80 per cent of MBKS traffic lights to be upgraded to smart system this year

Dr Sim (seated, in grey suit) flanked by Wee on his left in a photo with the MBKS councillors.

by Karen Bong

KUCHING, Sept 3: Nearly 80 per cent of traffic lights within the jurisdiction of Kuching South City Council (MBKS) will be upgraded to a smart system by the end of this year.

Minister of Local Government and Housing Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian emphasised that a smart traffic light system would not only improve traffic flows in the city especially during peak hours but can also be utilised for security purposes.

“A smart traffic light can be multipurpose as the installed cameras can monitor and capture images of traffic situations as well as of motorists and road users,” he said when met at the swearing-in ceremony for newly-appointed MBKS mayor Datuk Wee Hong Seng at the council’s headquarters today.

“Our top priority is to improve traffic congestion but it can be used for other functions,” he added without disclosing further details.

As the federal government has invested resources into improving the police force, Dr Sim pointed out that the local government will also allocate its resources to make Kuching a safe city to live in.

“Traffic jams and security issues are among the main concerns of our people. So we will see how to incorporate security functions in the smart traffic light system,” he said.

He also suggested using body cameras to monitor and protect both enforcement staff and the public.

For the benefit of greater Kuching, he also called for close working relationhips and collaborations between all local governments including Kuching North City Commission (DBKU), Padawan Municipal Council (PMC) and Kota Samarahan Municipal Council (MPKS) to ensure seamless work processes.

“I am thankful to a good start as DBKU’s new mayor Datu Junaidi Reduan is also here. I actually discussed with him about this issue and proposed for regular meetings to be held involving all levels so there would be no overlapping of tasks and no finger-pointing at the (council) border areas,” he said.

Dr Sim added that local councils needed to fight hard for both state and federal funding to better serve the people.

On councillors, Dr Sim said they played a crucial role on the frontlines of public service as the state government relied on them to communicate with the local community.

“Everybody looks to us for all kinds of services including those not under our jurisdiction. The people will think of us first from needing to cut grass to fixing broken street lights and collecting rubbish, apart from maintenance of various facilities including parks, stadiums and so many more,” he elaborated.

“Local councils play a crucial role in the life of every Sarawakian. How can people know their YBs (elected representatives) but not their local councillors? So I don’t want people to not know who their local councillors are,” he added.

Dr Sim congratulated Wee once again for succeeding Datuk James Chan as the new MBKS mayor.

“I must also thank Datuk James Chan for doing such a great job throughout his 11 years (in service). Now we need to move on with new and young people to drive the city forward, otherwise, there will be no succession plan,” he said.

“All of us are here for a short period of time and it is important to be able to pass on the baton to the next group of people, especially the younger generation,” he added. — DayakDaily