‘Local councils still in dire straits’


Only a portion of the 24 councillors were appointed in each local authorities in Selangor, says a coalition of NGOs

Leven Woon, FMT

A Selangor-based coalition of NGOs today expressed concern over the state government’s delay in appointing a full batch of local councillors across the 12 district authorities in Selangor, saying this might lead to potential policy snags.

The Coalition of Good Governance (CGG) spokesperson Jerald Joseph said despite the need to appoint 24 councillors in all the local governments by Dec 31 last year, the state has so far only appointed a portion of them.

He said for Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ), only 19 of out the 24 councillors were appointed

“The whole of PJ is divided into 24 zones and each councillor is supposed to take care of one area. Now there are five zones which are not represented,” he told a press conference today.

Another NGO leader from Friends of Kota Damansara, Jeffrey Phang, claimed that some local governments were mulling over the rise in property density (plot ratio) in areas surrounding the Mass Railway Transit (MRT) project.

“This is going to have a serious impact in places like PJ, which is already very crowded. Who is going to oversee our interest ?” he asked.

Most of the local councillors in Selangor were appointed from the Pakatan Rakyat coalition parties of DAP, PKR and PAS, except a 25% quota which is supposedly reserved for the NGO members.

The appointment of councillors involves a great deal of horse-trading and political negotiations.

Jerald said while the NGO coalition places restoration of local council election as the ultimate agenda, they were concerned that even the current interim measure of having local councillors appointed by the state was not transparent.

For example, he said, the guidelines for councillors appointment was kept in the dark and the 25% quota allocated for NGO members was diluted.