Thursday, May 1, 2008

No elected reps in local councils - The Star


ELECTED state representatives will not be appointed as councillors to any of the 12 local authorities in Selangor.

Selangor Local Government Committee chairman Ronnie Liu announced yesterday that the Pakatan Rakyat-led state government had made the decision to ensure more representation from the grassroots.

Healthy problem: Liu looking at some of the applications at his office.

Liu said that as assemblymen, the elected representatives were allowed to attend sub-committee meetings at their respective city and municipal councils, hence they need not be made councillors.

He said there would be a balanced ratio of professionals, representatives of NGOs and grassroots political party leaders appointed councillors into each of the councils, with each comprising 24 councillors.

Liu said it was certain that the voice of the people would be heard at every full board meeting in the state.

“We want to give opportunities for those who are not elected representatives to sit in the city and municipal councils,” he said.

“This will pave the way for more leaders from the grassroots to sit at the full council meetings where policies and crucial decisions on local issues are made,” Liu told StarMetro.

On the ratio of the councillors, Liu said the state had not made a decision on the matter yet.

However, he said, there would be a fair mix of councillors and a significant number of representatives of NGOs would be appointed.

“We have received about 1,000 applications for the 288 posts of councillors and this is a positive sign.” he said.

Liu, pointing at some applications on the table at his office, said that they had been submitted through the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), PAS and DAP and individuals, especially from NGOs, who felt that they had the qualification.

“Among the applicants are also those who were former senior officials of the government departments, including from the Anti-Corruption Agency and police, doctors, lawyers, former educators and others with strong credentials,” he said

Liu said the large number of volunteers to serve as councillors was a significant indication that the people had confidence in the Pakatan Rakyat government.

Liu said he had a “healthy problem” in picking the best suited candidates as councillors for the various local authorities.

“The people of Selangor could be rest assured that whoever picked for the task would be those of good standing and clean. The names of the short-listed candidates will be sent for vetting by the ACA, police and Bank Negara,” he said.

“While ensuring they do not have criminal records, we also do not wish to appoint those who are bankrupt, hence the need for vetting by Bank Negara,” he said.

“Once we have the clearance from these agencies, their names would be placed on the state government website for a public vetting,” he said.

Liu said he expected the list of the councillors to be announced by the third week of May before the first full board meetings were held during the last week.

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