By A. Jeyaraj
Some years ago on Tuesday mornings, Excos met the public to hear their problems at the balcony of SUK building. People can speak to the relevant Exco directly and explain their problems or needs. This gave an opportunity for Excos to understand problems faced by the rakyat. This has been stopped for quite some time.
This practice should be reintroduced since it is next to impossible to meet the Excos.
The meetings were held during 2008 for a short period at the time of PR government. I happened to go to SUK when the session was on and I did not see a big crowd waiting to see the Excos. This shows the public are matured and do not go to the Excos with trivial issues.
Hasnul Zulkarnain Abd Munaim, Perak NGO Committee chairman urged NGOs to check facts with Perak government before protesting; Save Kledang Hill group gathered at SUK on 30 April the state was always open to meet with NGOs on various issues. This was reported in Metro News on 14 May 2019 I doubt the validity of his statement on the possibility of meeting the YBs.
To share my experience, I was planning to write a cover story in a forthcoming issue of Ipoh Echo and needed to get feedback from the MB and Excos. On 1st April I handed over a letter to the office of MB and Excos requesting for a meeting. In spite of reminders, to date, there has been no response from anyone.
More than two years ago I had written a cover story on current developments in Perak in Ipoh Echo. With the new government in place, I decided to do a follow-up and let the public know about new developments carried out by the PH government. It looks like the new government is following the legacy of the previous government and have nothing to report.
I had no problem with meeting the Excos of the previous government. BN Excos knew their job and were brave to meet the public. They knew as elected representatives they should interact with the public.
Before blaming NGOs, Hasnul should check whether the YBs are prepared to talk to the people. He must put his house in order first. Elected representatives should serve the people who elected them first.
The “Save Kledang Hill” group handed over their memorandum to the representative of MB, rightfully it is the MB who should have received it; not his representative. What respect can the people have of their MB when he goes missing during an important occasion without any explanation? He should walk the talk and gain the respect of the public.
People voted for change and expect the new government to be transparent, honest and truthful. The public wants to know who cleared Kledang Hill. Why is the MB not revealing the identity of the culprits? When will replanting start? This is a glaring example of the ineffectiveness of the government.
As for plastic garbage dumped in Ipoh, the federal minister says it is from UK and will be shipped back. The state government says it is local garbage meant for recycling. Who is telling the truth?
Readers write regularly in Ipoh Echo complaining that they cannot contact their councillor and assemblyperson. There must be an avenue for the ratepayers to meet them.
Clearing of Kledang Hill and plastic garbage may be only the tip of the iceberg. Only the Almighty knows what else is going on behind our backs. As far as I know, the government only deals with developers behind closed doors. The Public only comes to know about it when someone leaks it. There used to be a common saying about greedy businessmen that they would sell their father, mother, wife and children for money. Our politicians should not try to emulate this.
People like to talk to the Excos directly rather than go through a third person. I hope “meet your Excos” sessions would be reintroduced including the presence of the MB to serve the people better. The public can get the facts from the right person. There will be no more fake news or distortion of facts as claimed by Hasnul. The government can convey the facts to the people directly during these sessions.
After GE14 people have become politically wise. They know that they have the power to change the government including politicians. Politicians cannot follow the old ways. Nowadays even housewives are talking about the next prime minister. Tun M always says PH is the people’s government. Compared to other states Perak seems to do things too discreetly. The public is not informed about what is happening.
As I have suggested earlier, it is time for the Perak government to take up two pages of advertisement in Ipoh Echo every month and inform the people what is going on. There are about 100,000 print readers and more than one million hits which is verifiable. The paper is read by who is who in Ipoh and would reach the right target group. It is the duty of the government to inform the people who voted for change, on what they are doing.