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Tuesday March 11, 2008

Changes in store for DBKL board

THE Federal Territory Barisan Nasional's major upset in the general election might not have an adverse effect on the management of the city by Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) – But experts predict that there would certainly be less interference from external forces.

“Nothing changes as far as DBKL is concerned. The DBKL is a government institution – it will continue to run and manage the city as before,'' said a consultant attached with the DBKL who wished to remain anonymous.

Some changes in store?: Zulhasnan with wife Datin Seri Nooriah Ana Razak.

Unlike other local councils, which are firmly under the control of the state governments, much of the day-to day power to run Kuala Lumpur lies with the Datuk Bandar. Even local politicians who sit on the appointed advisory board have little say on policy matters.

However a former director of DBKL did concur that the Federal Territories Ministry had a certain amount of control over the running of DBKL before but that would no longer be the case now.

“DBKL is a government machinery and will function independently, however I believe that there may be less interference from the government now,'' said the former director.

On whether the FT Ministry would become redundant, the former director said that he doesn’t see that happening. “I don’t see that happening but its position is a little uncertain at the moment.

“Give it a week or two – things would become clearer then,'' he said.

Derek Fernandez, an expert in local government and town planning law said in the case of the FT minister it is up to the Prime Minister to appoint the FT minister. That is the prerogative of the ruling party.

“But the opposition has the legitimate right to argue to be represented in the ministry – to be consulted on issues related to the city,” he said.

Despite the uncertainty, many agreed that it would be interesting to see how the ministry is going to function with the opposition holding 10 seats.

Kuala Lumpur was declared a city on Feb 1, 1974 while the FT Ministry was established in 1978. When Labuan Corporation was established in 1984 there was a need to amalgamate both constituencies under one umbrella - hence the FT Ministry was re- established the second time in 1987.

Putrajaya Corporation was set up on Feb 1, 2001 and in March 2004 the FT Ministry under the guidance of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was re-established yet again. In Feb 14, 2006 Datuk Seri Zulhasnan Rafique was appointed the FT Minister.

Under the leadership of Zulhasnan, a strategic plan that focused on development plans for all three constituencies was created and many agreed that the Federal Territories prospered the most under Zulhasnan’s tenure.