Kg Baru folk urged to think like businessmen

Malay Agricultural Settlement secretary Shamsuri Suradi looking at an 80-year-old book containing the names of Kampung Baru land owners.

PETALING JAYA: Two authorities responsible for Kampung Baru’s development have urged the residents there to embrace the changes they say the government has brought to the Malay enclave and to think like entrepreneurs.

Spokesmen for the Malay Agricultural Settlement Administration Board (MAS) and the Kampung Baru Development Corporation (PKB) told FMT many members of the Kampung Baru community needed a mindset change in order to improve their lot.

MAS secretary Shamsuri Suradi spoke of the prevalence of the “landlord mentality” among some of the folk there, noting that they were letting foreigners run their businesses without having long-term plans for themselves.

“About 10% to 15% of local businesses in the area have been rented out to foreigners such as Indonesians and Thais,” he said.

“These businesses belong to the residents of Kampung Baru, but they prefer to rent them out and move elsewhere. Renting out a business for the short term is okay, but the locals do need to have long term plans to use their rental earnings to expand their businesses.”

He was commenting on a recent FMT report highlighting complaints by Kampung Baru residents about Indonesians and Thais running local businesses.

“There are a lot of opportunities available for residents,” Shamsuri said. “The government too has been going all out to help them to be successful entrepreneurs but some are reluctant to move ahead in life.”

MAS looks after the social development and land rights of Kampung Baru residents. It was established by the British before independence. According to Shamsuri, it has been organising outreach community programmes to change the locals’ mindset so that they would think of themselves as potential entrepreneurs.

“Some local residents have adopted change and become successful businessman, but there are others who refuse to change,” he said. “It has a lot to do with their attitude. When we ask them what their goals and long term plans are, they will either be silent or say they have none.”

Land in Kampung Baru is divided into 1,355 lots. Shamsuri said MAS was developing 926 of these and the remainder would be developed by PKB.

The government set up PKB in 2011. Local residents have a say in its activities through an advisory board.

PKB chairman Affendi Zahari criticised those who say that Kampung Baru has seen no progress despite government rhetoric to the contrary.

“They claim it is all hot air,” he said. “But there is progress. Among the projects coming up are two high rise apartments, the upgrading of Jalan Raja Bot market and construction of commercial property as well.”

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