NOW that the elections are over, attention is turning to Pakatan Harapan’s pledge in its campaign manifesto “to strengthen the role and powers of the local authorities”.
Many are hoping that this will lead to the return of elections for local government posts.
Ipoh City Watch president Assoc Prof Dr Richard Ng said Pakatan had been campaigning since the 12th General Election to restore local government elections.
He said the coalition tried to have it in Penang and Selangor but the previous Federal Government rejected it.
“Now that Pakatan is the Federal Government, they have the opportunity to amend the Local Government Act, 1976, and revive the local government election.
“We should all look to the future of Malaysia because by having such elections, this will give the people the third voice to help, improve and provide services rendered to ratepayers,” he said.
Ng added that all positions from the mayor or president of the local councils to the councillors should be elected by the people for the people, instead of being appointed by component parties of the state government.
He said the people have chosen the Pakatan Harapan. Thus, the coalition should not delay in pushing for the local government elections.
“Elected representatives are more accountable and more efficient than an appointed representative.
“There should be non-political partisan, as it must be based on the idea of ‘no taxation without representation’,” he added.
Perak Bar chairman Surindar Singh said currently, the state government appointed the local councillors and so their allegiance lies with them.
He said there would be more check and balance if the councillors were appointed from both sides of the divide.
“The public must be able to meet their local councillors with ease and there must be a designated place where local councillors should sit everyday for a few hours for the public to meet them.
“All the names of the councillors must be published frequently for the public to know them and they should be contactable any time,” he added.
Surindar said any grievances should also be addressed instantly and councillors should also keep the public updated on the current projects and future developments in their areas.
“There should be a body set up to check whether a councillor is performing his duty or otherwise.
“The public should also be able to lodge a complaint if their councillors do not perform,” he added.