Desa Ria: A New Hope
Desa Ria apartments is the poorest area in my entire Kelana Jaya constituency. It is also an area where my office spend a lot of our community budget money. Over the past 3 years, my office with the help of generous donors, rebuilt all the staircases, the kindergarten, the playground, the soccer field and also the septic waste system. We also do regular gotong royongs but the turnouts from residents were always poor. Despite doing everything we could, the residents have been rather indifferent. They welcome and smile at me but would not do anything more to improve themselves.
The poverty there is palpable. There is deep gangsterism. I have been told drugs are openly sold, even to rich college kids nearby. To top it off, the support from MBPJ for garbage collection and overall services are extremely poor. Collection for maintenance of the apartments has stopped for the last 5 years. Residents just fend for themselves as all common areas break down and deteriorate.
The good news is last month, the residents elected Mr.Prakash to be their new leader.
I have met Prakash on many occassions. He was always quiet but diligently turned up for community events. He has a small lorry business and his wife is a senior nurse at Subang Jaya Medical Centre.
His election has brought big positive changes. It is almost a miracle. First, he got MBPJ to haul away some 40 abandoned cars. Non residents have always treated Desa Ria as a dump site for abandoned cars.
He also started a small security patrol unit. Last week, he got 230 residents down to do a gotong royong. When I did my gotong royong there we couldn’t get more than 15 residents to help out.
Prakash now comes once a week to my office to update Abigail on problems and planned activities. This was the breakthrough that my office has been waiting for the last 3 years, a concerned responsible pro-active leader that we can work with.