Tuan Speaker: May I now call upon Yang Berhormat Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh, Menteri Kerajaan Tempatan dan Pembangunan Komuniti dan Menteri Kewangan II untuk membuat ucapan penggulungan.
Menteri Kerajaan Tempatan dan Pembangunan Komuniti (Y.B. Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh): Tuan Speaker, let me begin by congratulating your goodself on your reappointment as Speaker of this august House for a record sixth term on the 12th November, 2012. Your exemplary continued leadership will definitely auger well for this Dewan and the State of Sarawak.
I would like to take this opportunity, together with the other Ahli-Ahli Yang Berhormat in this august House to thank the Right Honourable Chief Minister Pehin Sri Haji Abdul Taib Mahmud for tabling and presenting the 2013 State Budget. The 2013 budget which aims to maintain a desirable level of economic activities necessary to sustain economic growth in 2013, and which provides adequate fund for the long term social and economic restructuring and transformation of the State has indeed formed a strong basis for the State to move to a greater height in its development.
I also wish to thank all Ahli-Ahli Yang Berhormat, who during the course of their debates, had either commented or raised matters relating to my Ministry, agencies and department under my purview. I will respond later to some of the more pertinent issues raised by Honourable Members.
Ministry of Local Government and Community Development and Local Authorities
Tuan Speaker, my Ministry and all the agencies under my charge, namely, Local Authorities, the Health Department and the Fire and Rescue Department, Malaysia (FRDM) as service providers and front liners have a noble duty to provide the rakyat with the required facilities and services effectively and efficiently. Hence what we collectively can do, or cannot do, and to what extent we can satisfy the needs as well as the aspirations of the Rakyat will reflect the effectiveness and efficiency of the Barisan Nasional Government. Mindfull of this, my Ministry, towards realizing its vision in leading the transformation of the Local Authorities in Sarawak, fully subscribed to the Transformation Program (GTP) of the State Civil Service, SCS 10-20, and has embarked on a holistic Quality Environment Transformation Initiatives based on its five strategic thrusts namely: Enhance Service Delivery; Enhance Human Capital and Leadership; Drive Policy and Legislations; Enhanced Financial Management; and Enhanced Community Engagement and Participation.
It is hoped that with these initiatives and effective implementation, we will be able to ensure that local authorities remain relevant and responsive to the changing demands and aspirations of the rakyat.
Electronic Local Authority System
One of the many such initiatives that we have undertaken is the development of a software systems that create a sustainable ICT culture, enhance ICT technology capabilities and usage in the Ministry and the Local Authorities under its charge known as the second generation Electronic Local Authority System or in short eLA2. This system is developed to transform the Ministry and the Local Authorities into a single efficient and high-performing organization through technology and business process reengineering as well as harmonizing and consolidating all business processes into a common and standardized business core function.
Under eLA2 we have introduced Business Process Model and Notation (BPMN), which is a world class standard for business process modeling, to a number of Local Authorities Core Functions such as licensing, valuation, building control and service facilities management, as a framework to build a fully automated system that conforms to stringent security protocols and audits. Through BPMN, the “As-Is” core function processes were gathered, subsequently re-engineered and valuated the “Can-Be” processes before finalizing it as the “To-Be” processes to be adopted by the Local Authorities. As a result of the BPMN, the licensing processes, for example, have been cut short from 245 processes to only eight processes by eliminating cumbersome and redundant licensing processes.
For the information of this august House, eLA2 systems has gone live in Miri City Council, Samarahan District Council and Bau District Council in April, October and November 2012 respectively. At Samarahan District Council, the system also incorporates an electronic GIS Map Production System, GPS as well as hand-held devices such as smart phone and tablet to make real time graphical charting and planning. Another nine District Councils, namely Serian, Sarikei, Sri Aman, Simunjan, Matu Daro, Lubok Antu, Sibu Rural District Council (SRDC), Limbang and Kapit will implement eLA2 by July, 2013.
My Ministry is working very closely with the Land and Survey Department, NREB, DID, Sarawak Energy Berhad and SPU to integrate information such as cadastral data land use, administrative boundary and aerial earth photo into the eLA2 GIS system. We are also upgrading the ICT network connectivity in the smaller sub-district such as Gedong, Sebuyau, Engkilili, Selangau, Daro, Tanjung Manis and Song to ensure that the system will be fully implemented in all the Local Authorities by mid 2014.
Review and updating of By-laws of Local Authorities
Tuan Speaker, another transformation initiative that my Ministry has undertaken in collaboration with the Local Authorities, is to co-ordinate the revision and amendment of several existing By-laws which have been found to be out of date, such as the Licensing of Miscellaneous Occupations By-laws, Hawkers By-laws, Markets By-laws and Buildings By-laws.
One example of such exercise which has been successfully carried out by my Ministry, and approved recently by the State Cabinet, is the adoption of a new and single Local Authorities (Advertisements) By-laws, 2012. These new Local Authorities (Advertisements) By-laws, 2012 came into force on 1st October. 2012, and will be implemented by all 26 Local Authorities in Sarawak. These new Advertisements By-laws, 2012 replaced and revoked the existing four (4) separate Advertisements By-laws which were previously used or applied in areas under the jurisdiction of Bintulu Development Authority, City of Kuching North, City of Kuching South and all other Local Authorities in Sarawak.
Among the amendments introduced under the new Advertisements By-laws,
2012, is the reduction of licence fees for the erection and display of advertisements over one square metre in size other than business name signboard and advertisement on electronic boards or any non-print device, from RM350 per square metre per year, previously, to RM100 per square metre per year for the first 20 square metres and RM70 for every additional square metre per year or part thereof, for areas under the City Councils and Municipal Councils. For areas under the District Councils, the licence fee is reduced from RM175 per square metre per year to RM70 per square metre per year for the first 20 square metres and RM50 for every additional square metre per year or part thereof. This amendment represents a significant reduction in the rate of advertisement licence fees payable for such advertisements exceeding one square metre in sizes, including the billboards.
In addition, the Ministry has also prepared standard Guidelines for Advertisements at Public Places for the Local Authorities, advertisers and owners of business premises to allow in the implementation of the new Advertisements By-laws, 2012. These standard Guidelines provide, among other things, procedures for processing applications for advertisement licenses as well as methods of calculating license fees for the different types of advertisements. Generally, these standard Guidelines are intended to provide a system of control to better regulate the erection and display of billboards and other forms of advertisements in the State. With the implementation of the standard Guidelines, the processing and approval of applications for all types of advertisements can be better streamlined and expedited.
Local Councils and Community Development
Tuan Speaker, in addition to the core functions of the local councils in providing infrastructure, facilities and municipal services, local councils in Sarawak have assumed new roles to actively engage and develop the local communities.
In this regards, the local councils have initiated many programmes that engage and involve many local NGOs and communities. Local Agenda 21 Programme has been implemented to create a sustainable environment through engaging the communities. Activities such as recycling, household composting, garbage enzymes, segregation of waste, reducing use of plastic bags, tree planting, Earth Day, Earth Hour, Anti-Aedes campaigns and cleaning campaigns are organized either yearly or periodically by the respective local councils. These programmes aim to bring people together, remove barriers, foster better rapport and nurture better understanding among the local communities as well as between the people and the Government.
In addition, Local Councils are also engaging the communities as smart partners to contribute towards better living environment and better community well-being of their hometowns and villages. Corporate sectors are encouraged to contribute as their Corporate Social Responsibility or CSR Projects in organizing meaningful community projects and campaigns. Many community gardens, facilities and landmarks are successfully created through smart partnership between NGOs and Local Councils in Kuching, Sibu and Miri.
Some Council are also initiating Community Markets, where the Council plays the role as project facilitator while the communities are involved in the planning, management and operation of the markets. The Resident Councilor together with the JKKK and the hawker‟s representative will form the management committee.
Many local councils are also engaging the local communities in celebrations and festivals such as Pesta Kuching, Pesta Miri, Borneo Cultural Festivals, Pesta Durin, Pesta Sibu Jaya and many others.
My Ministry will continue to lead and guide the Local Councils in Sarawak to engage the local communities. Now that we have achieved some measure of affluence, particularly in the more urbanized areas, we can better address the other dimensions of life art, culture and sports the finer things in life people aspire to.
Tuan Speaker, festivals, cultural events and the increasing popularity of sports are signs of the desire of our people for a more fulfilling life. They enhance the graciousness of our lifestyle but also help to strengthen the moral fabric of our society.
Festivals, cultural events and sports appeal to our human spirit. Through cultural activities, we interpret life and explore our inner self. Through sports, we rejuvenate and renew ourselves, discover our limits and test the strength we can draw from our inner reserves. Together, they challenge us and imbue us with a zest for life. Indeed, it is through our myriad cultures, cultural expressions and sport pastimes that our people can discover themselves, their history and their roots.
Culture and sports are vehicles, not only for the expression of one self, but also for communion with our fellow men. Our people can be enriched and sensibilities refined.
It is with all these in mind that there are Standing Committees of youth, culture and sports being set up in our council organizations. Councilors are appointed to help run youth, culture and sports events and activities. It is expected that the Councilors so appointed will need to coordinate with other community and civic organizations and enlist them to help with voluntary service to meet the changing needs and aspirations of the people under their care.
In addition, the Councils together with all other organizations will support the Government and agencies in various campaigns such as dengue outbreak, Cholera outbreak, Hand-Foot-and-Mouth Diseases (HFMD) outbreak, environmental care, tree planting, cleanliness, good neighbourliness campaigns, etc.
It is hoped that through such organizations and activities, we can foster a greater sense of belonging and community spirit. Our ultimate aim is to achieve greater social cohesion through connecting peoples from all ethnic backgrounds to promote active citizenary and greater multiracial harmony. Our mission ultimately is one of all communities bonding closely together to have strong community ties and spirit so that we can share our values, pursue our passions, fulfill our hopes and aspirations. We will also work closely with other Ministries and Government Departments and agencies to realize the Vision of Yang Amat Behormat Ketua Menteri Sarawak to create cities and towns with soul and a better place for all to live, work and play.