Saturday, May 31, 2008

Vocal councillors want answers

The Star - May 31, 2008

THEY were vocal, demanding and hungry for answers. The Seberang Prai Municipal councillors who sat for their second full council meeting yesterday may be new in their roles but were certainly not shy about raising their concerns on various issues.

Council meetings, which usually lasted less than half an hour, stretched on for nearly two hours yesterday.

Council president Farizan Darus was kept busy replying to 12 written questions from councillors Goh Choon Aik and Oon Neow Aun as well as additional questions from the floor during the meeting.

Questions about the council’s revenue, upkeep of cleanliness, poor collection of assessment rates, under-performing contractors and lack of enforcement were among the issues hotly discussed.

In his response, Farizan said matters on cleanliness would be tackled seriously and he would not hesitate to terminate the services of contractors who did not fulfil their obligations.

“I give you my guarantee that matters on cleanliness will be given priority and they will be managed well.

“I’ve met up with all the contractors and the council’s health department officers to discuss their responsibilities and to remind them that their contracts will be terminated if services provided are not satisfactory,” he said, adding that there were 55 contractors on the council’s payroll and their services were reviewed on a monthly basis.

Farizan also said in the meeting that the council had been trying to keep a balanced budget since 2006 but due to increasing management cost and a revision in the government servants’ salaries, the council had ran into a deficit.

“The council has been trying to increase its revenue through the collection of assessment arrears, issuance of business licences and rental of parking lots,” he explained.

And just before the meeting ended, councillor Soon Lip Chee gave a lengthy speech on contractors who did not fulfil their obligations.

Soon even brought a pot of planted grass into the meeting to show the correct height of mowed grass that a contractor should follow.

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