KUCHING, Oct 20: Local council elections should be held since Barisan Nasional (BN) has shown itself ineffective in keeping up with the development of the state capital, opined a state opposition leader yesterday.
In a press statement, PKR Bandar Kuching branch chairman Simon Siah Sy Jen highlighted news posted on the website of a English daily which reported Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) Kuching vice-chairman Peter Pui as saying roads, drainage and sewerage system of Kuching City are in dire need of improvement.
Simon pointed out that Barisan Nasional (BN) was shooting itself in the foot by saying this was due to Kuching being represented by the opposition in the State Legislative Assembly and Parliament.
“… [Pui] admitted that in his eight years sitting as one of the members of Kuching North City Hall (DBKU) advisory board, the basic infrastructure in Kuching has not grown at the same pace as the development of the city, resulting in flash floods and traffic jams.
“It is good to know that Pui has admitted that over the last eight years (when he was sitting as a council member), even though the chairmen of the councils in Kuching were all helm members appointed by BN, the councils have remained ineffective in catching up with the development happening in Kuching.”
Simon said this showed that the BN government be it at state or federal level has not taken the development of Kuching city seriously as the council’s funding is based on the allocation approved by the state or federal government.
“It is easy for Pui to put the blame on the opposition for their own failings; he ought to be reminded that the majority of the seats in the DBKU jurisdiction are currently held by BN state assemblymen, one of whom is our own Chief Minister, (Datuk Patinggi) Abang Zohari (Tun Openg), the elected representative for N.8 Satok. If even our Chief Minister (who has been an elected representative for Satok since 1981) has turned a blind eye to the poor infrastructure in Kuching, surely it is time for Pui to consider resigning his position and weighing his options.”
He added that since the local council, which is currently under the ministry helmed by Minister of Local Government and Housing and SUPP president Dr Sim Kui Hian, has been so ineffective, opposition coalition Pakatan Harapan would propose to the Sarawak government to take the initiative to be the first in Malaysia to implement local council elections every two years.
“If the Mayor or Chairman proves ineffective in catching up with the development in Kuching, then Kuchingites such as Pui himself can vote him out or even contest to be a Mayor himself. Kuching in fact, in its history, had a vibrant democratic local council wherein the Mayor was elected by the general public. Such elections will only be beneficial to the people at large as they are the ones closest to the people.
“The power of the councils ought to be decentralised so the public will be able to choose for themselves those who can best serve them on their daily complaints such as flash flood and traffic jams.” — DayakDaily