Saturday, October 31, 2009

Majlis Bandaraya Petaling Jaya - Where is the transparency and accountability?

When Pakatan Rakyat managed to wrest Selangor from Barisan Nasional, I was happy and was looking forward for changes and reforms. I expected that there would be greater openness, transparency, accountability and democracy.

First, that call for local council elections was ignored, and they appointed local councillors for 1 year (probation), and I had hoped that after a year we will be having local council elections - but NO, they just appointed again for another year. In fact, there seem to be no political will to go for elections so that the people can elect their local councillors. They were quick to state that they cannot because the law had to be amended at the Federal level, but then there were other legal opinions that stated that they could have the elections now. [If one is uncertain about the law, then the Pakatan Government should have taken the matter to court to get an interpretation of the law, and a declaration that the State has the powers to hold local council elections - there was no such application filed at all - and that is indicative of the position that Pakatan took - they were not interested in any reforms or elections, they preferred appointing their party members and pro-Pakatan persons as councillors.]

Well, what about elections at kampung, kampung baru, tamans, etc.. There was no law preventing them from doing that. But, save for Perak, who had elections for kampungs and 1 kampung baru, Pakatan did not bother. If there had been elections, then the various areas elected reps could then also elect leaders, who could be the persons appointed by State as members of the local council. [Of course, there could be some appointments to ensure representatives of minority concerns also get into the Local Council].

So, there was no elections - no democracy.

Let us now look at the question of transparency, accountability and openess, and for that I have picked on the Majlis Bandaraya Petaling Jaya. I visited their website, i.e.

There was information about council meeting dates, but alas, there was no mention of the Agenda, and/or at the very least a summary of decisions made at the various meetings. If there was an agenda, concerned members of the community could possibly e-mail their views to the Local Council before they decided for Petaling Jaya. If decisions made were made known, then all will know. It would be best if full minutes are published on their website - but some may argue that some things may be 'sensitive' or secret - we can accept that but there is no rationale for at least letting people know a summary of the decisions taken.

It would also be good to have information about attendance at these meetings.

We still have a couple of years until the next General Elections, and I do hope that we do see some more democracy, accountability and transparency.

There should also be openness, i.e. a commitment to answer queries put to the Local Council. Invite questions to be sent, and give responses to these questions. And, it would be good if the questions and answers be published on their website.

They have an Aduan section, and maybe there are responses from the MBPJ - but these are not publicly accessible.

What are the Local Councillors doing? I know some of them are doing a lot of work but alas this information is not at all available on the website.

If Pakatan is desirous in maintaining the support of the people, it must be different from the Barisan Nasional - and must tell the people how they are different.

It terms of transparency and accountability - it seems that they are no better than the BN.

In terms of democracy - it seems that they are no better than the BN.

Pakatan leaders still behave that they are just in the Opposition, as it was pre-March 2008. They are now in government in a few States, and the people really want to know how they are different from the BN. The only difference seem to be new faces. Am I wrong?

Time is running out, and the opportunity for real changes and reform is running out....


amoker said...

I see more on practicality. They are not able to control the elements in the MBPJ even, so how to do the change? I think if they have more stability in numbers, Pakatan will initiate the big change.

Ang Tan Loong said...

Dear Charles,
got this blog from a pest controller friend of mind. It is true that PR is not walking the talk. I do have lots of reservations over such local councils. It is indeed ironic to note that ADUNs have to fight tooth and nail to win in an election, but councilors need not do so. In Selangor there is only 12 local councils and 56 state seats, meaning an average of 1 council to 5 seats or controlling 5 ADUNs. Politically, The Presidents of LCs have greater power than Aduns. Aduns are allocated only Rm.500k/annum to look after their constituents whereas LCs have hundreds of millions in their annual budget. It doesn't make sense at all right? Pleae read

and also my article in Malaysiakini.