April 24, 2008
NEWLY appointed Penang Municipal and Seberang Prai Municipal councillors are expected to roll up their sleeves and get right down to business.
A check by The Star showed that the public had high expectations of the councillors and were expecting them to deliver better, more efficient service.
IT accessory shop owner Ang Beng Sin, 32, just wants to see councillors “do their job”.
“Be honest. Do what you are supposed to do – give it your best and get things done. We don’t want councillors to procrastinate and give excuses for failing to meet expectations,” he said, adding that the new faces must be “proactive”.
“Meet up with apartment management committees, road users, residents and hawkers regularly. Don’t wait for us to come to you with our problems because most of the time, we are not even sure who to look for when it comes to community issues that concern the state,” he said.
Chua: Don't skip council meetings.
An 18-year-old college student who only wants to be known as Shrinie, said she was glad there were NGO representatives in the local councils.
“NGO representatives have a better grasp on some issues because they have been keeping track of problems faced by certain segments of the society.
“I hope all councillors will strive to do better than their predecessors. As most of the appointees are from DAP and PKR, I hope they will make good on their party’s promises to the people,” she said.
Since the councillors’ telephone numbers are published in the media, they must make sure that they are accessible to the people.
Businessman Fikri Zakaria, 24, said it was important for councillors to be responsible and sincere in their intention to serve the public.
“Don’t waste taxpayers’ money. We don’t want a repeat of the recently highlighted MPSP case where its financial reserves fell from RM229mil in 2000 to just RM25.6mil at the end of 2007.
“The public should be kept in the loop – let us know what is going on in the council. Councillors should come out and meet the people more.
Ang: Do what you are supposed to do
“Perhaps they can even set up enquiry booths at popular public areas so that we can approach them for help. The only way they can solve problems is if they are aware of them,” he said, adding that it did not matter which party a councillor belonged to so long as he was willing to work hard for the people.
“Former MPPP councillor Geeta Suresh Chand was very good. Even though people nicknamed her the ‘toilet queen’, she was not embarrassed nor was she deterred from doing her job of ensuring that public toilets were clean,” he said.
Writer Roz Chua, 33, wants the new councillors to take their appointments “seriously”.
“Being a councillor is not just a title. It is a role that must be taken seriously. Don’t be like previous councillors who skipped council meetings and had the audacity to give lame excuses.
“They must have integrity,” she said.
Echoing Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng’s recent call to councillors and council staff to do their part to provide a safe environment in Penang, to maintain cleanliness for tourists and Penangites alike and to ensure a sustainable development with better traffic management, pensioner Idrus Osman, 52, said the new appointees must “turun padang” (get feedback from the ground personally).
Mat Nayan: Penangites expect a council free from corruption
“They cannot just rely on council officers to report to them because subordinates tend to report only what they think the councillors want to hear,” he said, urging the new councillors to go out and do their own checks and surveys to determine the needs of the rakyat.
His friend, security guard Mat Nayan Lajeh, 54, said the most important thing was that the appointees must “be clean”.
“I think most Penangites expect one main thing – a council free from corruption,” he said.
Twenty-four MPPP and 24 MPSP councillors – which is the maximum number of councillors allowed under Sect 10 of the Local Council Act 1976 for each local council, were sworn into office recently.
All 48 were screened by the police, Anti-Corruption Agency and Insolvency Department.
Nineteen councillors are from DAP, 15 from PKR and two from PAS.
Six from NGOs representing the Women Centre for Change, Penang Malay Chamber of Commerce, Penang Chinese Chamber of Commerce, Indian Chamber of Commerce, Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers and Chinese Chamber of Commerce were appointed.