DS Najib Razak: River of Life

Most top-ranking liveable cities in the world built around waterfronts or rivers have benefited greatly through their economic attractions and high livability percentage. The River Thames in London, Circular Quay in Sydney, and the Cheonggyecheon River in Seoul are successful examples.

In London, we can see that developments along the River Thames have managed to encourage a wide range of economic activities, largely by the patronage of its domestic and foreign tourists. Here, attractions such as the London Eye, cruise ships, restaurants and hotels with top services are leading the way. This is conducive for many to spend quality time with families and friends.

Then come New York, Geneva, Vancouver and Auckland. These thriving cities are known for their famous waterfronts that boast high liveability factor.

Malaysia is not to be missed. We are blessed with the beauty of nature, beautiful rivers and tropical rainforests that blanket our land, also home to a diverse ora and fauna. However, there are things that have sustained changes, which are in dire need of our care and attention. Improvement must go hand in hand with the country's development, so the bene ts sowed can be reaped together by the rakyat, thus boosting the tourism industry.

In relation to that, when I took over the administration, one of my visions is to see the potential of Kuala Lumpur realized through transformation programmes. It all began with the upgrading of the Puduraya Bus Terminal that was once in poor state, to its current modern appearance offered to the public since 2011. In addition, various public-friendly projects such as the Urban Transfomation Center (UTC), the “Elevated Pedestrian Walkway” from Pavilion/Bukit Bintang to KLCC and many more are spearheaded for the benefit of the people. As the MRT project approaches its completion, and MRT 2 and LRT 3 are on their way, the landscape of Kuala Lumpur shall transform into a modern cosmopolitan with comprehensive transit network.

The River of Life (ROL) Project is one of the efforts by the government to transform the city’s landscape into one that is of high livability where dwellers relish in its quality of life.

Under the ROL Project, Sungai Gombak and Sungai Klang will undergo a clean-up process and will be revived as a Heritage and Commercial Centre for Greater Kuala Lumpur. This will increase property values in the surrounding areas, boosting the local economy. Other than being a tourist attraction, this will bring a string of benefits and increased income to the population particularly through supporting industries.

I believe that the ROL Project will optimise Kuala Lumpur, like a river that is fully utilised while preserving our nature, at the same time.

To date, clean-up efforts are currently commencing along a 110km network of 8 rivers, consisting Sungai Gombak, Sungai Batu, Sungai Jinjang, Sungai Keroh, Sungai Bunus, Sungai Ampang, Sungai Klang and Sungai Keroyong.

At the start of the ROL project in 2011, the water quality was classified as Class 3 or 4 (unsafe for body contact). This will change in 2020 when water quality gets rehabilitated to Class 2B (defined as safe for recreation and body contact).

I have been informed that this clean-up effort is 72% accomplished. There will be no dawdling, no lackadaisical approach from all sectors involved in the completion of this project. All tasks in accordance to schedule must be completed, at the very latest, by the year 2020, if not earlier.

In the beautification phase, a 10.7km corridor along Sungai Klang and Sungai Gombak will be visually improved, an effort which will economically benefit adjacent landmarks like Dataran Merdeka, Bangunan Sultan Abdul Samad, Masjid Jamek and the Brickfields locality.

During my visit to the ROL Project development site at Masjid Jamek, I was informed that in the coming month of April 2017, the people of Kuala Lumpur will soon be able to take pleasure in walking or cycling along the upgraded river banks in the vicinity of St. Mary’s Cathedral, Panggung Bandaraya, Masjid Jamek, Lebuh Pasar Besar, Bangunan Sultan Abdul Samad, Pasar Seni and Dayabumi.

A wonderful progress for Kuala Lumpur.

Masjid Jamek remains as an exceptional landmark to the city of Kuala Lumpur for it is here the origin of our city began where the rivers of Sungai Gombak and Sungai Klang meet.

All things considered, the ROL Project, with a sustaining budget of RM4.4 billion, will come to completion by the year 2020, and it is with my pleasure to express that this project, overall, is 64% completed.

The ROL Project is one that is high-impact. When the project is completed, it is estimated that about 27,500 new jobs will be created from the surge of economic activities along the river banks.

I am confident that the ROL Project will stand as the new icon of Kuala Lumpur, and when it is completed soon, the quality of life for its residents will be much improved, thus advancing Kuala Lumpur to be one of the top-20 cities in the EIU’s Global Liveability Index.

River of Life by www.najibrazak.com