So yesterday I turned up at Encik Roslan’s office. (The Honorary Secretary for the Kampung Baharu Ruling Council). Effable and accommodating as ever, our friendly conversation continued from where we left off several days before.
He says that his title with Honorary in it means that he isn’t paid to perform his duties. In his late fifties, he boldly claims how he used to be a hotshot businessman and now its time for him to give back to the community. His office is housed upstairs from a low key multi-purpose community hall. Inside, there is minimal staff.
“The powers of this council have been cut.” “Since 1974, the government has given enforcement powers to DBKL, and before I took over, several months ago, the council has only been operating for two hours a day.” He adds that “Although enforcement has been ceded to DBKL, decisions still lie with the ruling council.” Herein lies the ambiguity and is amplified into administrative dilemmas.
He tells me of his efforts in organizing parking systems for cars in the neighbourhood and employing local youths to administer it. DBKL wasn’t happy and have since dismantled his efforts. He uses the word ‘Duplicity’, when commenting on issues between the council and DBKL. There is no clear authority and this is one of the several revolving issues besides clear ownership of land titles and a burgeoning Indonesian population which is eminent to Kampung Baharu’s unique position, as a – Malay Agricultural Settlement (MAS)
I received two more contacts from him. Two names and mobile numbers of village heads from the 7 villages within Kampung Baharu. “Call Shamsuri, he will show you the houses you are looking for.” “He speaks good English, so no problems, but don’t call him today because he is coming with me to the DBKL meeting at 4pm” says Roslan.
My gaining access phase continues…where will these new contacts take me? What will I get out of it? My efforts in Kampung Bharu continues…