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and its story
What's your action plan, Hakim?
MPSJ president Ab Hakim Borhan kena taruh kaw-kaw by Subang Jaya ratepayers during MB Khir Toyo's Mesra Rakyat session recently.
Posted on 09.05am Apr 10, 2005
By JEFF OOI
April 10, Subang Jaya
Besieged Selangor menteri besar Dr Mohd Khir Toyo has gone on the roadshow in his Mesra Rakyat programme to rebuild his blemished image. His bandwagon made a pitstop in Subang Jaya last Thursday.
The session was not very well publicised and even the state assemblyman for the constituency, Lee Hwa Beng, couldn't confirm the agenda until the very last few hours.
An insider said it was intended that way, so that the residents' grouses could be better managed as the crowd could easily be made up by the civil servants. Anyway, the MB just needs human props to bolster his importance, he won't have time to count the residents in his who-to-contact book.
Photo opportunities - like those 'facing-the-firing-squad' type of photos that fill up Star Metro pages - will always be there as the kakitangan kerajaan would most obediently "menurut perintah" to become the MB's wallflowers by taking leave from the work desks and turn up in dresses fit for wedding (see picture above, story in theSun Weekender - Oops... we are referring to Seri Setia state assemblyman and state executive councillor Seripah Noli Syed Hussin.) Anyway, Khir Toyo didn't look embarrassed as he seemed to be just too happy seeing so many people moving around whenever he was around.
But Subang Jaya ratepayers - residential and commercial - turned up in throngs, split themselves in strategic positions to take on the various bureaucrats concurrently - from council president Ab. Hakim Borhan to state exco in charge of local authorities, Mokhtar Dahlan. They cut the chase and filled Khir Toyo and his entourage with an earful of what needs to be done, and done right.
Recorded an outsider: "Subang Jaya residents turned up in full force to meet them -- not for the customary handshake and the teh and kuih-muih that followed. It was serious business and the anger and frustration could be seen on the faces of those who sat at the other side of the divide.
They opened up -- no-holds-barred, no inhibitions, no protocol, but a barrage of questions ranging from land to inefficient public officers."
Rightly or wrongly, that's how politicians and public servants are being perceived. These men in ties, bush jackets and Khir Toyo's overcoat are after all public servants salaried by the people.
Here are some pictures by community leader PC Yeoh who covered the event for me as I was hard at work ;-) in the office:
USJ Save Our Balai Polis Action Committee chairman Raymond Tan telling the MB the residents' stand on the issue: Free the police reserved land from all encumbrances, including proposal to build a food court or futsal court. But many people noticed Khir Toyo didn't bother to make eye contact with the rakyat he is supposed to mesra with.
USJ2 resident Christopher Ng asking the the MPSJ Director of Building and Planning, Hj. Md. Isa b. Jaafar, whether it has been a mistake by MPSJ to have appointed contractors under 'sebut harga' (a practice that bestows the president absolute power to award EVERY project under RM200,000 without open tender) for 'balding' hundreds of trees especially during the hot season. Seated is the Selangor State Secretary.
USJ14 resident Patrick Tan, a founding member of USJ.com.my editorial team, asking Mokhtar Dahlan on the gazetting of greenlungs in Subang Jaya. From Mokhtar's body language, you can see the exco did not show much interest in his questions.
However, the man in the hot seat is none other than MPSJ council president Hakim Borhan (picture below, seated left). The SS15 business community in Subang Jaya town centre wanted to know when the council is going to remove all the unsightly and unkempt flower pots that are preventing IWK from helping them to resolve the sewage problems.
Samson, a spokesman for the business community told the council president that MPSJ officers had been promising to do so for the last few years but without anything being done and the stink has become unbearable. They are visibly fed up with the broken promises.
But the moment of the day was when Hakim the council president got a proper tongue-lashing in the open public. Let me quote a person from neutral ground to tell you the story - I quote Hor Weng Cai, a final-year mass communications student at Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman who is on attachment with theSun. His story was published in theSun Weekend (April 9):
MPSJ president Datuk Ab. Hakim Borhan was on the receiving end from one irate resident. "What have you been doing all this while? We are the taxpayers and we pay your salary ..."
Hakim kept his head down and remained silent while his secretary tried to calm things down. "Tell me what is your action plan now. I want to hear straight from you," the resident thundered.
Hakim: "I will visit your area on ..." Just as he finished the sentence came the counter claim like a knockout blow: "I am bored of your promises. You have said this same thing over and over again. Give me a deadline."
The silence was deafening.
Local council staff also came under fire. Rude officers, complaints of being passed from one department to another and inefficiency was also highlighted.
Was it an occasion for heat-letting or was democracy at work? A combination of both.
Residents spewed fire and no attempts were made to censor what they had to say. It was an opportunity for the people to tell the policy makers of their aspirations and wishes for the community.
The person who 'taruh' the council president kaw-kaw is none other than USJ9 ratepayer Abdul Rahman (picture below), whose wife former RTM newscaster Hasliza firmly stood behind to lend moral support.
But do you think the Mesra Rakyat session has achieved anything concrete in propping up a good governance? Let me quote raw accounts from the communications intern again:
When Mohd Khir, after more than two hours, took centre stage, it was an anti-climax of sorts.
He provided the statistics -- 77 of the 96 complaints were land-related matters, thanked the wakil rakyat for their presence and said that some problems would be resolved immediately while others would take time.
Did the people go home contented? Hardly. For all the time and effort, they never got answers to many of their questions. Their elected representatives never spoke.
The big question is: Was this first of many such public meetings in Selangor or was it an event to placate Subang Jaya residents who have been very vocal on issues affecting their neighbourhood?
When this question was posed to Mohd Khir, the answer was: "I have a lot of districts to cover. It all depends on my schedule and I am a very busy man."
How can this be interpreted? Hopefully, the mentri besar will find time to listen to everyone.
Meanwhile, the residents get a platform to speak up, and Khir Toyo moves on to another of his roadshows at your expense!
It could easily have been a governance therapy for the governors and the governed - one side is surely sick, and the other is plain sick-and-tired.
USJ police station: Guessing game goes on
Foodcourt: 'Overwhelming objection'