You are a learned man and should be well-versed in the laws related to your job, but for the benefit of the readers of this column, please allow me to enlighten them on the appointment of councillors.
Section 10 (2) of the Local Government Act states: Councillors of the local authority shall be appointed from amongst persons the majority of whom shall be persons ordinarily resident in the local authority area who in the opinion of the state authority have wide experience in local government affairs or who have achieved distinction in any profession, commerce or industry, or are otherwise capable of representing the interests of their communities in the local area.
That is the law. It’s simple – the majority shall be residents who have experience in local authority or are professionals like lawyers, doctors and engineers or those capable of looking after the community.
That’s all. There is no mention of representation by members of political parties or families or dynasties. Therefore, your reaction to the fact that three members from one family will be sitting as councillors is indefensible.
You were quoted by the New Straits Times as saying that “there is nothing wrong in appointing three members of a family as municipal councillors” and that “they are there by virtue of their party positions.”
Sir, your rationale breaches the basic pre-requisites prescribed in the Act. It is understandable if you had said that they are “professionals” or “they have excellent knowledge on local government affairs”.
But if you had said that “they are looking after the interests of the community” the people of Klang will certainly take umbrage.
Therefore, under what limb of the Act are they being appointed? How could you disregard what the law states and appoint councillors based solely on their positions in their parties?
Below I append an e-mail from Krishna Singh of Seremban which was sent to you:
One more scandal in the most developed state in the country? Why is it only in your state? Maybe theSun Exco has a secret agenda against you. You should investigate. Maybe being riddled with scandals is a sign of being the most developed state. Are the councillors in all these town councils appointed by you? Then maybe you need a better vetting system.
And your reply, reproduced in verbatim, to his mail was:
Thank you for sending e-mail to me. For your information, all the names to be appointed as councillors will be vet (sic) by Police and also BPR. If any of the names have problems, the state government won’t appoint them as councillors.
Sir, councillors may have not done anything wrong in the eyes of the law. As the ACA always defends its ineffectiveness by saying that “there is not enough evidence”, let it rest.
But what about the moral and ethical wrongs that have been conducted by councillors, and sometimes even assemblymen and government officials?
By building a mansion without prior approval, a serving councillor breached the Town and Country Planning Act. Instead of revoking his appointment, you have re-appointed him.
So, the so-called vetting process is nothing but an eyewash to say they have no criminal records.
By the way, Sir, your government alienated 43,000 sq ft of land to the wife of the councillor to build his palace.
Do you know how many people are living in shanty sheds nearby? You talk about housing for all and your “zero squatter” campaign, and yet, a drive around Klang will show otherwise.
How do poor people who deserve or need land go about applying for land in your state?
Is there a formal application or must the request be made through party officials? I am sure there are many out there who would want to build a small house – not a mansion – and they do not know how to go about it.
Could you enlighten us, please?
And Sir, remember the Petaling Jaya City Councillors who voted to give Seni Jaya Sdn Bhd monopoly of billboards? The decision was revoked after a public outcry.
The police and the ACA have no records of the councillors’ decisions, but don’t you think they were morally wrong? And don’t you think it is unethical to contra donations for the football team for licence fees?
Well, we are told that most of them are being re-appointed. And it is because they hold positions in their political parties.
But Sir, what about whether they had served the interests of the local community in their current term? Or is it a case of Semuanya OK! with how they had performed?
Taken from TheSUN, written by R. Nadeswaran, the deputy editor (special reporting) at theSun. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org