Public expect much from our local authorities
Published on: Sunday, January 29, 2023
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WHILE new Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is raising the bar in terms of dealing with pressing national issues, it is also important to look into matters that are peculiar to urban and semi-urban dwellers. 

The best way to do this is to constantly monitor the operations of local authorities and get them to address all shortcomings quickly. 

Currently, there are 155 local authorities, consisting of 19 city councils, 39 municipal councils and 92 district councils. 

These local authorities are empowered to collect taxes in the form of assessment tax, create rules and laws (by-laws) and grant licences and permits for trade in their respective jurisdictions. 

They are also responsible for providing and maintaining a host of basic services including waste collection and disposal, health services, roads and storm water drainage, street lighting and parks and recreation. 

A number of issues have been cropping up on a regular basis. There is the problem of poor drainage and maintenance, leading to frequent flash floods that cause huge losses to the people and nation. 

Some roads are riddled with potholes, resulting in crashes involving mainly motorcyclists (pic)

But the poor response of the local authorities to this issue has led to some people taking the initiative to repair the roads themselves. 

There are also frequent reports of broken road curbs and drains and missing drain covers. 

These pose real threats to the safety of the public. We frequently read in the media about badly-maintained public facilities, frequent accidents involving construction workers and traffic hazards, including traffic obstruction due to illegal parking. 

Unfortunately, not all of these issues are currently receiving the attention and resources they deserve.

There also seems to be a poor maintenance culture among most local councils, resulting in great inconvenience to the public. 

Are the councils hampered by lack of budget allocation, manpower, resources, or resolve?  Do they lack visionary leadership or strategic plans? 

In the end, it all boils down to the question of service delivery, work commitment and integrity. 

It is the responsibility of the government to ensure that all local authorities are free from all forms of corruption, and to uphold integrity at all levels.

Councils should establish a close relationship with non-governmental organisations, business communities and the public to deal with persistent issues and challenges. 

Whatever the cause, the effect is often borne by the taxpaying public who deserve better. 

Malaysian taxpayers expect more from their local councils because they want to live in a safe and healthy environment.

Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye

- The views expressed here are the views of the writer Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye and do not necessarily reflect those of the Daily Express.

- If you have something to share, write to us at: [email protected]


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