by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Tuesday, 18th February 1992:
Four further proposals for the stamping out of the ‘decadence and impotence’ of the MPPP
On Sunday, when I congratulated Tan Ghim Hwa on his appointment as MPPP President, I made the following three proposals for the cleaning up of the ‘decadence and impotence’ of the MPPP which had been publicly admitted by the Gerakan President, Datuk Dr. Lim Keng Yaik, namely:
i. The immediate suspension of all MPPP harassment and victimisation of the hawkers on the Penang island;
ii. The identification and announcement of the areas of the MPPP’s ‘decadence and impotence’ and a concrete action plan to wipe out such ‘decadence and impotence’ and
iii. Asking 20 of the 24 MPPP Councillors who were members of the previous ‘decadence and impotent’ MPPP denounced by Dr. Lim Keng Yaik to submit their resignations so that the MPPP can start on a completely new leaf.
Tan Ghim Hwa must be a full-time MPPP President to do justice to the duty and responsibility entrusted to him
I have today four further proposals for the MPPP to make a new start to clean up its ‘decadence and impotence’ and to become responsible and accountable to the ratepayers on Penang island, namely:
1. MPPP PRESIDENT A FULL-TIME JOB: Tan Ghim Hwa must be a full-time MPPP President to do justice to the duty and responsibility entrusted to him.
A week ago, Tan Ghim Hwa indicated in a press interview that he would want to continue with his accounting profession even when he is appointed MPPP President. This will not do and is completely unacceptable, especially as the greatest single challenge of the new MPPP President is to clean up the ‘decadence and impotence’ in the MPPP. To do this, the new MPPP President must set an example of total commitment to the job to all MPPP Councillors and staff, and even being prepared to be on the job 24 hours a day.
Even without this challenged task, the MPPP President should be an all-time job, and this had in fact been proposed at the public hearings last year on the MPPP conducted by the Penang State Government.
If Tan Ghim Hwa is not prepared to relinquish his accountancy profession altogether during his tenure as MPPP President, then he should reconsider the propriety of accepting the appointment.
2. MPPP MUST BE ACCOUNTABLE, RESPONSIBLE AND DEMOCRATIC: The MPPP must operate as an open, accountable, responsible and democratic Council, and not as in the past, away from public gaze and scrutiny, which was completely against the provisions of the Local Government Act which stipulates that the Municipal Councils should hold their meeting in public.
In the past, the MPPP had evaded this important democratic provision by having all substantive discussions and decisions made at the General Purpose Committee of the MPPP, which is closed to the public on the ground that it was a committee of the Council. Although the General Purposes Committee was recently done away with, the MPPP Council meeting is still closed to the press and general public, which is against the provisions of the Local Government Act.
3. NO SALE OF MUNICIPAL LAND WITHOUT PUBLIC NOTICE: The MPPP should immediately introduce a rule that there should be no sale of Municipal land without public notification, to avoid unethical practices, conflicts of interest or unsound judgement by Municipal Councillors. This proposal was also made at last year’s public hearings hearings by various organisations on how to improve the performance and services of the MPPP.
4. MPPP PRESIDENT SHOULD HOLD REGULAR DIALOGUES WITH HAWKERS IN CHINESE: One of the problems faced by the Chinese hawkers in Penang and their associations is the language of communication during dialogues with the MPPP officers. To overcome this problem, the new MPPP President should ensure that he is available for frequent dialogues with hawkers and their associations whenever hawker problems arise, and the holding of such dialogues in the Chinese language. Furthermore, notices for hawkers from the MPPP should also be in the Chinese language for easy communication and the convenience of the Chinese hawkers, particularly in Georgetown.