It is short of the required 500,000 population but minister Zuraida Kamaruddin says “we will see if some flexibility can be given”.
MARAN: Bentong is set to become the second city in Pahang after Kuantan, with the process of upgrading the Bentong Municipal Council expected to be completed by this year, says housing and local government minister Zuraida Kamaruddin.
Kuantan was declared a city yesterday and Zuraida said the upgrade process for Bentong was now at the administrative level, which required the state government to make an application to the federal government. It would then take several months before it is approved by the Cabinet.
“Bentong has met the criteria to be elevated to city status in terms of income, but has not reached the required population of more than 500,000 people. We will see if some flexibility can be given, taking into account the development being carried out there,” she said.
Zuraida was speaking to reporters after a working visit to the Maran district here today, accompanied by her deputy, Dr Ismail Abd Muttalib, who is also Maran MP, and Pahang exco member Shahaniza Shamsuddin.
In a related development, Zuraida said the Pekan district council was currently in the process of being upgraded to a municipal council by this year, while the Maran district council is also expected to get the nod in 2022.
To help Maran achieve the target, Zuraida said her ministry had approved an allocation of RM7 million today, with RM5 million for development work including repairing flood damage. Maran was among the worst affected areas earlier this year.
“Another RM1 million each will be used for solid waste management and to improve facilities and infrastructure at tourist locations including developing business centres, as Maran will have an East Coast Rail Link station soon,” she said.
In a separate development, she said her ministry had approved the construction of fire stations in Chenor, here and Gambang, Kuantan with an allocation of RM4 million for each, besides accepting the state government’s request for the facility to be provided in Benta, Lipis located about 185km from here.
“The approvals for Chenor and Gambang were made after taking into account that the distance to the nearest fire station is more than 30km and the population density requires the facility to be provided for their safety,” she added.