GEORGE TOWN: Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin has defended her decision to appoint Penggerak Komuniti Tempatan, or community activist (PeKT) members in their respective states.
Zuraida said the appointments were an extension of the National Community Policy programme and would not overlap the local councils in each state.
"I don't think it will overlap, as I feel the public can forward their complaints to local councils; it does not matter who can go and I feel it is part of PeKT's duty if there is complaint on the ground, no harm for them," she told reporters after the briefing session and handing over of appointment letters of PeKT members on Saturday (Sept 26).
Zuraida said PeKT members are responsible to report to the ministry every time they engage with the public.
She was commenting on a local government group known as Gabungan Demokrasi Tempatan, or Dekat, who questioned if the move to appoint PeKT members was an abuse of power for political gain.
The group also said the appointments were beyond the ministry’s original role, which was only to look after all laws pertaining to local governments’ implementation of town council functions, regarding housing, landscaping and solid waste management, among others.
The group urged state governments to protest against the ministry's decision, and states such as Penang, Negri Sembilan and Selangor should take legal action against Zuraida and the ministry.
During the ceremony, a total of 124 PeKT members from Penang, Negri Sembilan and Selangor were awarded appointment letters.
Zuraida said the group is the first batch of the programme, and the second and third batches of appointment would be done in Selangor and Negri Sembilan respectively.
She said in total, there would be a total of 550 people stationed in their respective zones.
She added that the appointments would be until the end of this year, and each PeKT performance would be evaluated by the ministry before they can be reappointed in 2021.