Selangor moves to put control of public services back in public hands

After taking over most sanitation services from contractor Alam Flora Sdn Bhd recently, the Selangor state government has tasked five local councils to provide these services more efficiently.

The chosen councils are the Shah Alam City Council (MBSA), Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ), Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ), Ampang Jaya Municipal Council (MPAJ) and Klang Municipal Council (MPK).

Selangor Chief Minister Khalid Ibrahim announced this today.

He said the five councils will ensure that sanitation services such as grass-cutting and drain-cleaning would be conducted in a systematic and efficient manner.

“However, garbage collection and disposal will still be handled by Alam Flora,” he qualified.

Khalid said a takeover is necessary seeing that local councils have been spending a large proportion of their budgets on sanitation services without satisfactory results.

He revealed that MPSJ’s annual budget for sanitation services, for example, has been between RM30 and RM40 million a year.

“In fact, local councils are no stranger to handling cleaning jobs themselves as these were outsourced to Alam Flora only 10 years ago,” he noted.

Khalid reckoned minor problems might emerge at the initial stage of this transition period, but vowed that they would be tackled immediately and effectively.

He said the five chosen councils are of strong financial standing, and would be able to assist other councils with limited revenue, such as the Sabak Bernam District Council and Hulu Selangor District Council, to handle sanitation services themselves.

MPSJ councillor, Pooi Weng Keong (pictured) lauded the move. He said the council can easily award the relevant contracts through open tenders, without having to go through a third party contractor, such as Alam Flora.

“Hence, we can have direct control over the contractors and can hold them accountable,” he said, adding that MPSJ used to complain to Alam Flora about its lax sub-contractors.
According to Pooi, qualified contractors for cleaning jobs only need to possess lorries, tools, plastic bags and workers, unlike contractors for rubbish disposal.