The Selangor Government has no plans to introduce full-time councillors with equivalent salaries for the moment, said the state exco member in charge of local government, Ronnie Liu.
In an exclusive interview with Komunitikini, Liu said the state government is concerned about the financial implications once a full-time system is implemented.
“Each of them must be paid at least RM4,000 a month if we were to introduce a full-time system. We have 288 councillors in Selangor. It will be a huge budget,” he said.
The state has been mulling restructuring all 12 local councils in Selangor by turning all councillors or a number of councillors in every council into full-timers.
This is to give proper compensation to councillors whose jobs include attending meetings, making policies, chairing local council residents’ committees (JKP), organising community activities and such.
Liu admitted that some doctors and lawyers who are also councillors are having tough time juggling their day-jobs with the onerous tasks required of them as councillors.
“Some of them who have to skip their jobs because the local council meeting is held on weekdays,” he said.
Councillors dropping out
The councillor’s allowance was recently revised from RM750 to RM1,000 a month. In addition to a RM150 per meeting allowance, a councillor’s barely receives RM1,500 in total compensation a month.
An MPSJ councillor, who preferred not to be named, said it is impossible to survive in in Kuala Lumpur on RM1,500.
When told about such issues being raised, Liu admitted that the existing allowance structure is “wrong”.
“If I have a say, the allowance should at least be RM2,000 a month as many of them have to give up their jobs completely,” he said.
He claimed the previous Selangor BN administration never intended to revise councillors’ allowance because councillors that time enjoyed excessive privileges (kang tau) such as local council contracts and backdoor dealings.
He added that such practices were halted after Pakatan took over.
He however rejected the idea to make eight out of 24 councillors in every local government full-timers, with the eight overseeing more JKP zones than their part-time counterparts.
“It is not practical. A JKP zone for each councillor now is already a huge task. If they were to oversee more zones, they will lose focus,” he said.
The low incentives and non-equivalent job tasks, have led to local councils losing several councillors every time their tenures expire.
“In fact at least one councillor in every local council has dropped out because they cannot cope with their financial constraints,” he said.