THE absence of a Federal Territories Ministry to oversee the running of the Federal Territories can be a catalyst for more independent governing of Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan.
This comes after Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim announced his much leaner Cabinet on Dec 2 with no mention made regarding the Federal Territories Ministry.
Wangsa Maju MP Zahir Hassan said it was not critical to have a Federal Territories Ministry as there was already a historical precedent.
“However, this is provided that all matters pertaining to the Federal Territories are taken care of.
“The governance of the Federal Territories can either be parked under the Prime Minister’s Department, as was the case prior to 2004, or either the Rural and Regional Development Ministry or Local Government Development Ministry,” he said.
Zahir added that abolishing the ministry could lead to less interference in the running of the Federal Territories.
“The powers of the mayor are clearly laid out in the relevant Act and they should be left to govern without political interference.
“However, an important caveat here is that the right person is appointed as Kuala Lumpur mayor if we do not want to see a repeat of previous administrations,” he explained.
Kepong MP Lim Lip Eng said Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL), including the mayor, should be made more accountable to city MPs.
“It has always been DAP’s position that the function of the Federal Territories Ministry is redundant and the position of mayor should be an elected one.
“While restoring local government elections is not a priority for the moment, there are still ways to ensure independent running of DBKL,” he added.
He believes that Kuala Lumpur MPs should also have a say in who is appointed the next Kuala Lumpur mayor.