SUNGAI PETANI: The Housing and Local Government Ministry will act as a supervisor to ensure local authorities cut red tape and strengthen the civil service to fight corruption and deliver quality service to the people.
Heeding the recent call by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi for government departments to cut red tape and bureaucracy, Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting said his ministry would play a supervisory role as such matters came under the jurisdiction of the respective state governments.
“Constitutionally, the state governments are directly responsible for state matters. While they implement things directly, my ministry will act as an additional layer overseeing to ensure all decisions made by the National Council of Local Governments are implemented,” he said.
He said his ministry had set up a task force as requested by the Prime Minister to look at ways to reduce bureaucracy.
“The task force will monitor, supervise and get feedback from all the local authorities on things done to cut down red tape and bureaucracy. We will later submit a report to the Cabinet and brief the Prime Minister on the actions taken,” he added.
Ong was speaking to reporters after performing the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of a school hall at SJK (C) Sin Kwang here yesterday.
He was asked to comment on the Prime Minister’s call to re-engineer all district and local councils to rid them of bureaucratic procedures that could tempt people to commit bribery.
Ong, who is also MCA president, said the Government had given various guidelines on cutting down red tape and bureaucracy to the local authorities in stages before and “all such decisions should be implemented accordingly.”
“We will supervise all those things that the Federal Government had spelt out all this while and would like to see local authorities showing greater improvement from now on,” he said.
Earlier, he pledged RM100,000 from MCA to build the school hall.
In Penang, Wanita Gerakan called on government agencies to streamline work procedures and discard the notion that they were not answerable to the public.
Its publicity bureau chairman Geeta Suresh Chand said the movement supported the Prime Minister’s call to cut red tape and help fight graft.
“The premier’s repeated calls must be taken seriously. The civil servants at the front desk play a vital role as they deal with the public. Any delay in executing their duties will have irreversible damaging effects as this will lead to further delays down the line,” she said in a statement.