Local councils must live up to taxpayers’ expectations — Penguang

Penguang (fifth from left) presenting the 'Best Financial Advisor Award' to Julaihi. Yii is fourth from left.

By Jaythaleela K

MIRI, Feb 26: As taxpayers are now more demanding and want value for their money, local authorities must change the way they operate, said Assistant Minister for Local Government Datu Dr Penguang Manggil.

“Local authorities have to observe the highest level of customer delivery. We need to change the old working mentality to ‘implementing what the people want’ mentality.

“Failing to do so will create a bad impression of the entire government machinery,” he said at Miri City Council (MCC)’s appreciation night here yesterday.

He told the 100-odd people present that ratepayers now expect more than before in terms of quality, variety, benefits, flexibility and services.

Penguang also spoke of the need for local authorities to not only focus on hygiene and garbage collection but also to help woo domestic and foreign investments to, among others, increase their income and be independent of the government for funds.

“Councils should also ensure financial management efficiency at all times and always strive to find new sources of income, as it is important that local authorities are financially independent and are capable of implementing projects or programmes that will benefit the people under their respective jurisdiction,” he said.

On MCC, Penguang commended the council for being able to collect RM43.60 million or 90.3 per cent of the estimated assessment rate last year.

In his speech, MCC mayor Adam Yii believed the various initiatives implemented by the council had benefitted the people. This includes ‘Visit Miri Year 2018’, Miri International Tourism Photography Competition, Miri City’s Mayor Awards, setting up of Rondaan Teams, ‘no plastic bag’ campaign, the setting up of Resident Committees, MCC Family Day and active involvement in activities listed on the Sarawak Tourism Calendar of Events.

Yii said last year, MCC managed to recover RM7.61 million or 54.18 per cent of the outstanding assessment rates.

“The rate of recovery is comparatively much higher than in 2017, where the recovery rate then was 40.22 per cent, and is the highest among 29 local councils in Sarawak,” he said.

Last year, the council recorded 67,237 properties in its valuation list. This shows that there is a growth of 3.3 per cent on property development in the city in spite of the current economic situation.

“In chartering our vision for the next decade, we are committed to transforming Miri City into a vibrant and most liveable resort city,” assured Yii.

One of the highlights of the gathering was the presentation of six awards: Best Financial Advisor (Miri deputy mayor Julaihi Mohammad), Strategic Management (Peter Chia), Balanced Scoreboard Champion (Siti Suhana Rosli), Culture Change (Enforcement Section and IT Unit), Innovation and Creativity (Rating and Valuation Department) and Talent (Treasury Department). — DayakDaily