Thursday, January 19, 2012

"Know Your MPPP Councillor" Campaign Summary Report

“Know Your MPPP Councillor” Campaign:  Summary Report

The “Know Your Councillor” campaign was initiated by several civil society members of Penang. The objectives of the campaign are:

  • -          to raise awareness on local democracy and local election among ratepayers in the State.
  • -          to enhance good governance, competency, accountability and transparency of councillors and local government.
  • -          to assist councillors to exercise good governance and  ensuring effective performance of their responsibilities.
  • -          to help ratepayers understand the roles and functions of councillors.

Questionaires were emailed to all the 23 MPPP councillors on 23 Dec 2011. The councillors were asked 3 questions:
  1.       Please list your 3 major accomplishments as a MPPP Councillor for 2011
  2.       If you are reappointed as a councillor for 2012, what will be your 3 main goals for the year?
  3.       If you agree to be reappointed for 2012, please state why you should be reappointed?
  4.    Councillors were given fourteen days to respond to the questionnaire. They were also informed that their responses to the questionnaire will be made public.

Summary of responses:
A total of 17 responses were received from the 23 questionaires sent out. The breakdown of the respondents by political parties and organizations is shown in the table below:
No. of councillors
No. responded
Chambers of Commerce

The following 17 councillors responded to the questionaire:
Teh Lai Heng
Mohd. Sabri
Mohd. Yusoff
Dr. Lim Mah Hui
Harvinder Singh
Tan Seng Keat
Iszuree Ibrahim

Gooi Seong Kin
Francis Joseph

Lim Siew Khim
Felix Ooi

Tay Leong Seng
Mohd. Taufik

Prem Anand
Hj. Mohd. Rashid

Tan Hun Wooi

Ong Ah Teong

Responses were not received from the 6 councillors below:
Chamber of Commerce
Zulkifli Mohd. Noor
Ramlah Bee
Tahir Jalaluddin
Mohd. Zahry
Lim Cheng Hoe

Sin Kok Siang

Many of the accomplishments listed by the councillors follow the lines of the key initiatives of the Penang State government, ie. Cleaner, Greener Penang and the Competency, Accountability, Transparency (CAT) mantra. The accomplishments listed by the councillors can generally be categorized under 4 main areas:
  1.       Cleaner, Greener Penang and public spaces.
  2.       Systems and procedural improvements.
  3.       Alleviating traffic congestion.
  4.       Projects for the lower income and marginalized groups including the disabled.

Several notable accomplishments reported by the councillors were:
  • -          Creation and upgrade of recreational areas and parks eg. Taman Manggis, Taman Sunway Tunas and the Rifle Range Linear Park.
  • -         
  • Installation of pilot solar/LED lighting in public park in Sunway Tunas
  • -          Installation of a bio-regenerating composting machine in Bayan Baru
  • -          Enforcement and extension of vehicles clamping and towing to alleviate traffic congestion problems
  • -          Improving MPPP’s budgeting process
  • -          Improving and reducing approval cycle time of trade license applications
  • -          Providing checks and balances to MPPP’s policy decisions and directions without fear or favor
  • -          Upgrading and maintaining facilities of low cost housing areas  eg. Taman Tun Sardon, Rifle Range, Paya Terubong.
  • -          Upgrading infrastructure in several villages in Georgetown eg. Dato Keramat, Perak Road , Air Itam and within the UNESCO Heritage Zone.
  • -          Improving and upgrading of wet markets

Conclusion and recommendations:
It is believed that this “Know Your Councillor” campaign is the first such exercise ever carried out in Penang. The accomplishments listed by the councillors were understandably diverse. This is because they all have diverse backgrounds, skills and competencies. Each councillor has his or her own strengths. While some have experience in planning and strategizing policies, others have strengths in working with grassroots and solving day-to-day problems.

Municipal councillors are seen by ratepayers as the first line of access to the local government. Ratepayers will continue to expect councillors to solve their daily problems like licensing, traffic, garbage, etc.  While some progress has been made in improving the delivery system and participatory process of MPPP, there is still much room for improvement. Councillors are expected to serve the interests of ratepayers. As such, there should be more checks and balances without fear or favor in the decisions of the various committees they sit on.

Compiled and prepared by:
Tan Seng Hai
8 Jan 2012.

Participating NGOs:
-          SUARAM Penang
-          Sembang Forum
-          Coalition for Good Governance, Penang


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