Not doing wonders for property value
(© Robyn Gallagher / Flickr) IN a previous column, a reader requested for help to remove rubbish in Section 5, Petaling Jaya. The rubbish had not been removed for some time.
Such requests are not isolated. Other complaints are about pot holes or illegally parked cars outside commercial areas like Phileo Damansara in Section 16, Petaling Jaya. These complaints are a daily routine for a councillor.
Notwithstanding the tediousness of having to deal with these public complaints, such requests to a councillor for help show the council’s inability to provide an efficient and accountable service.
It is a simple matter for these issues to be resolved. All the council needs to do really is have a proper inventory of the things that need maintaining and a schedule for when these things should be done. Patching roads, repairing drains and trimming trees are but simple matters that would benefit from such a schedule.
Certain issues should be simple to resolve
(© woodleywonderworks / Flickr)
But there is no inventory and no schedule. When the councillors raise the issue of getting an inventory done, we are advised that the work needs to be done by consultants since the council does not have the expertise. When we meet these consultants, we find out that a project’s job scope is prepared by the consultant when they should be done by the council officers.
For work processes like business license applications, there are standard operating procedures. But monitoring to ensure the work is done is lacking. Plus, the feedback system is totally non-transparent.
There are plenty of excuses. Officers complain that department heads are slow in giving their authorising signature. Department heads complain that they do not have enough staff to get everything done. There is also a lack of coordination between the departments. All it takes is one department to hold up the paperwork to prevent an application from being processed.
Whatever the reasons for non-performance however, these are issues that the department heads need to resolve. Failing which, the department heads should be held accountable.
However, the sacking or transfer of department heads from one local council to another requires the state government’s approval and that has been slow in coming. Only recently were the engineering department heads from all local councils transferred from one local council to another.
City council — a game of musical chairs for our
council officers (© rick / Flickr)
Will these transfers improve the system? Only time will tell, since it is merely a play of musical chairs and not an actual revamp of the system. Besides, I have been given friendly reminders that politicians and councillors come and go but the council officers are here to stay.
The threats and what-not aside, so long as the present system remains, the public will still have to approach a politician to help solve their problems. Sadly, this also means that the people will have to continue begging for their rights — for that is essentially what everyone does when they go to a politician for help.
MBPJ councillor KW Mak is tired of listening to complaints, just as the people must be tired of complaining.
Read previous Ampersand columns
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