‘Include assemblymen in councils’ committee meetings’

Azmizam: ‘Sitting in on committee meetings at local councils will allow assemblymen to highlight issues.’

TWO Selangor assemblymen say elected representatives should sit in on committee meetings at local councils so issues can be addressed more effectively.

“These meetings are usually attended by council officers, councillors and relevant government agencies, but not assemblymen, ” said Pelabuhan Kelang assemblyman Azmizam Zaman Huri.

“If an assemblyman were to sit in, they would be better placed to raise and highlight issues at the meeting, as all the relevant people are there.

“For example, if there were infrastructure issues in my constituency, they would be more quickly addressed if I were to bring them up at the local council’s infrastructure committee meeting.”

Although raising such issues are part of a councillor’s role, both Azmizam and Jeram assemblyman Mohd Shaid Rosli said people still preferred meeting their assemblymen directly to resolve their problems.

“Most people do not understand the division of duties and job scope of an assemblyman and councillor. So they get angry when we tell them certain issues would be better resolved if brought up by a councillor, ” said Shaid.

“They would scold us and say ‘We chose you as our elected representative. Why are you not doing your job?’”.

Shaid said an assemblyman did not play any role in local councils, hence it was not possible for them to request council staff to look into an issue as only a council head or councillors could do that.

“In my opinion, we (the government) should review the roles of councillors, list out their responsibilities and set their KPI for them, ” said Azmizam.

“The assemblyman can also play a role in reviewing the councillors’ performance.”

Azmizam and Shaid said this during a hearing by the Selangor select committee on competency, accountability and transparency (Selcat) to review the performance of local authorities and councillors.

The session held at the state assembly building in Shah Alam was chaired by Selcat chairman Ng Suee Lim.

Also present were Selcat committee members and assemblymen Saari Sungib, Lau Weng San, Jamaliah Jamaluddin, Rizam Ismail and Datuk Dr Ahmad Yunus Hairi.

Among those invited to give their statements were several residents association (RA) and rukun tetangga (RT) representatives, councillors, council heads and state local government, public transport and new village development committee chairman Ng Sze Han.

The RA and RT representatives were asked their opinion of the local councils in their respective areas, their relationship with their councillors and what they felt was a councillor’s role.

“I feel that the Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ) is not taking full advantage of social media sites and other platforms to disseminate information and council policies to the people. Their website is also not user-friendly, ” said SS17 RT chairman AB Naicker.

“As governments change, things also change. So there should be some sort of facility where people can learn about what MPSJ is doing and what residents themselves can do.”

Damansara Utama RA chairman Habeeb Rahman Anwardeen felt that their councillor helped facilitate progress more quickly as complaints lodged via Petaling Jaya City Council’s official platforms usually see no action or slower action taken.

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