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Call on MPs, whether BN or Opposition, to use  next week’s budget debate  to give full support to Kayveas’ denunciation of local governments nationwide for failures  of transparency, accountability and delivery of efficient services and to demand revamp of local government as a top national agenda


Media Statement

by Lim Kit Siang  

, Saturday): When I spoke on the 2006 Budget debate in Parliament on Monday, 3rd October 2005, I had quoted with approval the denunciation of the Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk M. Kayveas  of the local governments nationwide for their failures of transparency and accountability.

I  told Parliament that Kayveas’ courageous dissection of the ills of local governments should not be left  without any effective follow-up action to revamp the local councils and end  the decades of  miseries of the  long-suffering ratepayers as a result of the failures of  transparency, accountability and delivery of efficient services by the unelected local government system.

Speaking at the 2005 People’s Progressive Party (PPP) annual general conference on Sunday, Kayveas  said the councilors in local government functioned as a “rubber-stamp”. The unelected councillors approved projects behind closed doors without consultation from representatives of citizen groups.

He said the time has come to see actual transparency, debates, arguments, exchanges of ideas and intellectual planning in all local governments which cannot continue to be run like a secret society.

Kayveas, who was formerly the Deputy Minister for Housing and Local Government, pointed out that there are 146 local governments in Malaysia but none of them  is up to any standards.”They may be good in different things, but not good in everything."  Of  the top 10 local governments in the world, three are  in Australia, "(but) we are no where near there".

In the past few days, Kayveas had been denounced by powerful voices like local council presidents and councillors  who have a common vested interest to perpetuate the abuses and excesses of the unelected local government system where they can operate without  transparency, accountability and continue to enjoy immunity and impunity for inefficient delivery of basic services,. Kayveas has however been  enthusiastically embraced by the long-suffering ratepayers throughout the country  who demand a qualitative change in local government services.

The crucial question is whether the call for the revamp of the local government system has been heard loud and clear by the  highest decision-making authorities in the country.

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was present when Kayveas denounced the local councils, as Abdullah was there to declare open the PPP General Assembly.

There are no indications however that the revamp of the local government system to end the decades of inefficiency, incompetence, abuses of power and waste of public funds will become urgent agenda any time soon, let alone top priority agenda, of the government and Cabinet.

This is why I call on Members of Parliament, whether Barisan Nasional or Opposition, to make full use of  next week’s budget debate  to give full support to Kayveas’ denunciation of local governments nationwide for failures of transparency, accountability and delivery of efficient services so that a total revamp of the local government system becomes a top national agenda, whether in government,  Cabinet or Parliament, whether in  the 2006 Budget or the Ninth Malaysia Plan 2006-2010.

In the past three weeks, the AP scandal, the controversy over the national automotive policy and the irresponsibly long parliamentary absence of Minister for International Trade and Industry, Datuk Paduka Rafidah Aziz had dominated parliamentary proceedings. The 41-day budget meeting, however, cannot have only one major theme or concern.   This is why I call on all MPs to make the end of the 40-year sufferings of Malaysian ratepayers in the hands of inefficieint, unaccountable and untransparent local government another major parliamentary theme and agenda in this session.



*  Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman

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