Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said that the Government will take a second look into the process of appointing councillors to avoid instances where more than one member of a family is appointed to a council.
He said that this is necessary to avoid accusations that district or municipal councils would only comprise members of a certain family. It was clearly that he was referring to the recent Zakaria scandal.
He also said that this situation (where several members of the same family become members of the same council) had never happened before, as appointments are made based on certain criteria.
DAP Selangor must strongly express our disagreement with the DPM as the best decision the Government should take is to revive local council election as public decision is always proven to be the best tool to decide who should and who should not sit in the council.
Moreover, previous practices by the State Government and political parties, either to screen the names of the councillors-to-be with the Anti Corruption Agency or outlining various methods to improve council’s efficiency are already proven not effective. All these happen simply because a comprehensive check and balance system is not put in place in our Councils.
When Najib talked about criteria, one main criteria that we can refer to is Section 10(2) of Local Government Act 1976 which says: “Councillors of the local authority shall be appointed from amongst persons the majority of whom shall be persons ordinarily resident in the local authority area who in the opinion of the State Authority have wide experience in local government affairs or who have achieved distinction in any profession, commerce or industry, or are otherwise capable of representing the interests of their communities in the local authority area.”
I believe such a main criteria as provided under the Act is not also strictly followed by the State Government as in Petaling Jaya City Hall alone, based on the information available from the City Hall’s official website (http://www.mbpj.gov.my/), there are already four councilors (Subramaniam a/l Veruthasalam, Munaliza Bt. Hamzah, Datuk Yahaya B. Bujang, Krishnan a/l Narayana Redy) not residing in area under the jurisdiction of the City Hall but they are appointed to be the councillors for Petaling Jaya City Hall.
It such incompliance can happen, what other criteria can Najib talk about?
Can we have faith and trust in another Government’s self scrutiny when previous scrutiny are already proven failed while malpractices continue to take place in our local councils?
The best Najib should do is to initiate legislative process to revive Local Government Elections Act 1960 so that the people can reclaim their third vote!