GEORGE TOWN: April 19, 2008
The appointment of new municipal councillors here has received the thumbs up from the Penang Chinese Chamber of Commerce (PCCC) but a non-governmental organisation has expressed its reservations.
PCCC president Datuk Khor Teng Tong said the chamber regarded the appointment of its members to the two local councils in Penang as a recognition of PCCC's contributions.
He said the appointments further affirmed the status of PCCC as the leading organisation of the Chinese business community in the state.
Khor was commenting on the appointment of businessman Finn Chong as a Penang Island municipal councillor and lawyer Liu Ting Ling as a Seberang Prai municipal councillor.
He said among the duties of the two chamber's representatives would be to act as a check and balance on local government operations and ensure an efficient delivery system.
"Choong and Liu will also assist in formulating policies towards transparent, open and clean administration," said Khor.
Meanwhile, a local NGO calling itself the Coalition for Local Government Elections, expressed dismay about the "over representation" of chambers of commerce representatives in the councils.
Its spokesman, Ong Boon Keong, claimed that this presented unbalanced councils with potential for conflicts of interest.
He said there should have been more representatives from residents' groups and those from the working class.
Ong added that there was a lack of transparency in the selection process.
State Local Government Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow said the list was final and the councillors would be sworn in on Monday.
Chow said he had met Ong last week and had told him that it was impossible to include all the suggestions forwarded.
"However, I told him that the state government would take note of the matters that he had brought up."