Karam Singh cited the “Raja Zakaria” case as one of the examples why he believes the resoration of local council elections would be good for the people. DAP launched a year-long campaign (Restoration of local government elections) in 2005 as we believe that such exercise allows the people to keep the local councils accountable to the people. The present system fails to work as all coucilors were elected by their political masters and they feel that they were not accountable to the rakyat since they were elected by them. Bravo, Karam Singh!
Malaysiakini has the story…
TV personality calls for local council polls
|The poor state of affairs concerning local councils has reached a stage where it can only be overcome with the return of local council elections, one of the panelists at the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia’s (Suhakam) dialogue programme with media noted.Broadcast journalist Karam Singh Walia told participants at the dialogue entitled ‘The media’s role and human rights’ in Kuala Lumpur yesterday that he had witnessed and heard testimonies of poor management by the local councillors.
“These little Napoleons are supposed to be the front line men of the Barisan Nasional goverment. But they have time and time again failed miserably to deliver on a fair and civil administration,” Karam said.“A promise was given that local council elections would be put back in place after the May 13, 1969 riots were over. Until today, that has remained an empty promise,” he said.
Karam said local council elections should be brought back to stop the mismanagement of local authorities and the appointment of unqualified councillors.
“I say this in my own personal capacity and not as a TV3 journalist that if we bring back elections for councillors at all local councils in this country, it’s going to make our lives better, protect the environment and a lot of people will be happier,” he said.
He pointed out that local councillors who fail to perform could be voted out in the next election and qualified candidates like doctors, engineers and architects can be brought in.‘A lucrative job’
Karam cited several examples of local councillors who have failed to deliver amongst them Port Klang assemblyperson Zakaria Mohd Deros, recently involved in a controversy over his illegally constructed mansion.“How did a railway-gate keeper become a millionaire so quickly? He can even afford a big car and Gucci sunglasses and was the Umno division head for 22 years. Where’s the transparency?” Karam also highlighted the RM40,000 spent by the Selayang Municipal Council (MPS) for a training stint for their councillors in Genting Highlands.“They could have held it in their MPS hall. The money saved could be used to set up a clinic in the outskirts or to pave roads that are used by thousands of people,” he lamented.
“Who are these councillors? They are people who have no inkling about government administration. I was told by former councillors that being a councillor is a lucrative job because they get money from setting up small companies and getting tenders,” said Karam.
Other panelists at the dialogue included International Movement for a Just World president Dr Chandra Muzaffar, Malaysiakini editor-in-chief Steven Gan and Sisters in Islam programme manager Norhayati Kaprawi.