LOCAL government councillors must be quick to “sniff out” issues and problems that need to be addressed, says Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Saarani Mohamad.
He said the voice of the council members was important in providing views and constructive criticism when any new local government policy was being considered.
Saarani said this could be done if the councillors understood the planning and development in their respective areas.
“I hope to see councillors in the local government contributing to more proactive measures, with fresh planning for the well-being of the community in their respective localities.
“The local government is an entity that is very close to the people,” he said in his speech before launching the Perak Local Government colloquium at the banquet hall of the state secretariat building in Ipoh.
Saarani said that in many situations, the performance of the local government was measured according to its efficiency in providing services to the people.
“Citizens are aware of the responsibilities of the government and their rights as taxpayers.
“That is why we need to adapt not only towards the increasingly sophisticated culture and thinking of the people, but also to the changing times that demand we evolve with new ways of working.
“It (social media) becomes a place for people to express their views, and it is also a place where they measure performance.
“I understand that there are certain times that things raised on social media do not reflect the whole truth.
“There are also times when criticism does not reflect the exact situation, but we must always be open to take criticism objectively and try to make improvements where necessary,” he added.
Saarani said the people expected councillors in their local areas to act as a liaison between them and the local government.
He said when people highlighted their problems regarding the local government services, the councillors must be able to solve those problems.
“In this regard, councillors need to act as spokespersons for the local government to provide explanations on policies including on taxes, increasing awareness on the correct use of public facilities, the challenges faced and correcting inaccurate perceptions in the community.
“All these roles are important to harmonise the relationship between the people and the local authorities,” he added. — By MANJIT KAUR