Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Petaling, Lim Kit Siang, to the Serdang Bahru DAP Branch on Thursday, 4th June 1981 at 8 p.m.
Petaling District Council is probably the most incompetent and irresponsible local authority in the country
When the government abolished elected local government replacing it with an appointed system, the government promised that the new appointive system will bring greater benefits, better services and more efficient management to all local authorities.
But the actual working of the appointed local government system throughout the country has proved most unsatisfactory, where the appointed Municipal or District Councillors act and behave as if they are the lords in the local authorities, and not the servants. What is worse, although the local authorities continue to increase assessments or rates, the services provided have continued to deteriorate.
The Petaling District Council however outshines in the country as being probably the most incompetent and irresponsible local authority in Malaysia, as can be seen by the ever-deteriorating services in Serdang Bahru new village.
In 1979, assessments in Serdang Bahru were increases, in some cases by several hundred per cent. Recently, the Petaling District Council announced a 100% per cent increase in ‘bayaran sampah’.
But although the Petaling District council kept levying and collecting rates and charges from the people of Serdang Bahru, it had not reciprocated its responsibility by maintaining and improving the basic environmental facilities of good roads, drains and a healthy and hygienic surrounding.
The most scandalous spectacle in Serdang Bahru new village is the way the roads have been allowed to deteriorate into a state of complete disrepair, man-holes all over the new village, causing numerous accidents to unwary cyclists, motor-cyclists and motorists; where proper roads have become major obstacles paths; and what is worse, where drains have disappeared, causing flooding and a threat to health.
The neglect of the Serdang Bahru new village is part of the neglect new village throughout the country face from a Barisan government which continue to exclude new villages from the mainstream of development. This is unacceptable, and the Petaling District Council and the Selangor State Government should realise that there is a limit to which the people in Serdang Bahru and other new villages could be discriminated against and ignored!
From 1974 – 1978, Serdang State Assemblyman for the area, Yap Pian Hon, had $100,000 a year for constituency development purposes. If Yap Pian Hon had used the $400,000 during that period to repair the Serdang roads and drains which had by then started to get into a bad state of conditions, then the Serdang Bahru road and drain conditions would not have become so atrocious as they are today.
But Yap Pian Hon;s insincerity with regard to services for the people of Serdang for the sake of services, and not for his own personal interest, could be shown by the fact that although he is a member of the Petaling District Council, he has done nothing to get the Petaling District Council to attend to its responsibilities of maintaining the roads and drains in Serdang Bahru in a fit state. On the contrary, I understand that Yap Pian Hon had been responsible for ensuring that the Petaling District Council does nothing for the Serdang Bahru new village, so as to take personal vengeance against the people of Serdang Bahru for not voting for him in the last general elections.
In trying to hold the people of Serdang Bahru to ‘ransom’, Yap Pian Hon had behaved as if Serdang Bahru is his personal property, and that he could personally punish the people of Serdang in the way he thinks fit.
In fact, the maintenance of roads and drains a healthy environment is the responsibility of the Petaling District Council, and Yap Pian Hon, as the District Council member, should explain and answer to the people of Serdang why he had failed to look after the basic rights of the Serdang Bahru people in the Petaling District Council. If he is not representing the people of Serdang Bahru in the Petaling District Council, then is he merely representing himself?
In collecting assessment and rates from Serdang Bahru, the people, of Serdang Bahru have a right to expect and demand the Petaling District Council to perform its basic duties in maintaining roads and drains in the new village.
If the Petaling District Council is indifferent to appeals and reminders, not only by the people of Serdang Bahru, but also by DAP leaders like Serdang Assemblyman, Sdr. Lee Lam Thye, in the Selangor State Assembly at almost every Assembly sitting, then the time has come for the people of Serdang to unite and demand their rights as ratepayers.
The DAP is seriously considering various forms of action to impress on the Petaling District Council and the Selangor State Government of the rate-payers right to basic services for their rates. This include the launching of a mass signature in the new village to demand and pressure the Petaling District Council to do its duty.
Let the people of Serdang Bahru show to Yap Pian Hon, the Petaling District Councol and the Selangor State Government that there is a limit to the neglect and discrimination against them in the maintenance and provision of local services.
Sdr. Lee Lam Thye will be rising the Serdang Bahru’s grievances in the Selangor State Assembly beginning on Monday, and if the response and attitude of the Selangor State Government is one of indifference and discrimination, in action to let all those in authority know that as ratepayers they have rights which could not be ignored.