Thursday June 26, 2008
PJ folks rue ‘incomplete’ list
FRUSTRATED and furious – this aptly described what Petaling Jaya residents felt about the list of councillors for their city.
“The Pakatan Rakyat promised that there would be residents represented in the councils but looks like it's not to be. We were hoping that at least one councillor would be a Residents Association (RA) representative but they are merely following the earlier government by having political appointees,” said All Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Residents' Association Coalition (APAC) committee member Mohamad Umar Peer Mohamad.
APAC secretary Liew Wei Beng was unhappy because despite all the hard work they had put in fighting for the residents' cause, they were once again sidelined.
Condominimum, Apartments and Highrise Committee (CAHC) chairman Tengku Nazaruddin Zainudin said he received many calls from residents, questioning why there was no RA or Rukun Tetangga (RT) representation in the council.
“We question the political appointees because none of them have been actively involved with the council or with residents.
“Have they even attended a full board meeting before? Have they ever gone to the ground to see what residents are facing?” commented Nazaruddin, who has been staying in PJ for about 40 years.
“It's ironic because the council runs on the assessment paid by residents but in the end, the political parties decide who should represent us,” said Liew, also a PJ resident for about 40 years.
“We want people who can solve issues. We will continue to be the watchdogs and make sure PJ residents are taken care of,” said Nazaruddin.
“The NGO appointees would be more interested in policy-making issues, not our drainage or traffic problems,” said Liew, who is also Taman Mayang Jaya residents association chairman.
Umar said that like before, residents' needs would be brushed aside.
“There won't be much change and we would continue to see developments taking place around PJ. Before this, we have been termed as opposition when we fought for our rights and sadly, we're still going to be an opposition,” said Umar.
As the list is yet to be finalised, he hoped that the state government would reconsider their list.
Should the councillor list remain as it is, Umar said they would carefully monitor the councillors throughout the first year.
SS4C and SS4D Residents Association (RA) chairman Ravinder Singh said politicians should be concentrating on politics and interests of the nation on a larger scale.
“Why are they meddling around in our local councils? Politicians are just here for a temporary period while we're staying here. We need a long-term representation in the council be involved with the developments that take place in our neighbourhoods,” said Ravinder.
Commenting on the disagreement between Pakatan Rakyat parties and even within the parties itself regarding the councillor lists, Ravinder said: “After 100 days in office, they are still complaining about their needs. What about our needs?”
SS20 RT chairman Eileen Thong said it was a wise decision not to have RA and RT representatives in the council.
She said that residents still had a voice through monthly MBPJ meetings between MBPJ heads of departments, councillors and resident representatives that were chaired by an assemblyman.
“It would have been hard to pick RA or RT heads to sit in the council because there are so many in PJ itself. How are you going to pick one to represent all residents? There would be a sudden surge of people who would want to get into the post with personal agendas. This would have been an unhealthy situation,” she said.
Kelana Jaya MP Loh Gwo Burne said he did receive complaints that there were no RA representatives in the council.
“They should have some sort of representation because they make up the majority of people in Petaling Jaya,” he said.