Speech by M.Kula Segaran at the swearing in
ceremony of local councillors on Thursday, 31st July 2008:
Local councils - new approach
Ladies and gentleman: We thank the
Perak state government for nominating us as local councillors for the
City Council of Ipoh.
It's a great honour and we take our duties very seriously and we hope we
will never let down the confidence and hope placed in us all by the
state government and the rate payers of this great city. We will
endeavour to discharge our duties in the best possible manner and in
accordance with all the rules and laws governing our position.
As we all know Malaysia has a three-tier government and local government
is one of it. Local Government is not a department of the state
government but are local authorities in their own right. They manage
their own finances and being bodies corporate, are given specific
In the urban areas like Ipoh the main complaints of the people are
related to clogged drains, uncut grass, traffic jams, potholes,
mosquito's, uncollected rubbish , illegal hawkers and lack of a safe
environment - in short problems of daily live. Peoples want to live
safe, quality and hassle free lives and as local councillors, it is our
job to make it happen for them.
Thus the local council should be on its toes at all times failing which
we would be punished and rejected by the voters in the next election.
It is also time to restore local government elections
The local government elections which
were abolished in the 1967 is urgently needed to be restored. The last
local elections were helped in 1963. All the City councillors here would
be proud if we were elected instead of being appointed as city
In this respect we urge the Federal
Government do amendment the necessary provisions of the Local Government
Act to allow for direct elections of councillors. The present process of
appointment does not go well at all with the Democratic process we all
Although the Pakataan Government is
in power in 5 states, local government is still the most important
aspect that can give the people the attention they want and need.
The Athi Nahappan Report of 1968
clearly recommended the restoration of local elections. But the Federal
government is unwilling to restore local elections. the most reason case
of this denial of justice is the announcement by Minister for Local
Government and Housing Datuk Ong Kah Chuan who rejected local government
elections immediately after the General Elections March 2008.
There is also a new school of thought
that the State Government it self can institute changes by degazzeting
certain provisions of the Local Government Act thus allowing for the
reintroduction of local government elections.
I urge the Perak State Government to
re look at the Act and if possible make the changes and bring back local
Below are some suggestions that need to be seriously considered by the
council for implementation.
• review and reassess all
service, organisation and methods of local council activities in
• set up new best principles to
speed up delivery, efficient and curb waste and improve quality.
• get local communities, NGOs,
civil society involved in the activities of local councils. My views
on possible changes to be brought in the interim until direct
elections to local councils are as follows:
1) All meetings of the local
council should be held after office hours as the common complain
is that local government officers are difficult to get because
they are perpetually "in meetings."
2) All local councilors meetings should be held after office
hours and the meetings be open to all citizens. Also attire at
these meetings by rate payers should be relaxed to allow an
3) All sub-committee meetings to be open to public. All this
meeting be recorded and put on the Internet to get feed back
from the rate payers.
4) The address and contact telephone numbers of local councilors
should be easily made available in addition to having a mobile
office at the markets. In fact notices must be put in zones for
which the local councilors are responsible and all meetings with
the rate payers should be recorded and put in the website which
has to be up dated every 15 days
5) All meetings must be notified to the public with sufficient
notice so that they can attend and the witness the
6) Sufficient notice and information should be provided to
enable the public to have a say in the decision making process
in particular the Local Agenda 21 process.
7) All road signages must be in Bahasa, Mandrin and in Tamil.
8) All tender awards and appointment of officers in charge of
tender must be transparent.
9) All senior officers must publicly declare their assets
From now on it is not that we lord on you but you and we
together are partners to better manage our local government. We
are partners with local community, leaders and NGOs who all play
an important role in local society.
Need to implement the CAT
The city council must discharge its duties withot fear or favour. All
partners of the present system (councillors, civil servants and rate
payers) must work towards a higher standard compared to the privious
local council. Bottlenecks in the system must be curbed and we must head
for zero corruption.
Thus unless local councils adhere to the Competency, Accountability and
Transparency princilpes we all will be caught with the same disease as
that which brought down the BN
A totally new approach to local government is needed in the light of the
peoples verdict that showed their anger and dissatisfaction with the BN
methods. We cannot use BN methods anymore, these have been discredited
and rejected by the people.
M. Kula Segaran, National Vice Chairman & MP for Ipoh