities such as New York and San Francisco,” he told Bernama during an exclusive interview recently.
He also praised the services of Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) for having shaped a city which was developing rapidly and turning it into a focus of employment leading to a rise in its population.
However, he suggested that DBKL and the Ministry of Federal Territories should focus on increasing the construction of affordable homes in the city.
Elyas said he was disappointed at the excessive prices of houses in the city which were beyond the reach of the medium income group.
In addition, at an interview in conjunction with Federal Territory Day to be celebrated on Monday, he suggested that DBKL redevelop areas which were classified as dilapidated into new villages.
He said such areas were occupied by the original residents of Kuala Lumpur during the Emergency period such as Kampung Pandan, Kampung Datuk Keramat, Kampung Baru, Gombak and Kampung Jinjang, here.
“Rebuild houses or buildings which are above 50 years old, turn them into traditional villages which are more systematically and innovatively designed,” he said, suggesting that traditional features should be maintained.
He said such redevelopment could help expand Kuala Lumpur comprehensively by making other areas into areas of focus apart from the city centre.
In addition, Elyas also suggested several development plans for Kuala Lumpur, including studying the method for creating underground cities, such as in Montreal, Canada.
He said it would be a good idea that studies were conducted to create cities underground due to the rapid development of Kuala Lumpur and scarcity of land.
“Even in other countries, authorities are researching to build subterranean cities due to the scarcity of land,” he said.
In terms of transportation infrastructure, he said the Light Rail Transit should be expanded to all areas in the city to help city folks shift towards using public transportation to reduce road congestion.
Elyas also expressed his willingness to provide advisory services and views to DBKL in planning development in the city.