Friday, October 26, 2012

Malaysians eager for true democracy at all levels of government

We have all been talking about Local Council Elections, where the people will democratically vote in the members of the Local Council, including also the Mayor or the head of the Local Council. Unfortunately, we are still waiting for the day when we will be able to vote in our local government ...

It disturbs me that the Selangor Menteri Besar seem to be no longer talking about 'elections' or true democracy - but just reforms, and wanting Local Councils to evolve into "...state government’s operator in managing cities..." . No Sir, the democratically elected Local Councils would be the 'people's operator in managing their cities, towns and surrounding areas...and they will not be 'directed or controlled by the State or the Federal government..., which is exactly what is happening today where the people not only have no say on who sits on these Local Councils but also on what should the Local Council's focus be on...or where its money should be best spend within the constituency of the Local Council - 

Have you seen Kulai Jaya Local Council Building? - so beautiful it is, certainly would have cost a lot. The monies of the the Local Government could have better spent for the good of the people....a effective public transport system...better....  Beauty should never be the priority - Tallest Flag, F1, Twin Towers, Daya Bumi - world records are not the priority... The priority is always the people - and poor and the marginalized is always the highest priority..

The State Government wants to control Local Councils primarily because of the money - Local Councils have a lot of revenue ....certainly more than what the State government has...

We certainly need serious reforms to ensure that State government revenue/income increases....maybe, part of the income tax that Malaysians pay should also go to the State government. The UMNO-led coalition government has made State governments weak...and without much revenue or even power - Putrajaya rules... we need to look at this...

BUT please do not try to make Local Councils into 'state organs' or 'federal government tools' - it should belong to the people... and they are fully capable of not just electing in their Mayors and councilors - but also determining the agenda and priorities of their local government...

Maybe what Khalid told the media was different from what was reported - because what he seems to be saying goes contrary to what I believe is Pakatan Rakyat's position - free and fair elections at the local government level... the people chooses... 

I wonder how much of the revenue collected by the Local Councils goes to the State government. Logically, a percentage should go to the State. Or is Local Council money only meant to be spend by the Local Council within the geographical boundaries of the Council -- we need to find more about all this? 

By the way, the London Mayor is directly elected by the people - and as such, it truly can be said to be the people's mayor. (In Malaysia, mayors are appointed by the government - not chosen by the people.....Prime Ministers and Menteri Besars are also similarly not directly chosen by the people...)

London Mayoral Election 2012: Boris re-elected as London Mayor

Boris Johnson rescued the Conservatives from disastrous results in the local elections last night, bucking the national trend to win a second term as Mayor of London....- The Telegraph, 25/10/2012, London Mayoral Election 2012: Boris re-elected as London Mayor

Wonder what will happen if all the people of Malaysia were given the right to vote and choose their Prime Minister directly? their Menteri Besar? Would they have chosen the people who are now in these positions today?

Malaysian want to choose their own kampung/taman/community leaders - NO MORE APPOINTED LEADERS PLEASE

Malaysians want to democratically choose their own Local Government - Local Council and even the Mayor. Better if the people choose their own 'Mayor' rather than the Local Councillors amongst themselves choosing the Mayor and the Head...  

Malaysians also hopefully would soon be able to democratically go to the ballot box and choose their own Senators...  Why should Senators be appointed still?


Khalid Ibrahim says local council reform is top priority

UPDATED @ 01:59:23 PM 25-10-2012
October 25, 2012
KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 25 — Mentri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim vows to reform local councils and make it Selangor government’s topmost priority if he is re-elected to lead the state.

“I want to reform the local councils, but I am pressed for time.”

“Local councils should be the state government’s operator in managing cities, and should have the ability to create an environment where citizens can feel that they own the city,” Abdul Khalid (picture) told The Malaysian Insider in a recent interview.

According to Abdul Khalid, he wants Selangor citizens to be proud of their cities, much like Londoners.

“To have a great city, we need a great mayor, just like how Londoners are proud of their mayor, the one with the uncombed hair,” he said.

London Mayor Boris Johnson is well-known for his unruly hair, and has become the pride of Londoners after the city successfully organised the 2012 Olympic Games.

According to Abdul Khalid, the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) is among the best local councils in Selangor, in addition to having the highest revenue.

“I recently launched a report about MBPJ which collects revenue of nearly RM300 million. The majority of residents in MBPJ are also graduates, with reasonable income.

“The problem, however, is that currently Petaling Jaya residents do not feel that the city is theirs, they see Kuala Lumpur as theirs instead, and Petaling Jaya is only a place where they go home for the night.

“This is what I want to change, so Petaling Jaya residents can feel that Petaling Jaya is theirs,” he explained.
Abdul Khalid believes that in order to reform local councils, there was a need to change the public’s mindset over their role.

“When we involve the public in the discussions to develop a city, they will feel a sense of ownership and will not hesitate to pay any fees or taxes needed for the good of the council.

“They will feel proud if their city is clean and safe, proud of its cultural performances and sports teams, football teams, for example,” he added.

Abdul Khalid is Selangor’s first mentri besar who is not from Umno since the first post-independence general election was held in 1959.

For the first time in history, Selangor, the wealthiest state in Malaysia, fell into the hands of the opposition — PKR, the DAP and PAS — in 2008.

The opposition also formed Pakatan Rakyat (PR) afterwards, which denied the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) its traditional two-thirds majority in Parliament.

Selangor will continue to be the centre of attention in the next general election, which is predicted to be the fiercest ever.

The issue of water has been a major one leading to the general election, with finger-pointing between PR and BN over control of the water resource of the wealthiest state. It has opened the public’s eyes on the amount of money that will be at stake.

This crisis also has the potential to determine votes in the upcoming general election for Selangor and Kuala Lumpur, with results hanging on which side gets to be blamed if water supply gets disrupted.

Besides governing Selangor, PR also won 10 out of 11 seats in the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur in 2008. - Malaysian Insider, 25/10/2012, Khalid Ibrahim says local council reform is top priority

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