‘Don’t take matters into own hands’

Thong being sworn in as MPSJ councillor for Zone 21.

COUNCILLORS should not act on their own or confront wrongdoers.

This was the advice from Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ) president Noraini Roslan to councillors at the council’s monthly fullboard meeting yesterday.

“I appreciate that you want to visit your area to look into issues for yourself but councillors are policymakers. You do not have the power to take action against wrongdoers.

“What if something untoward happens to you?” said Noraini.

MPSJ deputy president Mohd Zulkarnain Che Ali said councillors could only accompany council officers and other relevant authorities in joint operations.

“Councillors do not have the authority to gain entry into any premises nor issue compounds, unlike enforcement officers who carry a kad kuasa (authority card) that allows them to do so,” he explained.

Noraini and Mohd Zulkarnain were referring to a case involving councillor Keshminder Singh.

Keshminder said he received a number of complaints about dilapidated shoplots in front of the Batu Tiga KTM station after being appointed a councillor 10 years ago.

“The place has been in a bad state for many years, even before I was a councillor.

“I have raised the issue with the relevant department in MPSJ.

“As a councillor for that area, am I supposed to turn a blind eye?

“When I visited the area, there were dogs and chickens. It is an eyesore and poses a danger to those living in the area as it could also be a breeding ground for mosquitoes,” he said.

Keshminder said he did not confront anyone but was instead approached to look into the problem.

According to him, some of the shops were destroyed in a fire and the remaining units belonged to an individual.

“The individual apparently contacted the council and was told by an employee that I was the person raising the issue and even provided my name and number.

“He initiated a meeting and while our first few meetings were cordial, he later said he would lodge a police report against me.

“After he threatened to do so, I lodged a police report,” said Keshminder.

He said under Act 171 of the Local Government Act 1976, the Public Authorities Protection Act 1948 [Act 198] guarantees

the protection of councillors, (local authority) officers and employees from personal liability.

Prior to the fullboard meeting, Seri Kembangan Village Security and Develop-ment Committee (JKKK) chairman Thong Kim Fatt was sworn in as councillor for Zone 21.

The zone covers Taman Bukit Serdang sections 1 to 3, Taman Serdang Heights (Sungai Kuyoh) sections 1 to 7, Taman Universiti Indah and Seri Kembangan commercial centre.

The seat was left vacant after former councillor Wong Siew Ki resigned to contest the Balakong state assembly seat, which she won.

Councillor for Zone 22, Tai Cheng Heng, oversaw the former’s zone during the vacancy.

Thong said he would seek the advice of fellow councillors and Wong to carry out his duties effectively.

“I will need to meet the people there to get to know the places better,” he said.

On a separate matter, Noraini said the council would collaborate with non-governmental organisation The Art Market, the Zone 4 residents committee (JKP) and councillors for a Merdeka mural and SJ Riverfront project in USJ 1 next month to beautify the area.

The river reserve would be cleaned and equipped with basic facilities for the public, she added.

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