THERE is now an ongoing tussle for the local government positions between UMNO and the rest of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) component parties in Selangor.
Local government positions are important as they help develop grassroots support for political parties. Since 2008 PH has taken over local government appointments and the parties had worked out a quota among themselves.
Now that UMNO is part of the unity government in Selangor the component parties are finding it difficult to adjust to the new situation especially when UMNO, which has only two seats in the 56-seat Selangor state assembly, wants a bigger share of the positions.
The number of positions given to UMNO should not only reflect its share of state assembly seats in Selangor but also UMNO’s crucial support for the federal government.
Since 2008 UMNO has had no local government representation but another parallel body known as the village security and development committees (JKKK) was set up by Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib when he was the rural and regional development minister to ensure UMNO’s presence in Selangor.
However, it is not as effective as the PH local government representation. The Federal JKKKs still exists and have not been disbanded.
Possibly, they now come under Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi as he is both Deputy PM and also the Rural and Regional Development Minister.
UMNO as part of the BN should also unselfishly request for positions for both MIC and MCA, who are its allies in the unity government.
Local government in Selangor has taken a turn for the worse since 2008 when PH took over. The inexperience of the local councillors and JKKK members was compounded by their incompetency.
The result is that the state is the most unkempt in the country. One needs to go around the residential, commercial and industrial areas to observe how conditions have plummeted within a short time of the PH takeover.
Under BN the situation was so much better and Selangor was even declared a developed state in 2005.
Some even think that Selangor is a “gone case” as not much can be done to rectify or redress the situation. Potholed roads and car parks, stagnant drains, faulty streetlights, littering and dumping in public spaces, abandoned houses and buildings, insanitary migrants colonies and dangerously lopsided trees and branches comprise the litany of local complaints by residents.
There is a urgent need for term limits for the JKKK members, village heads, community leaders and local councillors. Quite a lot of them have not been replaced since their appointment by PH in 2008 and there is no excuse for this.
One of the reasons for the poor local government administration is due to the fact that all re-appointees take their positions for granted and feel secure that their tenures will be extended whether they are competent or not.
The names, photos and other information of the local councillors, village heads and JKKK members must be posted in the office of the MP and state assembly representatives of the constituency.
As has been said, two heads are better than one, and new appointees should be added to infuse enthusiasm and diligence in the local administration.
PH often decries the need for term limits but why is it not implementing it in Selangor? Since 2008 the executive councillor (exco) for local government has been from DAP, which is one of the reasons for the poor local government administration.
The past and present excos are not interactive or responsive as phone calls and emails to their office go unanswered, and they are keener about maintaining the status quo as radical changes will affect the SMEs and commercial areas where DAP has much support.
The result is the haphazard development and poor conditions of the SME areas and industrial zones. It goes without saying that that the local government portfolio is one of the most important posts and people have high expectations from the holder of the office.
It is hoped that other PH parties will be given the exco position to manage local government administration.
It is also time the Selangor unity government stopped discrimination especially in the allocations of funds and projects for the people and opted for fairer distributions.
Industrial, commercial and residential areas in Selangor need to reflect their first world status if Selangorians are to be proud about their state. – Jan 29, 2024
V. Thomas is a Focus Malaysia reader.
The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.
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