Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Should Government Resume Local Council Election?/ 是否该恢复地方议会选举?

updated at 5.20pm

This morning, I attended a panel discussion on local council election live on Ai FM radio together with Human Rights Activist Ng Chong Soon.

In principal, it is good to have local council election since citizens can exercise their rights to elect their own councilors.

Hopefully this will make councilors more committed and in their work. Same goes to local authority that it could be more democratic, transparent and fair in dealing with the public.

The local council is the third tier in the local government and closest to the rakyat.

Restoring local council election will obviously generates a lot of excitement and hopefully we will have a more efficient local council.

However, the reality may be slightly different. I’m talking from the point of view of serving 3 terms as an EXCO and hence have intimate dealings and knowledge of the running of local council.

The local council’s duty is basically to provide services to rakyat and serves as a facilitator of economic growth within the local council.

However, local council have very limited financial resources and growth of revenue is unable to keep up with the rise of the council’s enormous number of staffs.

Besides that, the technical know how of local council is very limited.

These breed inefficiency, corruption and poor delivery system. The ‘tidak apa’ attitude of some staffs is prevailing because of the closed system of services.

Hence, having local election will not solve the problem until the system of service is open up and the inherent structural problems are rectified. There should be increased financial resources and technical know how before it could function effectively.

This cannot be achieved by local council election. There may be even a constitutional amendment that requires cooperation of the state government. Often state government is unwillingly to give up their power. It is what they regard as Federalisation of a state institution.

In short, it will require a total revamp of local council authority before a local council election can serve its purpose of a more effective, functioning local council.

Since local council’s financial sources are very limited, they are often dependent on state government or federal government for grants for development expenditures.

When different political parties run the local council and state government as well as federal government, one can imagine the amount of politicking, the lack of common objectives and more of arm-twisting.

The BN federal government will not be so helpful to PR state government and PR state government may not look favorably to a local council dominated by BN councilor. In the same way, the reverse may be true.

The PR promised in their election manifesto to resume local council election. If the state government is committed to have local council election, they can still do it despite the federal government not agreeable to it.

Maybe the government should allow local council election in PR states. This will be a good pilot project to evaluate local authorities where councilors are elected Then, it will be interesting to watch whether an elected councilor will ensure a more effective and functioning local council, or it will just be a mere exercise of voting and the local rakyat not benefiting at all from these exercise.
今早,我出席Ai FM“爱谈天下事”时事节目,对恢复地方议会选举议题发表了一些看法。另一名受邀嘉宾是人权月筹委主席吴仲顺先生。

我认为,推行地方议会选举是好的做法,让选民可以行使本身的权力推选县市议员,促进民主进程。通过民选,我们也希望县市议员更忠于职守,对工作更负责。与此同时,县、市议会的操作也会更民主、透明和公平。

地方议会是地方政府的第3层权力架构,也是最贴近人民的一层。恢复地方议会选举肯定让选民雀跃不已,对有效的地方议会充满期待。

然而,现实中可能和理论略有不同。这是我担任3届州行政议员期间,管理和与地方议会打交道的经验和心得。

地方议会的工作是为地方上的人民服务,及促导当地的经济活动。 然而,这个政府机构的资源和收入来源却非常有限,其经济收入增长根本无法负担大量的工作人员。

此外,议会里也缺乏专业人士和技术专才。这导致议会的工作和服务效率滑落,表现腐败。由于地方议会实行“闭门”制度(没有调职制),议会的工作人员普遍上都抱持“无所谓”、不认真的工作文化。

因此,除非开放职员调派及纠正固有的结构性问题,否则推行地方议会选举也无法确保现有的弊端获得解决。

要使地方议会有效地操作,首先必须增加其财政资源及技术专才。该两项问题并非能通过民选议员能解决的,可能需要州政府的配合进行修宪。不过,州政府往往不会情愿放弃他们的权力。

换言之,地方议会进行改组使必然的,这样才能确保选举达到真正的目的。

由于地方议会的经济来源非常有限,因此须依赖州政府和中央政府的财政援助和拨款,来进行地方上的发展计划。

当不同政党出任地方议会、州政府甚至是中央政府代表时,可以预见行事上会有无数的政治冲突、施压、缺乏共同目标等问题。

国阵中央政府或不乐意协助民联州政府,而民联州政府也不会“善待”由国阵议员主导的地方议会。相反的,若两党对调角色,相信结果也一是样。

民联政府在全国大选向选民矢言恢复地方议会选举。如果他们有意落实承诺,就算中央政府不同意,民联还是可以在他们执政的州推行民选议会代表。

也许中央政府应该允许民联州政府落实地方议会选举。这是评估民选议员和议会表现的好的先驱计划。之后,我们可以监督民选代表是否能确保地方议会有效操作,或仅是一个让选民形使表决权,但没有从中受益的措施。


12 comments:

GOHHOEHOE said...

YB Dato Dr.Chua Soi Lek

In my opinion the good results can be achieved through election provided ,every parties involved in the contest follow certain set of rules

i) Fielding candidates based on their experience and ability and not based on favourtism

ii)Every councillor put nation interest above individual interest or party interest.

iii)Voter vote based on rational thinking rather than emotion

GOHHOEHOE said...

YB Dato Dr.Chua SOIL LEK

This is one of the interesting articles I had read about Dr.GOH BAN LEE comment on local governance on the sun paper ,Dr.GOH BAN LEE can be contacted at gohbanlee@yahoo.com.


Livable cities
it's time to make our settlements people-centred

Tomorrow, Nov 8, is World Town Planning Day. The Federal Town and Country Planning Department is holding an international convention with the theme "Towards Livable Cities - The Asean Way" from Nov 8 to 10.

Hopefully, the convention will generate an interest in and ignite a concerted movement to build livable cities. This is especially timely as Malaysians are engrossed in the misdeeds of councillors and giving opinions on their selection.

Livable cities are people-centred human settlements with emphasis on strengthening community. They have attractive and safe public realms such as well-maintained parks, squares and marketplaces. The built environment has human scale architecture and mixed land use of shops, houses, outdoor cafes, restaurants and space for community festivals to facilitate and promote interactions and civic engagement.

Livable cities are also characterised by short travelling distances for daily needs that are met by walking, cycling and use of mass transit, including public buses. Use of private motor cars gets low priority.

Above all, livable cities are safe cities.

Good examples of livable cities are Zurich, Vancouver, Vienna, Toronto and Melbourne, which have been acknowledged as offering the best quality of life in international ranking exercises.

For instance, Vancouver, the host to the biggest gathering of mayors, town planners and urban sociologists attending the recent World Urban Forum, is noted for its numerous and very well maintained parks, including Stanley Park and Dr Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden. There are also the quaint enclaves such as False Creek and Chinatown.

The attractive facilities are complemented with an integrated public transportation system of buses, sky-trains and ferries. Furthermore, access to all facilities, including public transport, is barrier free for the physically handicapped, senior citizens and mothers with babies. The overall result is a city that is alive, exciting and yet relaxing.

Among those who are impressed by Vancouver is Norliza Hashim, the president of the Malaysian Institute of Planners. She and many town planners from the federal and state town and country planning departments, Kuala Lumpur City Hall, Subang Jaya Municipal Council and Sepang District Council were part of about 45 Malaysians who attended the World Urban Forum.

The government, of course, cannot continuously send town planners and municipal, state and national leaders to Vancouver. But one does not have to visit Vancouver or Zurich or Vienna to learn about livable cities. There are books, journals and websites.

If Malaysians need to visit a city in order to learn, the most suitable is Singapore, generally acknowledged as the most livable city in Asia. It not only has a relatively safe public realm, including well maintained parks and attractive enclaves, but also a public transportation system and pedestrian facilities that are acclaimed as among the best in the world.

Although Malaysian towns and cities offer relatively good quality of life among cities of developing countries, they are still far behind those that are internationally acclaimed as most livable cities.

For example, there are few well-maintained parks, squares and enclaves that take into considerations climatic conditions to facilitate and encourage Malaysians to mix and interact outdoors. Barrier-free public transportation is still a dream. Worse, fear of crimes has discouraged many from taking leisurely strolls either in the suburbs or city centres.

On the contrary, projects that are anti-thesis to the development of livable cities are being built. For instance, the high priorities accorded to private vehicle owners have resulted in building expressways to relieve traffic jams and transportation problems. Unfortunately, these often destroy neighbourhoods and make walking to schools and markets impossible.

The fear of crimes has made many Malaysians seek safety in gated communities and guarded communities. But gates do not make the cities safer. They are obstacles to easy access to parks, schools and facilities, especially to the pedestrians and thus do not promote the development of livable cities.

While the advance of knowledge in urban design, town planning and social sciences should lead to cities becoming more conducive for work and bringing up families, in Malaysia the law gives the politicians, especially the councillors, the power to shape the urban environment. They approve development plans, including layout plans for private development.

If Malaysian cities are to be ranked among the top 50 livable cities in the world, there is a need for not only world-class professionals, but also councillors who have visions of better living conditions for the ratepayers and the integrity to do what is right.


Goh Ban Lee is a consultant interested in urban planning, housing and urban governance. Comments: feedback@thesundaily.com.


Updated: 03:34PM Tue, 07 Nov 2006

Huang Hai-chen said...

Dr Chua,

You should have realise from the begining the importance of the local council elections, which is to enhance transparency.

The present local council administration now operates like a secret society with everything being held close doors.

If elections are held for local councils, all elected councillors would be held responsible for what they are doing.

The problem and concern now is, are you able to fight for this from within the BN structure itself?

There are enough death already ever since the highland tower case.

MCA INSIDER said...

蔡公,

我说地方政府恢复选举走不走的好还得看民意。
地方政府是咱们国家的政府体制中最靠近人民,所以在地方上的抉择很重要。如果你有解剖308大选的成绩十七八九和他有关。举例
(一)雪州的地方政府议员牵涉勒索民脂民膏
(二)霹雳州某政党以地方政府之名;咋民之实
(三)吉打州地方政府大幅度调高门牌税
(四)槟城州却以米换番薯,人民唯有换掉番薯政府。

民情不可负;民意不可贱。能顺民意者就是才可以得天下的道理马华公会可要好好学喽!不要老是当巫统的传声筒。

Pearls said...

One question to you...

If other countries' Local Council can be elected, than why can't we?

What's with all the talking? It is just an excuse to not want to have it done, an excuse to be complacent and end up with what is happening now, Bkt Antarabangsa, Jalan Semantan, Highland Towers, an excuse to allow the corrupt and wicked to flourish, excuse! excuse! excuse to allow things to carry on as it is!!

We have seen so many cases of abuse of power in these Local Councils and it is time, EVERYONE, get their fat ass moving to make a change on this! There is simply no point in making all the huuu and haaaa sound and noise about things when nobody wants to make the effort to see things thru and demand that Local Council is to be elected.

So, as a residence of a place, I shall not just sit tight and write letters or attend all these council meetings when they want to build a big block of ugly concrete next to my house all in the name of developement. I will make it loud and clear that I want my local council elected even if it is going to cause me lots of inconveniences and trouble!! So, is anyone else that committed to make things happened?

Darick said...

Rakyat has been 'pushing' very hard to have back local council election. but regime umno strongly believe that local council should be 'owned' by them !
like Tun DrM said "if umno don change, then rakyat will change it for them"

lookcow said...

Before 308, Pakatan Rakyat showed their fully consent to resume local council election, after 308, in Selangor, Pakatan Rakyat's APPOINTED councilors fully consent to resume their monthly allowance.

南洋閩學網誌 said...

YB Dato Chua SOi Lek


假如我能成为地方议会领导人。我将以礼运 大同篇作为蓝本参与治理马来西亚。礼运 大同篇有云:

大道之行也,天下为公,

选贤与能,讲信修睦

故人不独亲其亲,不独子其子

使老有所终,壮有所用,幼有所长

鳏、寡、孤、独、废疾者、皆有所养,

男有分,女有归

货恶其弃於地也,不必藏於己

力恶其不出於身也,不必为已

是故谋闭而不兴,盗窃乱贼而不作,

故外户而不闭,是谓大同。

天下为公

作为地方议会领导人我应该更了解[天下为公]为何意。一个地方的居民不是活在自封的社会。我们与其他族体都有互相依靠。我们都生在开放系统的环境当中。我要教育当地居民热爱地球环保, 爱护资源,关注全球化的课题。同时自己不可贪污滥权,也要懂得善用公款为民求福利。

选贤与能

生活在知识不断擴展,关系日益错从複雜的世界里,有通过更细密的分工及更有系统的集体领导才能把地方管理得好。

负责各领域的领袖必须有專们的知识,而且人品好,说做的决定及行动应以全民的福利为优先,也要考虑到国家未来的竞争能力及持续发展。除此之外也要在各社区为居民提供训练。

讲信修睦

地方议会的官员,必须履行他们承若,为民服务,不时举行亲民活动,以促進一个互相尊敬,互相学习,互相爱护,的多元文化社会。

壮有所用,幼有所长

应该关注农业生产,确保国内粮食能够自供自给以稳定民生。这样成人才可以安心

从事生产, 学童才可以专心求学。也应该重视教育工程因为教育的成败关夫到
国家的将来。
同时地方议会的官员也可与当地的民间团体,宗教团体建立紧密地合作聯繫 ,为失业者提供再训练的机会,为低收入群提供托儿服务。

鳏、寡、孤、独、废疾者、皆有所养

地方议会应设有中心通过与当地的民间团体,宗教团体建立紧密地合作聯繫

设立樂龄中心为樂龄人士服务。并为当地的弱势人士进行登记,安置他们

到福利中心或为他们提供训练使他们能自力更生。

男有分,女有归,

我们每一个马来西亚公民都必须给予正确的家庭价值观,我们必须知道传宗接代

养儿育女是天职,是神圣的任务。

货恶其弃於地也,不必藏於己,力恶其不出於身也,不必为已
是故谋闭而不兴,盗窃乱贼而不作。

我们每一个马来西亚公民都必须给予正确的工作价值观,我们必须知道

工作就是耕耘,没有更就没有果。工作不单单是为了养活自己,同时

我们要互相帮助,社会的营运才可以持续。不可期望钱财可以从天掉下

或从地下涌上。唯有通过再教育,终生学习,爱护资源 ,我们才有办法不断地提升

增值,以让我们有足够的競爭能力, 有信心的在富有挑戰性的全球化环境

生存。假如每个马来西亚人都懂得正确的家庭价值观及正确的工作价值观,

国家的治安就会良好,大家都能安心的生活,工作,投產及经商。这就是

我所了解的大同世界。

我只敢梦想,因为我才能平凡而品德也欠佳。所以没有能力当地方议会的领导人

南洋閩學網誌 said...

Dato Dr.Chua Soi Lek

I want to know whether the issue of "Hyper Market" came under the scope of Local council.

If yes then I sincerely all councilor concerned to dealt with
the relevant ministries because nowaday we have too many foreign funded HYPERMARKET operating in Malaysia.

I do believe that healthy competition do promote efficiency, but the livelihood of small traders need to be protected as well

Mercedes said...

Dear Dr. Chua,

I agree with GOHHOEHOE's point of view about "Livable Cities", except perhaps one thing, where he said:

"If Malaysians need to visit a city in order to learn, the most suitable is Singapore, generally acknowledged as the most livable city in Asia. It not only has a relatively safe public realm, including well maintained parks and attractive enclaves, but also a public transportation system and pedestrian facilities that are acclaimed as among the best in the world."

I don't know how to define "livable" in the most accurate way, perhaps it means different thing in different people's mind.

If you have been living in Singapore since young and you are old now. (Well, in Singapore mind you if you are 50 years old then you are considered old, except if you are a minister.) Then you will find that all the public transport system, clean toilets, well maintained parks and attractive enclaves etc actually mean nothing as far as "livable" is concerned.

There is no "soul" in these things. They are dead and very cold.

One such place is the Teow Chew Pasar which is called "Central" now. You go there and you know what I mean. It used to be a place for "old-singapores", but it is soul-less now.

If you still don't know what I mean, go Petaling Street in KL. It's no longer the "China Town" so to speak, but a place full of 'pendatangs'. But at least you still get to eat your wanton mee, drink your lohankuo etc., until one day you see a Myanmar or an Indonesian cooking your wanton mee for you, and you will appreciate what I mean. Oh, isn't there one pendatang serving you your luohankuo now?

Those things you have said are important, of course. But how to preserve the spirit or "soul" of the place we live in is more challenging, I believe.

GOHHOEHOE said...

YB.Dr. Chua Soi Lek
I proposed that
Preferably those aspire to become state assemblyman, MP or serve as minister should go through the training in local governance first.

There are some good aspects that we can learn from 李明博, the present government who was once the mayor of SEOUL city

NEIL said...

Dr,Why is this person...Blogger GOHHOEHOE said... posting his comments over and over again.Can't you throw out comments that have been repeated.It's wasting space and frustrating to see the same comments again.Moderators do the job!
His comments dated Updated: 03:34PM Tue, 07 Nov 2006

December 9, 2008 5:19 PM

Is he trying to promote this person...Dr.GOH BAN LEE .

Welcome to my Blog

As a concerned MCA member, I am trying my best to help in the process of rebuilding and repositioning of the party.

Therefore, I welcome party members and members of public to post your constructive suggestions and opinions on my blog on how to rebuild and reform the party, eventually enabling MCA to regain support from all party members and the community.


Thank you for your suggestions.