View Full Version : Guess who is the moderator for the Local Governance forum this Sunday?

13-09-2003, 01:10 AM
Mano Maniam who "operates" the Kopitiam. Surprise? I am. Let us see how Uncle Chan will manage this interesting forum and keep the cool. Unfortunately, he will not have the full cast of Kopitiam to help him but hopefully this forum will not evolve into a noisy kopitiam.

Over the last few months, there has been much discussion in the media over the performance of local authorities. The Ampang Jaya Municipal Council came under heavy attack for corruption that resulted in the termination of one councilor and the replacement of the municipal head. The Ipoh Municipal Council and DBKL also came under attack, accused of being over-zealous in policing alleged immoral conduct. The Klang Council for wanting to wear Joseph's coats of many colours and a mace not much different from that held by the Zulu King. And of course we here in Subang Jaya has a fair share in our RM 3 million Big Bird.

These complains are not new. Local authorities have come under scrutiny for

ƒį allowing (or sometime not effectively stopping) over-
development, leading to traffic congestion

ƒį discrimination in issuing business operating licenses

ƒį lack of proper planning and provision of basic services such as
markets, playgrounds,

ƒį Poor maintenance of roads, drains and other public facilities

ƒį Wastage of funds, corruption and a lack of proper public

On many occasions, elected officials such as State Assemblymen and Members of Parliament receive complains on these issues and are forced to spend time resolving them, instead of focusing on state and national matters. In some cases even elected officials are unable to gain the cooperation of the local authorities to resolve matters.

Unlike Consumers organization, and trade unions, there is no federation of residents groups. Thus there is no collective strength. Thus the council can get away with the crime. Given the heterogenous nature of resident groups, more study is required on the feasibility of such a federation.

There is wide spread support for calls for good local governance, across the political spectrum, as everybody suffers when local authorities fail in their duties. However, members of the establishment do not support the call for local elections, given that it will take away a form of patronage and political power from the party. Similarly, the media is quite supportive of calls to improve local governance, but may be more cautious of calls for local elections.

The Forum on Good Local Governance is the first step towards improving governance at the local level. The general aim of the forum would be to gather residents to discuss and begin to take action on local governance. The objectives of the forum are:

1. To increase awareness of the historical background and the
role of local authorities in governance

2. A forum for residents and residents”¦ groups to voice their
concerns about the performance of local authorities.

3. To bring together likeminded residents and residents”¦ groups
to develop a plan for further action towards good local

Visit www.mylocalelections.com to read and learn more about what local governance mean to you as ratepayers. Better still, sacrifice your Sunday lazy morning with us at this forum. We will feed you with a simple breakfast and a light lunch. In between, those powerful speakers will feed you with interesting facts and fancies. See you there.