Monday, 25 June 2012

Mayors and municipal councilors around the country should be elected, not appointed


Finally, politicians from Barisan Nasional component parties are calling for KL’s mayor to be someone from the political party rather than civil servant. Finally they are on the same tune with politicians from Pakatan Rakyat, especially DAP who had been exhorting the government to restore local council elections for a long time.

The argument from the BN side is that a politician in the role of mayor of KL will do a better do as they are answerable to the people. The tune they sang is very different from those mentioned by Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Chor Chee Heung who chided PR politicians linking a local council's ability to discharge its duties based on council elections in Parliament. Obviously Chor is in the dark over the demand of his comrades from BN.

To be fair, it is not only that the mayor of Kuala Lumpur is not doing a good job. I dare to say that the mayors and councilors from all around the country are not doing a good job, especially when it comes to town planning – which is a big issue in Petaling Jaya, landscaping, dealing with hawker centers and street peddlers and solving pot holes on roads under their jurisdiction.

Mayors and councilors around Klang Valley are the worst when it comes to town planning. They do not take into consideration the traffic infrastructure and density of the area before approving projects. One good example is Kota Damansara and Damansara Perdana. High rise office buildings, commercial shops and condos boomed like mushrooms after the rain in these areas and created horrible traffic jams.

For us who lives in Mutiara Damansara, we have to endure the Monday to Friday before and after office hour jams and the Saturday and Sunday shopping complex jam. On any given day, Persiaran Surian looks more like a huge parking space than a road as it is the only one main road that connects LDP and Kota Damansara which is a very high density area. Sometimes I do think the game “Sim City” must be made mandatory for mayors and councilors to play in order for them to gain knowledge on town planning.

Another big problem face by residents around Klang Valley, due to bad town planning, is that one will wake up one morning to find out that there will be a MRT line or elevated highway right in front of one’s house. All these are due to bad town planning and also officers that refuse to look into the plight of the effected residents. MRT lines and highways can be built underground so that it won’t affect the residents.

Moreover, these appointed mayors and councilors are also wasting on our taxpayer’s money for all their “study trips” overseas. From what we see around us, obviously they had not gain any knowledge from their trips. We don’t have to look far for good town planning examples; we just have to look at our dear neighbor – Singapore. And please don’t compare us with Jakarta, Bangkok and other badly planned cities. We need to look to the best, not the bad ones.

We used to have local government elections until its suspension on 3 Sept 1964 due to confrontation from Indonesia over the formation of Malaysia. It is time to lift the suspension and start to have local government elections again. Each elected mayor and councilor that is elected will definitely do their job better because they will have to be answerable to the public. If they do not do their job well, we can boot them out. It is time for change!

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