IN VIEW of recent calls for local government elections by parties under the new Government, residents of new villages and traditional kampung also want to elect their local community leaders.
They believe that a society that elects its leader can expect them to be accountable and get more involved in community participation.
State Local Government, Public Transport and New Village Development committee chairman Ng Sze Han said for this term, however, local community leaders would continue to be appointed as the tenure had ended and there would not be enough time to prepare for a proper elections.
Furthermore, the campaign cost would also burden the candidates, he added.
StarMetro spoke to heads of neighbourhood associations and leaders in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor on why elections at that level was vital and its effects on society.
Federal Territory Residents Association Council president Mohd Zainuddin Amran believes that community engagement is critical in getting residents to come together and work towards solving neighbourhood issues.
That is also why Mohd Zainuddin wants to push for the election of community leaders in Kuala Lumpur.
“Like Selangor and other states which have the JKKP (the Village Development and Security Committees), we had something similar in Kuala Lumpur called MPPWP or the Federal Territories Residential Representative Council, which came under the purview of the Federal Territory Ministry,’’ he said.
“It was established after the 13th general election, whereby each parliament constituency is divided into zones, and each zone is represented by a community head or ketua kampung who are also called chairman,” said Kampung Malaysia Raya RA chairman Mohd Zainuddin Amran.
He added that he also served as chairman of Zone 9 under the Bandar Tun Razak parliamentary constituency.
Representative or leaders of both the JKPP and MPPWP are not elected. The MPPWP has since been suspended.
“They are usually political appointees, hand picked or endorsed by the area’s MP or district officer that is aligned to the political powers of the day; an arrangement that is open to bias and conflict of interest,’’ said Mohd Zainuddin.
He suggested that MPPWP be revived with changes made to the electoral process
“We need to elect our leaders; it is the best system to ensure transparency and accountability, particularly from middle-class suburbs in the city who don’t normally get the attention like their urban neighbours,’’ he said.
Mohd Zainuddin is hoping that new Federal Territories Minister Khalid Abdul Samad would revive the MPPWP and allow the residents to elect their leaders who can be the link between residents and the local authority, government agencies and MPs.
Concurring with Mohd Zainuddin Brickfields RT chairman S.K.K. Naidu said an elected representative would also provide an independent view on matters pertaining to the city.
“Some of our wakil rakyat are holding ministerial positions and will be our voice in Parliament, thus the need for another independent voice is required,” Naidu said.
“While our leaders fight and lobby over national issues at federal level, the city’s ratepayers want a voice at grassroots level.
“We are concerned about uncollected rubbish, clogged drains and broken manhole cover, and need attention too and who better to bring that attention to our council but an elected rep,’’ he said.
Prior to the MPPWP being scrapped, it had over 1,000 members with 57 MPPWPs spread out over numerous areas in Segambut, Titiwangsa, Kajang, Seputeh, Wangsa Maju and Cheras.
Each MPPWP chairman, deputy chairman and secretary were paid an allowance of RM850, RM450 and RM350 respectively.
Villagers of Kampung Baru Seri Dengkil, a Chinese new village, want to elect their own ketua kampung citing non-performance and poor service as reasons for their dissatisfaction.
Lim Ming Juin, secretary of Persatuan Kebajikan Komuniti Dengkil, a non-governmental organisation said the previous ketua kampung did not socialise with the community.
He said the ketua kampung received a RM1,200 monthly allowance. The total allocation for allowances for ketua kampung came up to RM6.4mil last year.
A villager Chong Mun Cheong said they wanted a vocal individual to bring the community’s problems to the attention of the state government.
The individual, he said, should know the community and the history of the area, as well as know the channels to approach when it came to solving issues.
Villager Muniandy Apayo hoped the leader would help the village get much needed amenities such as a overhead pedestrian crossing connecting the village to shops across the main road of Jalan Banting Semenyih as traffic on this road was getting heavy.
“The children would also like a playground because the existing one next to the multipurpose hall is always locked.
For these facilities to be approved, the village needs representation,” he said.
What political appointees say?
Sepang Utara community head Datuk Sivakumar Arumugam, who is from DAP, said if the community wished to elect their own leader, it should be respected.
“This way, if the candidate does not meet expectations, there is no one to blame,” he said.
However, he added that the elected person should be familiar with the area assemblyman and administrative processes, otherwise it would be difficult to serve the people.
Former Sepang PAS committee member Ahmad Pozi Darman, who is Kampung Bukit Bangkong village head, said: “For now, villagers don’t have a channel to make this decision (choice of village head) because the decision lies in the hands of the political parties.
“The assemblyman will pick the candidates whom he thinks is capable for the post of ketua kampung,” he said.
He pointed out that those who want to protest against the chosen candidate could not do so if it was a political appointment.
Due to Pakatan Harapan forming the Government after the elections, Ahmad said he would no longer be continuing his tenure.
“If I wanted to continue I would have to switch sides. I am loyal to PAS so I will step down,” he said.