Wednesday, June 28, 2017

WHEN GOVERNMENT WORKS (WE GOT OUR URBAN FOREST)

Franklin Roosevelt the 32nd President of the USA once said this, “Let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us. The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a President and senators and congressmen and government officials, but the voters of this country.”
 I think the voters in Malaysia over decades have felt emasculated in many ways thinking that the people who represent us care little for our welfare. They rule over us as like an alien power. We feel distanced from government and unable to have a say in what truly affects us on a daily basis. This can be very frustrating even depressing.

Sometimes however government works and when it does it affects us all and brings immense benefit to the people. I like to cite an example to show how our neighbourhood became a little better off because we had the channel to voice our proposals and to have it heard and considered. I know this is a rare story nevertheless we are thankful for the small improvements in Selangor. 

About 10 years ago when we moved in to Pinggiran USJ, there was a sizable piece of land next to our taman. Approximateky 3ha. When we purchased our house, we were told that the empty land was an MPSJ reserved land. As years went by we heard of the possibility of an eatery or hawker center, a motel with sports facilities, a driving range, even a shopping complex etc.  Many a times I drove by and saw people in their long sleeve shirts parking their Mercedes surveying the empty land with rolled out maps and drawings of the area.  I, as with all our neighbours were obviously very concerned. As it is we have so little public spaces and the last thing we wanted was another concrete mall next to our taman.

In 2010, I served as the Chairman of USJ3ABCD Residents Association and because of that was onboard the MPSJ Residents Committee for Zone 3 (JKP Zone 3).  The Committee was under the leadership of then Councillor Rajiv Rishyakaran who is now the ADUN of Bukit Gasing.  Afraid that another shopping mall or concrete building was to come up instead of a recreational space, I drafted a proposal in March 2011 through the JKP, the idea of an Ecological Urban Forest. We called it the Z3 Eco Forest. The JKP accepted the idea and we presented the proposal to the Council.  MPSJ approved the idea and on Nov 11th 2011, the Subang Jaya community together with a private school nearby planted 1,111 trees in the area, officiated and supported by our ADUN, YB Hannah Yeoh.    

Today, 6 years later, the Park is fully supported by MPSJ and earthworks is being carried out.  This is a win for the Residents of Pinggiran Subang Jaya and Subang Jaya at large as we will have an Urban Forest right in our township. I was told that because of the Urban Forest the value of the properties in the area would also escalate.


 In the midst of all the skepticism and frustration of government working for the people here is a success story.  When government works, and the people’s interest are heard; residents are happy and the state prospers. It works only when ordinary voters, residents, neighbors care enough to get  involved in resident groups or committees.  I can only imagine this on a larger scale, perhaps one day not just in Subang Jaya or Selangor, but the whole Malaysia when we can then fully comprehend Roosevelt’s quote; “The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a President and senators and congressmen and government officials, but the voters of this country.” 

The ambitious proposal included these facilities:


Facilities
The proposed facilities available on Z3 Eco Forest are as follows:
1)      A 2Km walking and jogging path around the park.
2)      A bicycle path along the walking and jogging track
3)      Ponds and streams along the path
4)      Picnic and Playground area with water features and landscape
5)      An arts and cultural center approx 2000 square feet
6)      A small amphitheatre
7)      A Eco Farm
8)      Parking

The Empty land before 2011


View towards the kindergarten in 2011


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