IT is normal for a new administration to want to have their own people as board members.
However, some feel that board members should be professionals who are experts in areas like urban poverty and environment, and comprise representatives from associations representing residents and traders who can advise the mayor on relevant issues.
Federal Territory Bumiputra Traders Association president Datuk Seri Rosli Sulaiman opined that the traders associations, which have more than 60,000 members in Kuala Lumpur, should have a voice on the board.
“When it comes to the livelihood of traders, who better to represent them than people within the industry?’’ he said.
Rosli recalled times when decisions were made by politicians on their affairs without consulting the associations.
Rosli’s sentiments were concurred by the Brickfields Community Society (BCS) – a coalition of 40 non-governmental organisations including residents associations, schools and places of worship.
BCS secretary Dr Christopher Nicholas said anyone with vested interests, including politicians, should not be on the board.
“We need to look at the three core issues affecting Kuala Lumpur, which are over development, congestion and influx of foreign traders.”
Dr Christopher said regarding overdevelopment, they needed people like Selamatkan Kuala Lumpur movement chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahman, National Housebuyers Association honorary secretary-general Chang Kim Loong and lawyer Derek Fernandez, who had the knowledge at their finger tips.
“For traffic problems, we need retired police officers, and people from non-governmental organisation Tenaganita that deals with human rights, who can address foreign worker issues to be on the board, too,’’ Dr Christopher said.
He added that in the past, board members were from organisations that were pro-development.
Federal Territory Residents Association Council president Mohd Zainuddin Amran also agreed and said that qualified people should be on the board, including a representative for residents.
Mohd Zainuddin, who is also the RA chairman for Kampung Malaysia Raya, said there must be representation from middle class suburbs in the city.
Other names suggested for board members included Global Environment Centre river care project programme coordinator and water expert Dr Khalithasan Kailasam, Federal and Selangor Community Association (Permas) president Tan Jo Hann and MBPJ councillor Sean Oon.
Permas helps people move out of their temporary homes into better accommodation.
Meanwhile, DAP national chairman and Cheras MP Tan Kok Wai said the DBKL board had always been a “toothless tiger”.
“But with the right ‘tigers’, we can make a change for the better,’’ he said.
Kok Wai has been lobbying for a DAP representative to sit on the board for years.
Attempts by Federal Territory DAP to get a member in under the Selangor government quota hit a snag in 2011 when Selangor Ruler Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah rejected their application as he did not want a political appointee to represent Selangor.
This was confirmed then when Sultan Sharafuddin’s private secretary Datuk Mohamad Munir Bani told StarMetro that the Mentri Besar’s office submitted the name of a new candidate in accordance with Sultan Sharafuddin’s wishes of having only qualified professional candidates to represent Selangor.