PENANG (April 21, 2008): Opalyn Mok
Penang Local Government, Traffic Management and Environment Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow today lashed out at reporters for not supporting the state government's decision to appoint seven municipal councillors from non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
"In the Penang Island Municipal Council (MPPP) we appointed four representatives from NGOs, short of one and you (reporters) are pushing this issue so much," told reporters when questioned on the issue after the swearing-in of 24 MPPP municipal councillors.
Three NGO representatives, short of two, were appointed to the the Seberang Perai Municipal Council (MPSP).
"This type of pressure is not giving us any support in our decision to open up the municipal councillors' post to those other than party members," he said.
"For the past 50 years, the councillors were only for Barisan Nasional (BN) candidates and there were no complaints and now, we have introduced a newer and better system and there are so many complaints," he added.
He then explained that even though he had received a lot of applications from various NGOs, he had to rush through the selection process to get the councillors sworn in as soon as possible.
"Anyway, the term for this batch of councillors is only for eight months. So we should look forward and see what happens," he added.
He said he had kept the file containing applications from NGOs and he will look at it when the time comes for him to select new candidates for appointment as councillors.
Earlier, Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng had also said that having 10 NGO councillors was just an ideal target.
"We try to match this ideal nomination but we are not perfect. You must also remember that this is the first time that we have NGO councillors. There are seven NGO councillors as compared to zero for the past 50 years.
"So please don't question our sincerity and our commitment towards integrity," he said.
He pointed out that the seven NGO councillors would not have accepted the appointments if they did not have confidence in the state government.
"Just look at their performance first and what they can do," he said.
Of the 24 MPPP councillors sworn-in, 10 are from DAP, seven from PKR and one from PAS. The four NGO representatives are Lim Kah Cheng (Women Centre for Change), Francis Loh (Aliran secretary), Rizal Faris Mohideen Abdul Kader (Penang Malay Chamber of Commerce) and Choong Khuat Seng (Penang Chinese Chamber of Commerce).