City Halls and local councils turning the country into one Cowboy Town?

THE fact that the Housing and Local Government Ministry has been re-branded as Local Government Development Ministry shows the importance that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (PMX) places on improving the services of the local authorities. But is this reform happening after one year the Madani government in Putrajaya?

After one year, people are still not seeing much reform being done to both the Local Government Act or the city councils, local municipalities and district councils.

Despite the local government being the third tier of government and by and large the one that affects people’s living conditions, it is “business as usual” at the local authority level.

Minister-in-charge Nga Kor Meng should have taken the cue after meeting the incoming Yang Di-Pertuan Agong (YDPA) Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar last year.

Nga Kor Ming

No improvement in Selangor since 2008

Despite Pakatan Harapan (PH) promising reforms in Selangor since 2008, restaurant owners are still complaining that enforcement officers visit their premises to look for faults that they can penalise.

“Those who are willing to pay a bribe will get off the hook,” said a restaurant operator who prefers to remain anonymous. “Stern measures must be taken against officers who are on the take or they will spoil the reputation of the councils and the state government.”

When this writer was having lunch with former Sungai Pelek state assemblyman Ronnie Liu at a restaurant in SS2 Petaling Jaya, three Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) officers entered the kitchen to carry out inspection.

Throughout the entire period, the officers never exited from the kitchen. When enquiry was made to one of the restaurant workers, it was learnt that they had exited through the backdoor.

Such tactic of asking for money from restaurants and stall operators was also reported last year by one netizen Imraz Ikhbal who in an audio that went viral claimed that a Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) enforcement officer had gone around collecting money from stalls in Kuchai Lama selling mandarin oranges.

Till today, DBKL has not reported whether actions have been taken against the officer or if the officer had being handed over to the Malaysia Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) for further investigation.

Rubbish, rubbish everywhere

While the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry is promoting tourism in Malaysia, the KL City Hall (DBKL) continues to close an eye on the eyesore at the apartments in Lorong Walter Grenier in Bukit Bintang.

FocusM has not received any response from the Kuala Lumpur mayor Datuk Seri Kamarulzaman Mat Salleh whether any form of cleaning up action would be carried out.

Right from the mayor to its junior staff, DBKL appears to be slacking in the way they handle complaints even after being highlighted in the media.

For example, the junction at the crossroad between Jalan Burung Hantu and Jalan Lang Emas in Taman Bukit Maluri, Kepong is still patchy despite complaints raised over a month ago.

Even social activist Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye told FocusM that he is disgusted with the Kamaruzzaman’s response. “I made it a point to meet him personally to highlight the matter,” claimed the former Bukit Bintang MP.

“This was also after numerous attempts trying to fix an appointment through his personal assistant. Although the mayor said he would look into the condition of the Taman Pudu Ulu Recreational Park, we’ve yet to see anything done to beautify the park.”

Lee had earlier claimed that the mayor had merely given him “lip service”. Speaking in his capacity as Friends of The Pudu Ulu Park Association chairman, Lee urged Chief Secretary to the Government, Tan Sri Zuki Ali to look into the matter. He further noted thst he had also written to the park manager without any response.

Another video was also seen viralled by a netizen questioning the Selayang Municipal Council president Datuk Mohd Yazid Sairi why nothing is being done to improve the horrendous facilities at Batu Caves despite the many tourists visiting the place.

With no reforms, people look to Agong next

With no reforms in the Local Councils and the Local Government Act, people are now hopeful that the new Agong will make frequent inspection of the country upon his installation on Jan 31.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a netizen suggested that the Agong only needs to make ad hoc inspections. “Even if Tuanku does not say a word, his social media is enough to apply pressure on the mayors and the council presidents all over the country to buck up,” she stressed.

She shared how she was previously hopeful that PMX would go down to the ground to carry out spot checks. This is especially so since complaints raised with the Selangor State exco Ng Suee Lim and Nga received no response despite the matters being highlighted in the media.

“We need to change the attitude of the civil servants and the politicians if the country wants to progress on,” she pointed out.

“Ministers and state excos are vested with the powers to help solve people’s issues. They make or break based on their ability to solve problems on the ground. I also urge the MACC to set up dragnets to net in the top guns in the local councils if there are signs of corruption.” – Jan 19, 2024

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