Sunday, May 19, 2024

BLUEPRINT FOR REVITALISING SELANGOR

We plan for the people and with the people. We want them to feel a sense of ownership to the project.
– Dr Shamsaini Shamsuddin,
Selangor’s State Planning Director

 As Selangor’s State Planning Director, Dr Shamsaini Shamsuddin is literally and figuratively “the woman with the plan”. Armed with a Bachelor’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning, a Master’s in Development Economics and a PhD in Spatial Modelling, her nearly 40-year career has been dedicated to town planning. Having joined the Civil Service in 1984, she has worked her way up the ranks to become the head of Selangor’s Town and Country Planning Department (now known as Plan Malaysia @ Selangor) in April 2019. In this role, she plays a crucial part in the development of the Klang River under the Selangor Maritime Gateway (SMG) project.

Speaking on the SMG and how her Department has worked with project owner Landasan Lumayan to realise its aims, Dr Shamsaini reveals that the work gives her many challenges and constantly keeps her on her toes. That being said, it is something she values deeply as it presses her to continuously enhance her knowledge and ensure she has substance and mastery of the subject.

And substance is the key to effective town and country planning. As Dr Shamsaini explains, it is important to ensure that all effort, initiatives, standards and principles in the planning and development process are met and looked into more holistically before any actual plan can be drawn up. This requires proper coordination between technical departments, respective partners and stakeholders.

Dr Shamsaini further explains that after a thorough study on the kind of development that would be most suitable for the area based on the guidelines given; a proposal would then be prepared. Any project initiated and facilitated by the Government will have to go through the Technical Committee of Consultation also known as the “Consultation Committee”. Once it passes the committee, it will then be assessed by her and brought forward to the technical departments for further comments on the proposal.

The implementation of a project will usually go through a few phases. Once they have identified the high impact areas that can be developed, then the process of implementation begins. This process is usually expedited if the developer, in this case, Landasan Lumayan fulfils all guidelines, requirements and standards set upon them.

Guiding the way.

Plan Malaysia @ Selangor is involved in identifying and prescribing the kind of developments that would best suit the area while still conserving the environment and the existing natural elements.

The essence of their role can be seen in the different phases of the projects being implemented for SMG such as river cleaning, rehabilitation and development that make up the master plan to turn Klang into an eco-smart city. The cleaning of Klang River involves an installation of log booms and a monitoring of the water quality while the rehabilitation phase requires a comprehensive rehabilitation of Klang River and the Pulau Kapas Landfill. It will incorporate the restoration and beautification of the river as well as infrastructure and urban renewal on the riverbank and the surrounding areas of the river.

The Department also guide developers on the best way to bring economic growth to the area. The development phase, for instance, will initiate five catalyst initiatives to boost the commercial and tourism sector for the areas surrounding the Klang River, bringing about the formation of Pangakalan Batu Urban Park, a Mangrove Point, a Grand Bazaar, a Cultural Village & Retreat Resort as well as a Community River Park.

However, while the Department has a lot of influence in providing guidance to projects such as the SMG, Dr Shamsaini iterates that it does not have the final say on the outcome of a certain project as the extent of their role goes only so far as advising and to ensure all guidelines are met so that the planning of the developments are up to standard.

Dr Shamsaini holds the belief that Plan Malaysia @ Selangor is an organisation that plans with the people and for the people so serving in the best interest of both the developers and the people is an essential aspect of planning. This is further highlighted when she said “the best part is when you see what you’ve planned happens, and the people are enjoying the benefit of the development. A people-centric development!”

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