Malaysiakini-13 Jan 2014

NGOs: S’gor local councils essentially not functioning
The Selangor state government’s delay in appointing local councillors is akin to denying Selangorians a “basic right” to have functioning local councils, the Coalition for Good Governance (CGG) said today.

The group of NGOs, which was formed to monitor the accountability of the Selangor government following the 2008 elections, said local councils are essentially not functioning since Jan 1 as the 2014 appointments have been extended by another month.

“The state government is sending an unhealthy message to civil servants,” said Esham Salam, referring to the fact that some councils spent only 40 percent of their budget allocations due to the delay in appointments.

However, the coalition said, it had just met with Selangor state executive councillor in charge of local government, Teng Chang Kim, and labelled as “positive” the outcome of the meeting.

“We are now studying the guidelines on appointments of local councillors that were given to us, and we are waiting for the final list of councillors before any making any further comment,” said Jerald Joseph, who is also Komas director.

The coalition wants the state government to keep up to its 2008 pledge to allocate 25 percent of the local council seats to NGOs, and for the appointments to be from NGOs endorsed within NGO circles and not ones linked to political parties.

‘Move on with local council elections’

“At the moment, the councillors are being made answerable to political masters instead of the people whom they serve,” Jerald said.

He also urged the state government and all Pakatan Rakyat parties in the state to gather the “political will” to finally implement local government elections, which has been pledged by Teng.

“We have spent a year working on a paper that proves that we can bypass legal hurdles and will not need for any federal law amendment to make this take place,” Jerald said.

“We almost had a trial run at the end of 2012, with the Petaling Jaya City Council, but there was not enough political will at that time to push it through,” he said.

Jerald said CGG is now demanding that the Selangor government takes the political will to push ahead with this plan, as he said “all the mechanisms of implementations are doable”.

“It’s only a matter of political will now,” he added.

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