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KUCHING, Jan 17: Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) hopes that Sarawakian federal ministers will do something to retain the existing operating hours of Urban Transformation Centres (UTCs) in the state.
Political secretary to the Chief Minister Tan Kai pointed out that Putrajaya’s decision to shorten the operating hours of UTCs to 5pm made the facility no different than government agencies operating in normal office hours.
“SUPP is against this decision because the change of operating hours will definitely be inconvenient to many working people who have no time to attend to matters involving government agencies during working hours,” he said in a press statement today.
“More importantly, it will defeat the purpose of why UTC was set up in the first place which was to provide people the convenience to get important things done especially after office hours,” he stressed.
Tan urged Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Chong Chieng Jen, who is also Stampin Member of Parliament, to state his position on this issue and whether he will voice out to help Sarawakians.
“He also needs to explain to the people why the hours have been cut short,” he said.
UTCs were established during the Barisan Nasional (BN) era to provide the urban community with key government and private sector services under one roof.
According to the UTC website (https://www.utc.my/), its Kuching, Sibu and Miri facilities currently open daily from 8am-10pm.
The Pakatan Harapan (PH) federal government recently announced the new operating hours for UTC as part of the Ministry of Finance (MoF)’s measure to save public expenditure. The new operational hours for the Kuching facility is from 8am to 5pm beginning Jan 22.
The new operational hours vary across the UTCs in the nation as a review by MoF discovered that operations of seven UTCs located within shopping malls could be extended.
The UTCs involved are located in Shah Alam, Keramat, Seremban, Alor Star, Johor Bahru, Kota Baru and Kuala Terengganu.
Minister of Finance Lim Guan Eng also stated that UTCs would be open seven days a week except for public holidays to facilitate public access to government services.
He added that the operational hours of the UTCs will be reviewed from time to time to ensure people’s requests were attended to, while government spending was would be efficient without wasting time and energy. — DayakDaily