Reception from the public is overwhelming and in 2015 alone, UTCs nationwide had served 9.6 million customers. FILE PIC

FANCY chilling out with a cup of coffee at the cafeteria while waiting for your passport to be ready? Fitness fans can even work out in the gym while getting their driving licence renewed.

These are the lifestyle concepts behind the government’s Urban Transformation Centre (UTC).

The UTCs, the brainchild of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, have become a hit among Malaysians. More and more centres are sprouting in the country and now, the first-ever, is set to open its doors in Negri Sembilan by next year.

Conceived as part of the government’s National Blue Ocean Strategy, the UTCs have made life extremely convenient for people.

Gone are the days when Malaysians had to wake up as early as 5am to queue up at Immigration offices to renew their passports.

Gone also are the days when Malaysians have to make more than one visit to the Road Transport Department to renew their driving licences and road taxes.

The UTCs have changed the way Malaysians conduct business with government agencies and they have drastically improved service delivery to the people.

UTCs are part of the Barisan Nasional government’s endeavour to serve and uphold the interests and welfare of Malaysians.

Negri’s maiden UTC, which is being built, is at Plaza Angsana in Ampangan. Ampangan was selected because of its strategic location, which is right in the middle of densely-populated housing areas.

Once operational, it will be home to various government agencies like the National Registration Department, Immigration Department and Road Transport Department.

Commercial entities include utility companies like Tenaga Nasional Bhd, Telekom Malaysia, Syarikat Air Negri Sembilan, a food court, convenience stores, bookshops and banks. Other entrepreneurial agencies are SME Bank, Perbadanan Usahawan Nasional Bhd and SME Corp.

To look after community interests, non-governmental organisations, such as Fomca, will open an office. The Welfare Department will provide daycare services and the e-Kasih programme.

Education and employment outlets, such as Jobs Malaysia, the Labour Department, Mara and the National Higher Education Fund Corporation, will be around to boost the local economy and build human capital.

Being a people-centric hub, the UTC will house the favourite Klinik 1Malaysia, Kedai Kain 1Malaysia and Kedai Buku 1Malaysia to serve citizens.

General facilities comprise a police station, youth centre, library and sports infrastructure, such as a gym (selected outlets only), badminton, futsal and archery court.

Farmers’ markets are also located nearby for urban dwellers to buy fresh produce and help rural residents generate income.

Meanwhile, the Rural Transformation Centre (RTC) in Rembau has received good response from the kampung folk, and it has attracted clients from as far as Melaka.

And because of that, Negri Sembilan Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan says the state government is planning to open a second RTC in Seting, near Jempol.

It is clear that the RTCs have helped rural folk by relieving the hassle of travelling to distant cities like Seremban to conduct government transactions.

With the opening of UTCs and RTCs nationwide, Malaysians no longer need to take leave for days just to run petty errands, and the best part is, the opening hours of some government offices are up to 9pm.

The first UTC was opened in Melaka in 2012, and is being expanded nationwide.

There are now eight UTCs and two mini-UTCs in the country. UTCs are managed by state government-owned agencies/entities and the staffing varies from one centre to another.

Reception from the public is overwhelming and in 2015 alone, UTCs had served 9.6 million customers.

Zaidi Isham Ismail, a former assistant news editor at BT, is NST’s Negri Sembilan bureau chief. He can be reached via xydee@mediaprima.com.my

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