THE Coalition of Good Governance (CGG) congratulates the Selangor government for maintaining the 25% civil society quota in the appointment of local councillors.
However, we are concerned that there may be a repeat of last year’s incident where many non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and professional councillors were left off the list. They were only confirmed much later after some intense lobbying. Furthermore, it was also observed that some of the NGO and professional appointees were actually political party members with party positions.
It is also worrying to note that for the third time round, there was no consultation with civil society on the councillors’ appointment.
CGG is therefore keen to see a spirit of openness and consultation with civil society in the appointment of capable councillors. CGG strongly urges the Selangor government to strictly follow this allocation and to appoint credible NGOs and professionals with proven track record and expertise in their fields.
Any appointment, removal or transfer of NGO/professional councillors must be based on clear and transparent criteria fairly and reasonably applied. When the CGG was formed in 2008 with 26 member organisations, we recommended a set of criteria for the appointment of councillors. This was presented to the public as well as to the Selangor government.
In brief, the recommendations are:
- Appointment of councillors must be a participatory process.
- Representation to reflect the diversity of interests in society.
- Councillors should be local residents.
- All appointees should have the measures of competence, merit and integrity.
- In adhering to the principles of transparency, accountability and open consultation:
- Councillors should prepare timely annual reports related to their portfolios. These reports should be published and made publicly available. Citizens may petition the state government for termination of any councillor whose performance is unsatisfactory.
(a) each state government should list and publish its criteria for membership in local authorities. Local residents should be invited to nominate suitable candidates.
(b) the list of nominees and their curriculum vitae should be publicly displayed.
(c) short-listed candidates should speak at public forums so as to enable interaction with local residents. Public opinion should be taken into consideration by the state government in making the final appointments.
While the Selangor government has yet to take concrete steps to introduce local council elections, it can demonstrate more openness by including civil society in its appointment process.
We strongly urge Ronnie Liu, the exco for local government and research, to meet with CGG to discuss and screen the current appointment of NGO councillors in the interest of transparency and accountability.
Coalition for Good Governance