Sunday, January 4, 2009



No to civil servants as Penang councillors
Athi Veranggan Jan 3, 09
Civil servants will no longer be appointed as local councillors or
heads of local municipalities in Penang under a new directive from the Pakatan
Rakyat state government. Instead, politicians will be appointed in their
The move will take effect by end of this month when the state
government makes a fresh annual appointment of councillors for Penang island
under the Pulau Pinang Municpal Council (MPPP) and for the mainland under the
Seberang Perai Municipal Council (MPSP).
The new step to replace civil
servants with politicians is said to be towards restoring the ‘third vote’ or
local government elections.
Both councils, with 25 councillors each, are
currently headed by civil servants.
MPPP, meanwhile, has two councillors as
heads of the northeast and southwest districts while MPSP has three councillors
as heads of the Seberang Perai Utara, Tengah and Selatan districts.
The new
policy effectively means that the current presidents of the councils and the
five district officers would be replaced by politicians from the ruling Pakatan
Rakyat coalition, thus making Penang the first state to drop civil servants as
Political appointees increase
At a press conference today,
co-chairperson the state-level liaison committee, also known as the Penang
Pakatan Rakyat Council (PPRC), Chow Kon Yeow revealed that the failure of
district officers to attend municipal council meetings regularly, thus
disrupting operations and the decision-making process considerably, were the
main reasons behind the latest decision.
He added that since municipalities
were local governments accountable to the public, politicians were the ideal
choices to helm them.
Apart from seven NGO appointees – four on the island
and three on the mainland - the new Pakatan policy will see the numbers of
political appointees in the two local councils increasing from current 36 to 43
with 21 in MPPP and 22 in MPSP.
Gerakan state chief Dr Teng Hock Nan and,
Penaga assemblyperson and state Umno secretary Azhar Ibrahim were last
politicians to become presidents of MPPP and MPSP respectively.
servants began to head both councils since 2000.
Sources said PKR planned to
have one man, Balik Pulau division head Mansor Othman as the head of MPSP under
a power-sharing concept that would see DAP helming the MPPP.
Paya Terubong
assemblyperson Yeoh Soon Hin, who is currently also an MPPP councillor, is
touted to become the new MPPP president.
Opposition party Gerakan, in its
recent report card on the performance of Pakatan Rakyat councillors, rated Yeoh
as ‘the worst councillor’ for allegedly not being easily accessible to the
public and for failure to carry out his duties effectively.
Liaison committee
set up
Chow hit back today saying the Gerakan report card was a deliberate
move to belittle the performance of Pakatan councillors.
"The report was
biased, unfair and politically-motivated," he said.
During the meeting today,
the coalition leaders also decided to replace five of the current seven
councillors appointed last April from among the non-government organisations
(NGOs) with new five NGO representatives.
The NGO councillors are to be
replaced mainly due to poor performance.
Meanwhile, Penang has become the
first state to formalise the coalition’s state-level liaison committee – PPRC –
which will have three co-chairpersons comprising representatives from DAP, PKR
and PAS.
Each party will have seven representatives on the PPRC and a
secretariat will soon be operational for the public’s convenience.
Apart from
Chow, PKR state chief Zahrain Mohd Hashim and PAS state commissioner Mohd Salleh
Man are the other two PPRC co-chairpersons.

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