PJKITA > Striving for a sense of community

Striving for a sense of community

The residents’ association of SS20 central, like many other similar to it began out of the need for security.  Now, it has found its stride in building a sense of community in the neighbourhood.

Text by Amir Imran
Photos by Teoh Eng Hooi

 

Welcomed by the well kept grounds and CCTV installations, it is easy to see that this neighbourhood is not like any other. For one, there is a noticeable lack of litter on the streets as if magical elves are tasked with ensuring the cleanliness.

SS20 Central Zone, residents’ association assistant secretary, Wong Yin Choo explained that this is not by magic but by coming together as a community, that allowed the area to be in pristine condition.  She explained that the residents regularly come together to conduct gotong royong in order to maintain and improve the conditions of the neighbourhood.

In fact, on this visit, the residents’ association is having a get together for a bit of gardening, tending to the road shoulder that the residents have beautified with ornamental plants.  Such activity is not limited to the adults in the neighbourhood and even children approaches Wong to help out.

“We also encourage the children in the neighbourhood to join in and to do so we have planted some Tacoma trees with the help of MBPJ for the children to adopt.” she says.

For members of the SS20 residents’ association, the environment is something that is dear to their hearts. Aside from the beautification efforts, the community is also involved in MBPJ’s “Single Stream Waste Management” pilot project.

“We are aiming for zero waste and have taken steps to reach that goal,” says Wong.

As part of the pilot project, residents of SS20 are involved in a cooking oil recycling scheme organised by the city council.  The residents seem to appreciate the scheme, evident by the volume of oil at the designated pick-up point.

To reduce waste, one of the measures taken is by establishing a communal compost project, where the association has designated a composting site in the park, in addition to composting efforts undertaken by the residents themselves. The residents have also started a gardening club.

“The first event held by the club was a gardening demonstration to help the members get started by showing them how to mix their own topsoil to get their plants started,” she said.

She added that the club also distributed planter boxes and seeds for the forty odd members to put the knowledge acquired at the demonstration to use.

Hui Seng Kit, the residents’ association secretary, explained that the association first started as a community policing effort by the residents.

“Before banding together in 2013, there were numerous instances of crime in the neighbourhood, ranging from snatch theft, carjacking and break-ins,” he said. “Starting the association was a way for us to address the security concerns.”

The association is formally registered with the Registrar of Societies and have made use of its official status to apply for various community grants and establish working relationships with the city council, police department and their local assemblymen.

“At the time of our inception, there was a local grant for RM10,000 given out to residents associations for security, which we utilised to expand our existing two CCTV cameras,” he said.

Having addressed their security concerns, he said that ultimately, their aim is to provide a safe and friendly environment, where there is a sense of pride and ownership among the residents.


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