KOTA KINABALU May 1, 2012: All districts are now rating areas for local authorities, Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Hajiji Mohd Noor said.
Hajiji when announcing the matter said it was recently approved by the state government and there is a need to now discuss on how to gazette the rating areas.
There are a lot of housing estates and industrial areas throughout the state which are not under the rating areas of local authorities which means that they are not provided service such as rubbish collection, grass cutting and drain maintenance, he pointed out.
“With the approval, we can now provide these housing estates and industrial areas with the service and also collect assessment from them. This will in turn provide the local authorities with the funds to better improve their services,” he said.
Hajiji when delivering his address during a meeting with local authorities yesterday also lamented the fact that there are still many local authorities which have yet to implement the ‘Kempen Anti Kutu Sampah’ (Anti-litter bug campaign).
So far only eight local authorities, namely Kota Kinabalu City Hall and the municipal councils in Penampang, Tuaran, Sandakan, Tawau, Keningau, Papar and Tambunan have implemented the program, he disclosed.
“I hope that the other local authorities will take note of this and take action to implement the components of the campaign such as establishing litter free premises and LIFE (litter free events).
“I also hope that all local authorities will take the issue of cleanliness seriously as there have been complaints being forwarded to the Chief Minister of rubbish not being collected, drains not maintained and dirty public areas,” he said.
“No matter how sophisticated we are or how fast we develop and modernize the state, the lack of cleanliness can tarnish the image of the government and State so we must contribute to improving the cleanliness of Sabah by ensuring that we have a high level of cleanliness,” he stressed.
Another issue which Hajiji felt must be resolved is the auditor’s report 2011 which listed out several matters that needed to be looked into.
Among the matters was the outstanding arrears accumulated by several local authorities. Therefore those involved must double their efforts to collect the arrears as soon as possible.
Do it before the next audit, Hajiji said, adding that another issue the auditor had pointed out was the need for local authorities to ensure that their spending was not more than what was approved according to treasury directive 54 (AP54).
Local authorities must also ensure that their applications for additional supplementary provision (ASP) are approved by the Local Government and Housing ministry before they implement any projects or activity.
“This is because there are cases where local authorities spend the money before asking for approval.
“Some of them only send in the application years after the project or activity is implemented. This should not happen and it has attracted the attention of the auditor.”
He also urged the local authorities to pay close attention to its town development so that it is not done haphazardly and is according to the zoning areas.
Hajiji also wanted the local authorities to stop the building of structures along road reserves and work with other stakeholders such as the Public Works Department as well as the Land and Survey Department on this matter.
The other matter which needed serious attention, Hajiji pointed out, was the presence of squatter colonies in rating areas of local authorities.
“The government is trying to resolve this problem by building houses under the ‘Program Perumahan Rakyat’ (PPR) for the squatters so that they can move out of the colonies but it does not seem to have to address the issue.
“I want all local authorities to conduct a census on the actual number of squatters in their respective areas. I will also be calling for a state level meeting to find out how far and effective we have been in trying to resolve the problem.
“I know this is a never ending story as they will always be new squatters to replace those who moved out of the colonies. The government has built the PPR houses for the squatters in order to reduce the colonies, so please make sure that those who received the houses are the squatters and not those who are not eligible.
“The number of houses must tally with the number of demolished houses in the squatter colonies so that the target to resolve the squatter problem by 2020 is achieved,” he added.
During the meeting, Hajiji also handed over the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the PPR Semarak Tawau to a representative of the Tawau Municipal Council.