LOCAL councillors have the potential to make a difference in people’s lives.
As an advocate for the people, councillors help raise public concerns, from the given cluster of neighbourhoods and communities that they are in charge of, to the local authorities.
For the 2021-2022 term in Selangor, almost half of the 288 councillors are fresh faces while the rest have been reappointed.
Selangor local government, public transportation and new village development committee chairman Ng Sze Han said new councillors would find their work challenging but it was imperative that they understand the local council’s processes and strategies.
“It is a teething matter for the 146 new councillors at the 12 local authorities.
“Each one will have to pick up new skills, understand the workings of the council and learn how to deal with local issues.
“Councillors will learn to balance the needs of residents, government agencies, non-governmental organisations, local businesses and the council.
“We have a good mix of experienced and new councillors, and senior councillors will be able to guide new ones, ” he said.
Ng added that while it was a learning curve for the newbies, in time they would achieve work-life balance and work as a team with the local council.
“New councillors must strive to understand the broader context of an issue.
“Discuss it with council staff, people in the area and even professionals regarding a subject matter.
“If a decision cannot be agreed upon, make an effort to reason it out or explain instead of clashing opinions as this is counterproductive, ” he said.
Ng added that new councillors might not fully understand the workings of the local council, so it was best to resolve matters by working together with the officers.
“People will make demands of a councillor’s time but it is up to the councillor to balance personal commitments against work demands.
“Do make time to know fellow councillors and work as a team, ” he said.
Up to 70% of new faces in Selangor are from PKR. Out of the total 288 councillors, nine spots were given to Orang Besar Daerah (OBD), 122 to PKR, 97 to DAP and 60 to Amanah.
Klang Municipal Council (MPK) president Dr Ahmad Fadzli Ahmad Tajuddin said the local council was the third tier in the system of governance and the councillor was the key link between the community and local authority.
“Councillors are given a cluster of areas to be in charge of and they must be accountable to the community.
“Decisions made must be consensus-oriented with deep understanding to weigh and balance relevant factors without bias.
“Our councillors have been given areas after much discussion and minor issues have been ironed out.
“As months go by, the councillors will make progress, people’s feedback will be taken into account and improvements will be made accordingly, ” he said.
Out of the 24 MPK councillors, nine are new while three others have made a comeback after a gap of two terms.
New faces in the council are Mahendran Marimuthu, Prabu Munusamy and Mohd Nazar Sulaiman along with Dr Quah Perng Fei, Francis Gan Eu Eng, Low Kwee Sia, Abd Halid Ka’ab, Ang Kian Wah and Abdul Mutalib Adam.
Other members who returned are Yew Boon Lye, Athi Saravanan S. Rengiah and Rosnee Talib.
Fadzli hoped MPK councillors would give qualified advice on matters relevant to their expertise.
Under MPK’s “Call Your Councillor” programme, both the councillor and people are required to foster a productive friendship to resolve residents’ problems.
Fadzli urged people to call their zone councillors (see table) to resolve matters in the neighbourhoods.