ImportNEWS

Report Card for Councillors

iSpeak
By A. Jeyaraj
Appointment of new MBI councillors every two years is routine and no one gets excited about it. However, this time ratepayers were wondering what the PH government would do. The new government followed what was done previously and except for two councillors from NGOs, the rest were political appointees. It is back to square one. DAP councillors were given a pep talk on their role.
Perak DAP Chairman, Nga Kor Ming, in his speech during a retreat at Tower Regency Hotel for DAP councillors, urged all DAP local councillors to reform and transform. He added that local councillors have a high responsibility as they will be meeting the people every day.
“Local council is a very important aspect. The job is not all about rubbish, grass and drains; it’s about mission and vision on how you’re going to transform a district or city into a more liveable place.”
Right now MBI cannot carry out its basic functions of garbage collection, grass cutting and drain cleaning and it’s a joke talking about transforming Ipoh into a more liveable place at this point in time. 
“This is not a prize for you. Live up to the expectations. Don’t think that you can sit in the position easily. I will propose to the State Exco in charge of local council to terminate you this December if you don’t perform. Don’t think you will have time until next July. These six months is your probation period,” said Nga.
“Don’t abuse the power given to you. Don’t let yourself be corrupted in any way. Stick to the law and fulfil all the promises,” he added.
Councillors have been told what they should do and what is expected of them. They are being paid to do the job.
The councillors must allow the public to attend their sub-committee meetings. Then the people will know how much deliberation is done before projects are approved and also the expertise of the councillors can be gauged. This is practiced in other countries.
The new councillor for my zone has not come to my area at the time of writing this piece. I wonder whether other councillors have visited their zones. Photo of the councillor and contact details must be placed in all zones.
It is not the job of Nga to supervise the councillors, it is the job of the ratepayers. Residents Associations (RA) must monitor the performance of their councillors and prepare a report card of their performance.
RAs should have regular meetings with their councillors and get feedback on what projects are being planned. They can propose what improvements need to be done to their zones. Solutions have to be found for flooding, stray cattle, mosquitoes, parking woes, poor road maintenance and other related issues pertaining to each zone. To achieve liveable city status we must get rid of these problems.
I surfed the internet and found that local councils in other countries have report cards for their councillors and their performance is published on their website. Councillors have been graded from A to F. Other countries are certainly more advanced than us.
I think RAs should submit quarterly or half yearly report cards on their councillor to the Exco in charge of Local Council. And also follow up what action is taken.
I am attaching a sample questionnaire for Councillors Performance Evaluation which RAs can use to evaluate the performance of the councillors. The questionnaire is in two parts. Part 1 deals with familiarisation of the councillors with their zones, residents and problems. Part 2 will cover jobs relating to development of the zone and making Ipoh a liveable city. Once the basic problems are solved. I will publish Part 2 after councillors have become familiar with their jobs.
Otherwise how else can we evaluate our councillors and to whom do the councillors report?
To us, the ratepayers should, I hope, be the answer.
 

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