by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Friday, 28.2.92:
National Council for Local Government should have considered how the local governments could be made more open, democratic, efficient, accountable and responsible
After the 37th National Council for Local Government meeting yesterday, the Minister for Housing and Local Government, Dr. Ting Chew Peh, announced increases of allowances for local councillors effective January 1.
Councillors in local authorities with less than $5 million yearly revenue would receive a fixed monthly allowance of between $200 and $400, while their meeting allowance would be between $20 and $40 and not more than $200 every month.
For those with more than $5 million yearly revenue, their fixed monthly allowance would be between $400 and $700. Meeting allowance for them is between $40 and $60 and not more than $300 each month.
The beneficiaries of such increase will be the local UMNO, MCA, Gerakan and MIC officials, for at present, the appointment of local councillors throughout the country have been monopolised by the Barisan Nasional component parties, which treat this as a ‘jobs for the boys’.
Instead of approving the increase in the allowances for the local councillors, the National Council for Local Government should have considered how the local governments could be made more open, democratic, efficient, responsible and accountable to the ratepayers.
At present, the UMNO, MCA, Gerakan and MIC local councillors are not answerable or responsible to the ratepayers, but to their ‘political masters’ who will decide on their re-appointments. As a result, these local councillors do not serve the ratepayers but their ‘political masters’.
If this system is not charged, there is no justification whatsoever for the increase of allowances for local councillors.
Even the limitation of terms for local councillors will not benefit the ratepayers. The rationale for this six-year rule for local councillors is not to open up opportunities for distinguished individuals to serve in local councils, but because of the intense competition in UMNO, MCA, Gerakan and MIC to be nominated local government councillors – or a ‘monks many but porridge little’ situation!