It’s quality of life that counts
KUCHING: The quality of life in an area is more important than whether the area is a municipality or a city, said Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh.
“It is not that important whether the area is under the jurisdiction of a municipal council or a city council, what is most important is the quality of life; whether or not people can live and work and interact with one another happily.
“Yes, city status is something to be proud of but at the end of the day, it is how well you can live - the quality of life – that matters,” Wong told reporters after a visit to the newly rebuilt hawker stalls at the Pending Seafood Centre here, yesterday.
Five hawker stalls at the centre were destroyed in an early morning fire on 6 July and they had been rebuilt.
Wong was commenting on whether the Padawan Municipal Council (MPP) could be upgraded to a city council soon in view of its vast area of jurisdiction and the growing population.
He said that would be unlikely now because normally the federal government would restrict the number of cities a state could have.
“In Sarawak now, we already have Kuching South City, Kuching North City and Miri City. And strictly speaking, it is one city per state like in Sabah now, only Kota Kinabalu is a city,” Wong explained, pointing out that, however, in time to come, should Padawan area meet the requirementsS, MPP could become a city council.
A Rural District Council would first be upgraded to a District Council, then to a Municipal Council and a City Council, and the upgrading would depend on the size of the population and the income (assessment rates) that could be collected, he elaborated further.
On allocation for a city council, he said it would be an across-the-board matter depending on the size of the population and the area.
Wong reminded food stall operators to be more careful with cooking gas as it could cause fire, and ensure that the wiring system at their stalls was in good condition.
Meanwhile, Mayor of Kuching South City Council (MBKS) Dato James Chan told the media that about RM122,000 had been spent to rebuild the five hawker stalls.
“With Dato Sri Wong’s support, the rebuilding job was done very fast so that the hawkers can get on with their daily activities,” he said.
He also reaffirmed that there was no immediate plan to upgrade the seafood centre as the place was still in good condition.
However, the council might upgrade or renovate the public toilets to enhance the cleanliness of the area, he added.
On stall rental, Chan said the fee charged for each stall at the Pending Seafood Centre was considered low.
“We actually subsidise about RM1 million per year for all hawker stalls at markets in MBKS area,” he disclosed.
The Pending Seafood Centre has a total of 52 stalls which are all occupied, and the monthly rental is between RM120 and RM300.