Saturday, June 18, 2005


By Brenda Lim

RM51.5 million for landscaping and RM1.5 million for poverty eradication. This is what the Kuala Kangsar Municipal Council requested under the Ninth Malaysia Plan. And it had local MP Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz steaming today. "Tourism is tourism, but we have to take care of the people, too," she said, criticising the "topsy-turvy" budget and urging the council to review it.

Rafidah, who is also International Trade and Industry Minister, was puzzled why the council allocated RM11.2 million to landscape its Sayong river front, RM8 million to set up a pocket park, RM3.6 million to upgrade housing areas and RM1.8 million for "greening" the roads.

"Tourists won’t come into housing areas to see the flowers. They have better flowers back where they come from," she said.

She said that the council should focus on basic amenities, schools, infrastructure and socio-economic activities.

Rafidah (left) noted that many budgets appeared skewed towards landscaping projects and intended to raise this matter at the next Cabinet meeting.

During a meeting with Chinese community leaders today, she was told that the National Landscape Department paid RM300,000 in consultancy fees to a company owned by a university lecturer to propose landscaping ideas for Kuala Kangsar.

"Even to plant flowers, we need consultants?"

She noted that the allocations requested for landscaping and beautification projects made up almost half the RM118 million requested by the council under the Ninth Malaysia Plan.

She suggested that gotong-royong activities be held to beautify the town, stressing there was no need for landscaping consultants.

The council requested only RM7 million for schools, RM7.6 million for socio-economic purposes, RM13.5 million for city services and RM32 million for infrastructure development.

NST Friday 17/6/2005

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