NGO councillors question need for advisory council

The new local government advisory council drew flak among NGO councillors as they claimed it will serve as nothing but another layer of bureaucracy.

MBPJ councillor Derek Fernandez said the 20-member advisory body is a toothless tiger because there is no legal provision to empower them to act.

He said that as an administrative committee whose role was merely advisory, there was no guarantee the state executive council would take the ‘advice’.

“DBKL also set up an advisory council, but it just functions like a rubber stamp,” he said.

Coalition of NGO and Professional Appointed Councillors (Conpac) chairman and MPSJ newly-retained councillor Tan Jo Hann questioned the weight the advisory body will carry.

“The local council is empowered by the Local Government Act, in which (no one could intervene) with our (decision making) , even Ronnie Liu (state exco member).

“If they just give advice, it is very hard (for the body) to be (of substance).”

Council created to facilitate agendas

The ?new local government advisory council was announced by Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim last night as an independent body to facilitate the agendas of local councils.

The State has appointed Sharifuddin Budin, Abdul Rahman Moharam and Michael Soon to develop the council’s team members, headed by Ronnie Liu.

Khalid said the council advising the state can help look at things from a macro perspective and pave the way to local elections.

Derek rubbished the claim as he said the local councillors do have the capability of making well-rounded judgment.

“We have been here for two years. We know how to see things from a macro perspective, but the biggest weakness underlying eachcouncil now is their inability to implement the policies quickly.

“For examples the MBPJ councillors has tabled the billboard policy. But we can’t get the contractor to take down their billboards because they refuse to.

“Let say if a resident see a pothole. They call in to ask for repairs, but our contractors are not responsive.

“That’s why we don’t need any more advice; this is the time for action.”

He said rather than forming the body, MBPJ councillors have been calling for the appointment of a chief operating officer (COO) and full time councillors.

“The persons will get paid to implement all the policies, respond to requests quickly and revamp the PR machinery to disseminate information.”

Tan too cannot see any logic of the advisory body helping to bring in local council election.

“The CGG (Coalition for Good Governance) was commissioned by the state government to look at ways to implement local council elections. We submitted our feedback early last year but were told by the MB that they must get the parties’ top brass to brainstorm.

“We waited for some time. We even called Anwar Ibrahim, but there was no formal reply.

“There is a strong need for local elections and a Freedom of Information Act. In what sense can an advisory body help facilitate (that)?”

He said it would be better to have a panel that consist of experts from various fields such as legal, engineering or environment to advise the state.

“Unless they are apolitical, then we can expect something,”

The final appointment of the advisory council members will be announced by the state exco in due time, with many former councillors expected to be nominated.

Meanwhile the new batch of councillors of 12 local councils are expected to be sworn in by this week.

NGO councillors booed at Advisory Council