Arrests starting to become badge of honour amongst
some (all pics ©Arte_Ram/sxc.hu)
WEARING black, lighting a candle or simply putting up a tent is an offence that can get you arrested these days. The target of these arrests are Pakatan Rakyat (PR) politicians, lawyers, general workers and members of the public who simply want to make a statement.
While public outrage has been expressed time and again, few express surprise at the dubious actions or judgments that have occurred. Arrests are becoming so commonplace that getting arrested, it seems, is a badge of honour among some of my political colleagues. The perception seems to have spread to the public too, as I have friends who ask me when I am going to get arrested.
I understand the need to stand firm on one’s beliefs, but this cannot be done at the expense of other things that are equally, if not more, important.
Work, work, work
Frankly, many of us don’t have time to get arrested, as there are a hundred and one things that need to be fixed within government.
Customers go to councillors for help
Where do I start?
Work that requires the input of several departments can’t be coordinated online and is exceptionally slow. Customers cannot even get a proper update on the status of their application with the local council and invariably go to councillors to seek help.
Complaints from the public, about broken drains and licenses, come to the councillors because complaining officially does not work. The excuse that there aren’t enough personnel is sometimes given, but there are more than 1,700 workers employed by the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ).
I believe councillors should be given the power to sack an officer for each complaint that comes to them, but sadly, I am not thus empowered. Government officers are protected by a litany of bureaucracy. At best, they will get a black mark on their record.
Additionally, while trying to resolve issues during meetings, the council will come across matters that cannot be resolved at a single sitting because there are no policies governing it or because it is a financial burden. Such issues require further deliberation at sub-committee meetings where we look at the legal aspects and the impact the council’s decision will have on the community. I am part of three main committees and six sub-committees.
The abovementioned issues are just a small segment of the nonsense that goes on within the council. I can only surmise that the scenario is no different in other government departments.
As it is, I am attending meetings at the MBPJ two to three times a week in an official capacity to resolve issues. The public make their demand on a councillor’s time even after office hours or on weekends because that is the time when they are free to meet (the complainants have their day jobs, too).
The problem with DAP is their fighting spirit?
(©Arte_Ram/sxc.hu)“The problem with the DAP is that they have the fighting spirit, which was good when they needed to stand up for the rights of others. Now that they are in the government, they are still fighting. That is not good,” an architect friend says.
My point in highlighting this perception is to show that people are still calling PR the opposition, even though PR is ruling in four states.
Governance means management, responsibility and accountability. These are things that the public take for granted that the government of the day will resolve, because the politicians asked for the job and the public gave it to them.
I believe PR sometimes forgets that the sword cuts both ways. If PR cannot perform despite being given the mandate, public protests against the BN now may eventually be directed at the PR.