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A UTC Day Out
The Urban Transformation Centre (UTC) was designed as a one-stop service centre to fulfil the needs of its surrounding community. Does it live up to that promise?
The Urban Transformation Centre (UTC) was part of the National Blue Ocean Strategy (NBOS) agenda by the government to improve strategic partnerships and collaborations between government agencies and the private sector.
UTC Pudu Sentral was the second branch to launch in September 2012 and is currently the main hub in Kuala Lumpur. There are two smaller versions, UTC Sentul and UTC Keramat – mini UTCs located respectively at Kompleks Perniagaan dan Komuniti Bandar Baru Sentul and Keramat Mall.
Housed within them are some of the major government agencies like the National Registration Department (JPN), Road Transport Department (JPJ) and Immigration Department which provides the rakyat an alternative and quicker means to finishing up their tasks.
However, UTC Pudu Sentral encompasses a wider range of government bodies, including departments such as the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) and National Higher Education Fund (PTPTN).
As each UTC was integrated within an existing infrastructure, they too have different additional services and lesser known facilities that are specific to the building and community. For example, UTC Sentul contains a wet market and public library while UTC Keramat has a multipurpose hall for events.
Pudu Sentral, or formerly known as Puduraya Terminal, has long been one of the central bus terminals in KL since it started operations in 1976. Although most of the long-distance bus services have moved their operations to TBS (Terminal Bersepadu Selatan), Pudu Sentral remains a hive of activity due to its location along Jalan Pudu, near the central business districts.
We take a look at some of the lesser known services and facilities you can find at the main UTC branch in Pudu Sentral.
Located on the fourth floor, the Y Centre was launched by the Ministry of Youth and Sports to encourage the community to adopt a healthier lifestyle. Despite the seemingly limited space (Y Centre shares the top floor with the food court and AnCasa Express Hotel), the centre has managed to pack in a good number of sporting facilities into its area.
Among them are a full-sized futsal court, gymnasium, cyber café (more of a computer lab), aerobic studio and a meeting room. There is also a basic outdoor rock climbing wall, ping pong table and indoor games like Snakes and Ladders and Carrom that you are free to play with. While limited, the facilities appear to be clean and well-maintained.
The rates vary depending on the service, but they are generally much lower compared to other sports centres and gymnasiums. Discounts are further given to students and the disabled with entry fees starting as low as RM2 per hour. The low rates make it an attractive draw to many and the gymnasium especially, is usually fully occupied in the evenings.
Asides from day-to-day usage, Y Centre frequently hosts extra activities like aerobics dance classes, ninjutsu self-defense classes and futsal competitions at a separate charge. All these are open to the public for participation and the pictures and videos of the events are regularly shared on their FB page.
Although empty during the day, there seems to be other services like massages, haircuts and manicures offered as well inside a small room designated as the Skills Centre.
BI1M (Bahasa Inggeris 1Malaysia)
Blink and you might almost miss it. On the second floor amidst the hustle and bustle of the government agencies, is BI1M. Another initiative under NBOS and implemented by the Ministry of Finance, this programmed was launched in partnership with SOLS 24/7 with the aim of improving the standard of English in urban and rural areas.
A small handwritten signed taped to the window states that there are free communicative language lessons available for different groups of the community ranging from adults, teenagers, kids aged 7 to 12 years old, to housewives and retirees.
BI1M is available at all three UTCs in KL.
The Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development (KPWKM) occupies a unit on a quiet corner of the third floor and enclosed within is Kafe@Teen, an adolescent centre for youths between the ages of 13 to 24. Kafe@Teen is dedicated to helping youths achieve a well-rounded transition from teenage years into adulthood.
The place is cheerfully decorated with comfortable couches, bean bags, coloured streamers and lanterns. There is also a TV, computers with internet connection and a mini library to keep one occupied. Kafe@Teen also offer services like counselling sessions, field trips, health consultations regarding sexual reproduction, dietary habits and more.
According to KPWKM’s website, only youths that have signed up to be members are allowed to use the facilities provided. If so, this feels like a waste considering that the space remains largely unused unless there was an activity organised at that particular centre.
Kafe@Teen is also available at UTC Keramat.
Sharing the same space as Kafe@Teen under KPWKM, is a spa service offering 20 to 90-minute body treatments. These treatments range from facials, body massages to even pre-natal and post-natal massages. They also offer pedicure and manicure services at a reasonable rate.
As this is an external service brought in by KPWKM, the spa treatments are only available through appointments and offered exclusively to women.
All in all, while certain services like the Y Centre seem to have thrived, not all of them last. The Kedai Kain 1Malaysia and Kedai Buku 1Malaysia are prime examples. Both are still listed on the directories but a recent visit indicated that the lots they used to occupy on the Mezzanine floor are now standing empty and neglected.
UTC Pudu Sentral opened to much fanfare when it started but as time went on, the public’s awareness on the additional facilities and services being offered within the premises has seemingly declined. Perhaps, much still can be done in engaging the public so that the centre may continue to live up to its full potential of truly serving the rakyat.
UTC Pudu Sentral is located at:
Address: Pudu Sentral, 50550 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03 – 8000 8000
Hours: 8am – 10pm
By Lyn Ong
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