The “Know Your MBI Councillor” campaign was initiated by several NGOs from Ipoh in March this year. The objectives of the campaign are to help ratepayers understand the roles and functions of city councillors, raise awareness on local government democracy, enhance good governance, competency, accountability and transparency of councillors and local government.
During a recent press conference, Cheng Heng Chung, spokesman for the group said that their initial intention was to conduct a survey amongst all 23 MBI councillors, soliciting their response to a questionnaire with five simple questions. The responses were to be compiled and made public.
It was regrettable that all the councillors decided not to respond to the survey, citing reasons which were totally absurd and unacceptable. They said that they are only answerable to their political party and not obliged to reply to NGOs, which was published in the daily Nanyang Siang Pow.
In view of this, the group decided to go to the ratepayers and get their views. A simple questionnaire with a Yes/No answer was prepared and the results show that the present system of appointing councillors is a failure and that councillors have very little interaction with the residents. Eighty-one per cent (81%) of those polled did not know who their councillor is. These findings will be sent to the MB, Exco Members and the Mayor.
As a consequence of the poll, the NGOs, comprising GASRA (Gabungan Solidarity Perak), LLG Cultural Development Centre, Ipoh City Watch, Perak Consumer Association, Lim Garden Residents’ Committee, Tamil Foundation, Mafrel Perak and Ikram Perak, proposed that:
Councillors be elected
MBI appoint special officers to accept/act on complaints from the public;
MBI hold sub-committee meetings at night so that the public can attend and participate in the discussions;
MBI hold public hearings on new issues/projects and get feedback from the public before implementing them.