Angry mayor hits out at staff


the Miri City Council in full session yesterday, with Mayor Lawrence Lai (in centre) giving a tongue lashing to all his enforcement staffs for being incompetent. stephen pic

MIRI: The head of Miri City Council, Mayor Lawrence Lai, has hit out at his own enforcement staff from the council’s enforcement unit for being “incompetent and lazy” and unable to carry out even simple tasks assigned to them.

Lai gave the enforcement unit section head and senior staffs a tongue-lashing in front of every other department heads and the full board of councillors during the full council meeting yesterday.

The very first full council meeting for 2015 in Miri was filled with angry rhetorics as the council grasped with the fact that there were many outstanding issues with regards to enforcement and implementation of important decisions affecting the rakyat that were not effectively carried out for many months.

Lai and the seniors in the council, including the deputy mayor, were annoyed that important tasks related to enforcing laws and by-laws on matters relating to public health and hygiene and trading activities were not properly handled by the enforcement units.

The enforcement staff had not carried out the tasks assigned to them even after more than eight months at times.

Lai and his deputy, as well as several councillors, did not hold back their words when criticising the incompetence of the enforcement unit.

Councillor Bruce Chai started the criticisms by pointing out that he had been receiving complaints from the public that the council had not acted on the many complaints they had made with regards to issues like illegal traders, rubbish-dumping and the likes.

“I find it disturbing that our council had failed to act and respond to the rakyat’s grouses.

“I have received complaints after complaints. There are cases that even after eight months, there are still complaints that our council’s enforcement unit had failed to address the problems faced by the rakyat,” he said.

Lai sought explanation from the enforcement unit senior officers who were present at the meeting.

One of the senior enforcement officers replied that “perkara yang dibangkit masih dalam perbincangan” (the issues that were raised by the council are still under discussion).

Lai immediately responded by asking: “What is there for you people in the enforcement unit to discuss? We in the council make decisions and you in the enforcement unit carry out the decisions and enforce them.

“That is your duty! Your duty is not to discuss the decisions that we have made.

“Your duty is to enforce the decisions that the council has already made.

“I feel embarrassed by the incompetency of the city council enforcement units.

“This is bad for the image of the city council,” he blasted.

Lai said that this incompetency and ineffectiveness of the enforcement teams would be reflected in their key-performance index (PKI).

“I will make sure that all of your KPI will show how incompetent your staff have been,” he stressed.

Lai then gave another round of verbal lashing to the enforcement unit and to a certain councillor over an incident last month where three public Christmas banners put up at public places by the Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) were taken down for a short while by several enforcement unit ground staff.

He said that the council had given a permit to SUPP Miri to display those banners.

“The enforcement personnel responsible did not seek my or my deputy’s permission to take down the banners.

“They said they acted upon the directive of a councillor. The councillor said he did not direct them to do so.

“Whatever it is, it is another example of ill-discipline among the enforcement unit.

“The people in the enforcement unit cannot go around acting on their own without the permission of the council, myself as the mayor and the deputy mayor of council secretary.

“Make sure this sort of incidents do not happen again as the city council’s image had been badly affected by the banner incident,” he said.

Lai also wanted all the councillors to refrain from bringing party politics into the council’s affairs, stressing that he wanted to see an end to such politickings in his council.

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