PUTRAJAYA: Eradicating urban poverty and improving the lifestyle of the people are in the priority list for newly appointed Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister Tan Sri Noh Omar.
With only two years to go before the next general election, Noh said he needed to list down his plans and prioritise.
“There are a lot of things that need to be implemented, so I need to have a priority list. The area that I planned to focus most on is the urban poverty problem which is worse than poverty in rural areas.
“There are existing programmes by the Ministry to rid of urban poverty but I want to get the details and work on certain aspects of these programmes to further improve it,” he told at his office here recently.
Noh explained that there appeared to be discrepancies when it came to benefits being given to the urban and rural communities.
He cited the example that urban areas enjoy government allocations that are given to rural areas, but not vice versa.
Noh also said that while the 1Malaysia People’s Aid (BRIM 2016) is extended to the urban and rural communities, fishermen in rural areas get subsidy of RM350 but not city folk.
The Selangor Umno chief noted that the continuous aid to rural areas by the government has helped the party to maintain a stronghold there.
“If you see in rural areas, the Umno fort is still strong compared with the city because they (the rural communities) always get help while those in urban areas do get help but are not aware of it,” he said.
He added that the challenge now is to reach out to the urban community.
“I need to think on how we can hand the aid to those in urban areas and make them aware of it,” he said.
He also said that the new Ministry was close to his heart and that he had gone to the ground around Selangor to visit those living in low-cost housing areas such as in Ampang, Pandan and Desa Mentari.
Noh said the facilities in these areas were overlooked compared with rural areas. He said an improvement was needed to their environment and surroundings, even the playgrounds.
“If you see homes in rural areas, five or six homes are connected by a road and they have been given allocations to build and maintain these roads.
“In urban areas, l see that lifts should be seen like a road that connects over 1,000 people. But you see in some places, they will only have two lifts and those will not be managed or maintained,” he said, adding that lifts in high-rise buildings should undergo maintenance frequently.
The Tanjung Karang MP added that his other focus would be enhancing the lifestyle of the people.
“We want to look at how we can make the people in both urban and rural areas live a more prosperous lifestyle.
“We look at the environment they live in and even the waste management which has been overlooked by the state government.
“People pay tax to the state government, they (the Selangor government) should take care of them. But in Selangor, that is not the reality.
“They only know how to collect the tax but not to spend that money to help people,” Noh added.
According to Noh, his new position would result in him having a complete portfolio following his previous position as Agriculture and Agro-based Industry minister.
“I used to manage the rural areas when I handled that ministry. Then I had experience with businessmen in rural and urban areas, so now I have urban experience,” said Noh, who had also previously helmed the Entrepreneur and Co-operative Development Ministry.
Noh was appointed in his new portfolio following a Cabinet reshuffle by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak on June 27.-mstar