http://dapmalaysia.org Forward Feedback
by Lim Guan Eng
(Petaling Jaya, Tuesday
): DAP express shock at Selangor Menteri Besar Datuk Dr Mohamad Khir Toyo for asking the Local Government Act 1976 (LGA) to be amended to allow for professionals to be appointed as local councilors. In a statement issued by his office, all candidates for local councilors are vetted for their integrity by the police and Anti-Corruption Agency and also to ensure that they do not have any outstanding debts of assessment rates. To strengthen local government Mohamad called for the LGA to be amended to appoint professionals to increase diversity of backgrounds amongst local councilors.
The Selangor Menteri Besar should go for a refresher course on the powers of local government when appointment of professionals is already provided for under Section 10(2) of the Local Government Act 1976,
“that councillors of the local authority shall be appointed from among persons who are ordinarily resident in the local authority area and who in the opinion of the state authority:
(a) have wide experience in local government affairs, or
(b) who have achieved distinction in any profession, commerce or industry, or,
(c) are otherwise capable of representing the interests of their communities in the local authority area. “
If the Menteri Besar does not know that he has the powers to appoint professionals, then he is not fit to hold such a high office. If he can not get proper advice from his State Legal Advisor and does not want to learn from DAP leaders there are many other experts on local government that are available such as academic Dr Goh Ban Lee or even senior reporter R. Nadeswaran from the Sun newspaper.
By not adhering to the guidelines of appointing local councillors, many from dubious background have been appointed. Many appointed local councilors are neither professionals nor have experience in local government affairs except for abusing their powers for their own personal benefit as shown by the three Klang Municipal Council members who constructed their houses without approval, Datuk Zakaria Md Deros, Mazlynoor Abdul Latif and Faizal Abdullah .
These local councillors’ only claim to qualification in respect to adhering to the criteria set out in section 10(2) of the LGA is in representing the interests of their communities in the local area. This critiera is subjective, arbitrary and open to abuse. The best way to determine whether a person can represent he interests of the local community is through open democratic elections and not through an appointive system. Only through locally elected councils can there be accountability and transparency as well as stop the open abuse of power.
* Lim Guan Eng, Secretary-General of DAP