THE sudden sacking of five state executive councillors has drawn a barrage of criticism from the grassroots who feel that the action will have far-reaching repercussions on issues under their portfolios.
Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim removed two PKR and three DAP members from the state executive council line-up on Aug 12. The two from PKR are Elizabeth Wong who is the Tourism, Consumer Affairs and Environment Committee chairman, and Dr Daroyah Alwi, who is the Health, Entrepreneur Development, Science and Technology Innovation Committee chairman.
The DAP members are Datuk Teng Chang Khim (Local Government, Study and Research Committee chairman), V. Ganabatirau (Plantation Workers, Poverty and Caring Government Committee chairman), and Ean Yong Hian Wah (Investment, Industrialisation and Trade, New Village Development and the Legalisation of Illegal Factories Committee chairman).
As of yesterday, another exco from PKR, Rodziah Ismail resigned from the state government. She was Welfare and Women Affairs Committee chairman.
The move has left the affected exco members and state government staff in a quandary.
Ean Yong said he was unsure who would take his place or handle his portfolio at the moment.
Teng, Wong and Dr Daroyah could not be reached for comments at press time.
Residents who were contacted were furious and frustrated in light of the high number of pending issues under the axed exco’s portfolios.
Bandar Sri Damansara resident R.K.R. Nair said the move would deal another blow to a list of local issues that were either unresolved or handled unprofessionally.
Among them, he said, was the sharp rise of dengue cases that had gripped the state.
Waste management, tree pruning as well as roads and traffic issues are other important matters directly affecting the people of Selangor. These are under the purview of the Local Government committee formerly chaired by Teng.
“I am really sad about the political scene in Selangor. The residents had voted in total faith but have now become pawns in this political fiasco,” said Nair.
He foresees problems and delays in dealing with the outstanding public issues, even with new appointees.
Bukit Antarabangsa resident Dr Mohamed Rafick Khan Abdul Rahman said the move would damage the mechanism for check and balance.
“How do you do ensure balance with only PAS excos?
“I am concerned that a lot of decision- and policy-making may be bulldozed through,” he said, citing pending issues such as the amendments to the Petaling Jaya Local Plan (RTPJ) 1 and 2, and the Kidex controversy.
He said his housing area known for fragile slopes would need constant monitoring, even if decisions and programmes in the pipeline were not affected for now.
PJS 9 Rukun Tetangga deputy chairman Mohd Noor Ahmad said the sacking would leave many issues unresolved.
“There are many issues in my neighbourhood that need to be dealt with, such as cleanliness and rubbish collection,” he said, adding that with dengue cases rising, cleanliness of public spaces should be placed as the top priority instead of political play.
Agreeing with him is Ara Idaman Protem Committee chairman Albert Lau, who said there was no local councillor in charge of his area.
“We do not have a local councillor since January and with the exco gone, who is going to appoint one for us?” he asked.
The sacking also leaves local councillors in the dark.
“Every exco member receives allocation under their portfolio and I am unsure of the funding status at the moment,” said Subang Jaya Municipal councillor (MPSJ) Loka Ng, who is in charge of Seri Kembangan where Ean Yong is the assemblyman.
“I am not sure what is going to happen next but I will try to help the people out as much as I can.
“I will deal with public complaints in my capacity as a councillor,” he added.
Under Wong’s portfolio, there are a number of environmental issues pending too, including the proposed East Klang Valley Expressway of the Kuala Lumpur Outer Ring Road that cuts across the highly protected Selangor State Park.
But while this raises concerns, some -- such as Friends of Kota Damansara chairman Jeffrey Phang feel this could be a good time to reshuffle the exco line-up.
The remaining four state exco members are representatives from PAS -- Iskandar Samad (Housing, Building and Urban Settlers Management Committee chairnam), Sallehen Mukhyi (Islamic Affairs, Agriculture Modernisation and Rural Development Committee chairman), Dr Halimah Ali (Education, Higher Education and Human Resources Development Committee chairman) and Dr Ahmad Yunus Hairi (Youth and Sports, Infrastructure and Public Amenities Committee chairman).
Khalid has been reported as saying that the state executive council could run the government’s administration with a quorum of five, as provided for by Article 53 (2)(b) of the state constitution.