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Ipoh’s Unelected Mayor and councilors Still Accountable to Ratepayers & Principle of Integrity

Media Statement
M. Kula Segaran

(Ipoh, Wednesday):
Late last month the Ipoh City Council¡¦s landscape director Zulkifil Redzuan had claimed trial to three charges of corruption, allegedly committed at three different places in 2001 and 2003.

The Ipoh City Council has decided to allow Zulkifli Rezuan to continue working in the position with full pay but with reduced powers.

Ipoh City mayor Hasan Nawawi has said that the City Council has decided not to suspend Zulkifli as money ¡V saving exercise.

This decision has disappointed a good number of Ipoh ratepayers. As Ipoh Ratepayers and Taxpayers Associations deputy president Victor Sankey has pertinently asked, ¡§But the issue here is why was Zulkifli Rezuan not suspended or interdicted on half-pay as required by existing government discipline regulations?¡¨

Mayor Hasan Nawawi should remember that although he and all the other councilors are unelected by the people of Ipoh, they are still under the law accountable to the people in all their official actions and decisions.

And they must always act strictly in accordance with government regulations and general orders and respect the principle of public integrity without compromise, and without fear or favour. Otherwise, they will be judged as having failed to live up to their oath of office to protect and promote the public interest, and the interests of the people of Ipoh at all times. Under such circumstances, if they are officers of self-respect, they too should resign. Because they will be perceived by the people quite rightly as betraying the public trust.

The Ipoh Council’s weak and strange decision will inevitably strengthen the public impression that there are some people in the government who are not serious about the Prime Minister¡¦s campaign to fight corruption and to restore integrity in the public service. This would be most unfortunate as a public perception.

In the larger sense, the Ipoh Council¡¦s unwise and unfortunate decision reflects the sad state of local government in our country. An elected Ipoh City Council would have been more sensitive to the needs and expectations of the Ipoh people and perhaps more answerable to calls for greater integrity in public life. An unelected council of course does not have to face the wrath of the people every few years.

Ipoh City council has a total 22 local Councilors appointed by the state government. An emergency full board meeting need to summoned and the least they can do is get the reasons from the disciplinary board as to why they have decided not to suspend Zukilifi todate.

As for State Urban and Local Government Committee chairman Datuk Chang Ko Youn¡¦s role in this controversy, he should be fully shamed of himself for not standing up for accountability and integrity in public life.




* M. Kula Segaran, MP for Ipoh  Barat and DAP National Vice Chairman

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