Categorised | Columns

Advice to a councillor

IN the world of politics, making a stand on an issue can sometimes lead to friendly advice and curious SMSes. This is one such story, with no morals attached to the telling of the tale, save those that readers conclude for themselves.

The advice

I had just finished a local council meeting when a senior government officer approached me. “Mak, I need to see you,” he said. So we walked to his office, making small talk along the way. When we were finally behind closed doors, the officer invited me to sit down and gave a heavy sigh before continuing the conversation with a somewhat embarrassed look.

“I don’t know how to say this to you, but I’ve been instructed to talk to you,” the officer said, slowly pulling out a letter from his blazer. “I’ve been asked to advise you not to make statements to the press on local council policies that you don’t agree with.”

He passed the letter to me and I read the contents. The letter was issued by a senior politician in the state. What was most quaint was that the letter had been sent to the senior officer’s home address and not to his address at the local council, therefore bypassing standard protocol.

There was also no specific mention of which statement I had previously issued that warranted the written letter and advice. “So, exactly which statement is it that I made that’s not agreeable?” I asked.

The officer himself was unsure, but speculated that it could be related to a development project that the Petaling Jaya City Council, known by its Malay acronym of MBPJ, recently gave approval for. I replied that I had not made any statement against the said development after the project had been approved.

We spent the next few minutes going through a list of other possible statements I had made that could potentially have been disagreeable to the politician. I explained the reasons for each public statement I had made so that the officer could report that he had already advised me, and would also be able to provide my response should the politician ask for it.

(Pic by mihow /

(Pic by mihow /

A day after the advice was issued, I received an SMS from the public that led those who had received it to speculate that the message was related to me. I leave it to the reader to interpret what they will of the SMS, which reads as follows:

“Kpd semua ahli majlis yang dihormati (selain daripada yang mengfitnah kakitangan MBPJ). Sebagai Ahli majlis kami tidak boleh duduk diam diam bila kebenaran dicabar oleh orang dan media semasa mengfiitnah 500 kakitangan kerajaan di MBPJ. Kakitangan MBPJ tidak ada peluang untuk membela diri atau membuat sidangan media mereka seringkali ditudah dan difitnah atas hal low cost yang menjatuhkan maruah mereka.

“Tambahan pula fitnah ini bermula kerana satu daripada kami mempunyai agenda tersendiri. Sebagai kepimpinan MBPJ kita bertanggungjawab mempertahankan hak kakitamgan mbpj atas fitnah dan tuduhan palsu dan menuntut kebenaraan dan keadilan.”

KW Mak admits that life as an MBPJ councillor is never dull. From “friendly advice” from top politicians in the state to unsolicited and defensive SMSes, he wonders what exactly is going on in Selangor. He believes that those who have nothing to hide should act in ways that are transparent and accountable. Resorting to indirect messages through letters that are sent to a private home, and anonymous SMSes only fuels speculation that those who think they have been wronged have little ground to stand on.

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9 Responses to “Advice to a councillor”

  1. Andrew I says:

    Why don’t you send some advice back to him telling him you’re a grown man who knows how to take care of himself?

    I would.

    • KW Mak says:

      @ Andrew I

      There’s no guarantee that my advice (whatever it may be) would be reported accurately back through a third party. Haha.

      • Andrew I says:

        Well, you could get someone to splice a certain part of Guns and Roses’ Mr. Brownstone, where Axl Rose asks a certain question, and send it to him. It’s very memorable because I’ve never quite heard it being asked like that before.

        Then there can be no confusion 🙂

        • Kong Kek Kuat says:


          Eh, tapi jangan lar… nanti metal rock, black rock, pink rock, green rock, nonsense rock dan lln kena ban pulak.

  2. Mikazuki says:

    Seems like you have people who would prefer you to shut up and not question their dubious decisions.

    But correct me if I’m wrong, ain’t it a councillor’s duty to scrutinize each and every decision that is made by the local council (in your case, MBPJ)? And if a councillor finds something amiss in a decision or in policies that will affect the residents, the councillor has the right to speak up, right? Or am I mistaken here?

    If this kind of “advice” still goes on, I see there’s still a lot to improve in this current state government. I hope they won’t make a mistake like the previous government and end up losing people’s trust.

    Ain’t envying your position but please persevere. We the residents in PJ need more people like you in the local council..

  3. Kong Kek Kuat says:

    “An SMS”? Panjangnyo SMS tu…

    Kpd semua ahli majlis yang dihormati (selain daripada “kepimpinan MBPJ yang bertanggungjawab mempertahankan hak kakitamgan mbpj atas fitnah dan tuduhan palsu”). Aku harap engko semue dapat bace ni. Sebagai 500 ahli majlis yang telah difitnah, silalah menyenaraikan nama-nama kamu kat sini.

    Sebagai langkah permulaan untuk menuntut kebenaran, menampillah ke depan dengan namamu.

    Kalo nak menuntut keadilan, silalah pi jumpa Parti Keadilan Rakyat.

  4. myfish says:

    Dear Mr Mak,

    If your statements to the press are truthful there is basis for your disagreement, why be intimidated by such attempts to resolve it privately, which in other words is called “covering up”.

    That is how nearly all government authorities been behaving for umpteen years, and it has become a culture that is the bane of this country now.They just cannot move away from such mentality for otherwise they just do not know how to act or react.

    You must not bow to such insidious demands or else you would also become another one of them.

    • Danny Leebob says:

      I suppose if there is a meeting with Mr Mak, the next thing will be a press conference to announce that there is a “misunderstanding”.(e.g. Johor school principal case). Thereafter, the real issue will be swept under the carpet and forgotten.

  5. Tiew says:

    Believing the senior politician is not from DAP

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