During a recent interview with Bernama, Datuk M. Kayveas, President, People’s Progressive Party and former Deputy Housing and Local Government Minister said that the inefficiency of local government and abuses by employees has given the Barisan Nasional government a bad name. The government should focus on improving the efficiency of local government to ensure it fulfils the aspirations of the people. He claimed that offenders were not sacked but transferred to other departments within the same local government authority. He added the time has come for the government to amend the Local Government Act 1976 to benefit the people.
Some years ago MBI invited a number of NGOs and explained the concept of Local Agenda 21 (LA21) and how we could work together to improve the quality of life in Ipoh. With the change of mayors, the concept was forgotten. LA21 is a programme to forge partnerships between local authorities and the communities they serve and to work together to plan and care for their surroundings towards sustainable development. LA21 adopts a “bottom up” approach. The local communities themselves are involved from the very initial planning stage.
From the number of complaints people have shared with me, what Kayveas said is true for MBI. I am highlighting just a few of the outstanding complaints for which no action has been taken.
Residents living in Persiaran Tiger Lane, off Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah, are having sleepless nights. Cobras, iguanas and monitor lizards are frequently seen in their compounds and enter their houses. The place is also infested with mosquitoes. One of the residents has a file going back to the eighties with letters published in the papers and complaints lodged with MBI. The residents are afraid to reveal their names. They informed that they were confronted by a few people when they had complained earlier and were advised not to complain.
One of the causes of the problem is the cemetery managed by Perak Hock Kean Association which is only used occasionally and is adjacent to the house of one of the complainants. It is overgrown with trees and shrubs and from outside does not look like a cemetery. A spokesman for the Association, who identified himself as Teoh, said that there is a caretaker for the cemetery and was not willing to say more. When it is windy, leaves from the trees fall into the compound of the houses. There are also two houses which have been vacant for more than ten years. The compounds are overgrown with trees and weeds and are breeding grounds for reptiles and mosquitoes.
R. Suppiah, a resident living in Jalan Lange, Ipoh Garden said big trees are growing along the slopes of the drain behind the houses. The drain is about ten feet deep with steep smooth cemented sides. Initially when it was a gravel drain it was regularly maintained by MBI, however, after concreting no maintenance is done.
A. Basnayake, who lives in Jalan Carlos, behind Fatimah Hospital, said that cars are parked haphazardly in front of the houses and road junctions. The residents have complained to MBI and only once the enforcement officers came and summoned a few cars. The situation is now back to its old chaos and getting worse.
Another resident Baljit Singh from Taman Silibin wants the Mayor to Turun Padang to his place and see the situation for himself. He’s had no help to get things done.
MBI must take prompt action on complaints. The councillors must engage with the residents of their zones and solve their problems.