By H G Rahman

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia--While the whole country has its eyes on who will be named as the new Prime Minister, replacing the failed attempt at a government led by the previous bunch, it is important that we do not lose sight of who will lead the Federal Territories Ministry.

A long list of failed ministers

The post of FT minister is important for the way Kuala Lumpur is managed, with recent ministers from Barisan Nasional (BN) , Pakatan Harapan (PH) and Perikatan Nasional (PN) proving themselves to be inadequate failures, ech carrying on failed policies brought by their predecessors.

These include a conflict of interest through holding board positions in the infamous Yayasan Wilayah Persekutuan, a private company masquerading as a charitable organisation which also had been made a conduit for development projects opposed by the Rakyat.

Of course none of these ministers did anything to reign in the developers, who continued their land grabs in Kuala Lumpur, but arguably the worst performer was Khalid Samad who gazetted a bastardised Draft Kuala Lumpur City Plan 2020 (KLCP2020) shortly after being appointed minister.

Instead of conducting a thorough review or audit of the events leading up to this, his successor Anuar Musa instead seemed more concerned with turning Kuala Lumpur into a giant pasar malam, with little to no regard for the threat posed by COVID-19.

Continued dirty tricks

Logically, and for the maximum accountability, the FT Minister should be chosen from among the 11 KL MPs, not from outside and the deputy should be an individual from either Putrajaya or Labuan. The reason for this is simple, Kuala Lumpur is by far more important in terms of the size of its population, its economic contribution and its status as the country’s capital.

Successive governments know the pressure that a KL MP as an FT minister would face having to manage Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL), holding back developers and ensuring the city is well managed in order to reach the goal of being a first-class, world-class city.

So an outsider is brought in to do the dirty work and the KL MPs who are from the same coalition can shake their heads and say they can't help even if their own colleague is the minister. This practice must not be allowed and at least PH, being the worst offender to date, needs to make this an election promise that will be implemented. Even BN had the retention to appoint a minister from Putrajaya but PN takes the cake on this one.

Give the Rakyat what they want

There must be an end to the raping of Kuala Lumpur land by the nexus of DBKL, politicians and developers. They all work hand in glove in repurposing land, approving high density developments and selling them off for obscene profits, while the city loses its valuable green lungs and open spaces and indeed reserve land meant for hospitals such as in the case of Taman Rimba Kiara.

There has to be a stop of taxpayer money being used to fight the Rakyat who oppose developments in their respective areas as has happened in Taman Tiara Titiwangsa, where a favourable court decision for the residents was appealed by DBKL.

There must be the will to clean up and reform DBKL, the one city council with the biggest operating budget and yet the very same plagued with a variety of problems from the inefficiency of its services, to a lack of respect for the opinion of the public from development proposals to objection hearings, opaqueness and a lack of transparency. This organisation needs to be flushed out with clean water.

The only way forward is for someone who is directly accountable to the people of Kuala Lumpur to head the ministry, and if this individual can perform, he or she will be duly rewarded but if they fail the same will be voted out and booted out in disgrace. There will be no other solution.