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theSun | TUESDAY JUNE 30 2009 TELLING IT AS IT IS  15

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Councillors must
of a general order” which the lo- day issues faced by rate-payers,
cal authorities “shall as soon as they have good insights in solving
possible give effect”. Under the problems or improving living con-
Town and Country Planning Act ditions. If these are different from
of 1976, local councils also have to the directives of the state govern-
abide by planning policies of the ment it is their duty to make their
state planning committee which views known to the state leaders

play by the rules
is chaired by the mentri besar or – behind closed doors.
chief minister. Councillors do not have to take
As such, if a mentri besar or instructions from state govern-
chief minister has cause to doubt ments on specific matters. There
LocalCounsel the commitment of any councillor is also much room for them to
by Goh Ban Lee to implement state policies, there play very important roles and gain
is ground to revoke his or her prominence in the development
appointment. and manage-
USUALLY, it is the mentris besar Adding insult to injury, he claimed There were calls for the council- Questioning It is understandable ment of their
or chief ministers who abuse their that this was not much different lors, particularly Johari, to resign. the integrity of towns and cities.
positions by treating local councils from what Barisan Nasional had The most vocal was Jelutong Mem- the state gov- for political parties to More im-
as state departments. But out of done (Malaysiakini, May 21). He ber of Parliament Ooi Chuan Aun. ernment or its protect their members. After portantly, party
about 3,300 serving local council- also alleged that the state was al- But there were also arguments that leadership is all, without members, there members who
lors, there are bound to be those locating solid waste management their conduct was a “party matter”, just cause. would be no leaders. are not suitable
who are head-strong and quick to contracts to political parties — 40% meaning no resignation. It is under- to be councillors
vocalise in public their frustrations to PKR, 30% to PAS and 30% to DAP Although most councillors standable for are not neces-
or anger with state governments or (Malaysiakini, May 25). are nominated by political par- political parties to protect their sarily good only for arranging
state leaders. The tenure of councillors in ties, they are appointees of state members. After all, without mem- chairs and tables. They could be
What are the relationships be- Selangor ends this month. governments. If they question the bers, there would be no leaders. very effective state assemblymen
tween councillors and state govern- In Penang, eight councillors boy- integrity of the state government But blind protection of members or even members of Parliament.
ments? Should councillors who cast cotted the swearing-in ceremony of or mentri besar or chief minister, can damage the integrity of the They obviously have the courage
aspersions on the state government the new president of Seberang Perai it means they have no confidence parties and the government in and the ability to get their convic-
resign? Failing that, should their Municipal Council (MPSP) on June in the authority that appoints them. which they are part of. tions known to the public.
appointment be revoked? 4 to register a public protest against Ethically, they should resign. If a mentri besar or chief min- But until local councillors are
The conduct of some councillors the state government. In claiming If they do not, their appointment ister is unable or unwilling to sack elected, they cannot cast aspersions
recently has given cause to paying that the post was promised to the should be revoked. The Local Gov- recalcitrant councillors, he is on on the state government or mentri
some attention to these questions. PKR, their spokesman Johari Kas- ernment Act of 1976 provides that a slippery slope of losing control besar or chief minister and hold
In Petaling Jaya, City Councillor sim also questioned the state gov- the “seat of a councillor shall be- of the state administration and on to their posts. Code of ethics for
A. Thiruvenggadam charged that ernment’s adherence to its slogan come vacant ... if his appointment confidence of the people. Serious councillors?
the Selangor Government was mar- on competency, accountability and is revoked by the state authority”, loss of confidence leads to change
ginalising the Indian community. transparency (NSTonline, June 4). although it does not give any detail of government. Dr Goh Ban Lee is a retired academ-
for revocation. Local councillors, of course, ic interested in urban governance,
But the Act provides for the need not be just errand boys of housing and urban planning. Com-
letters
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state authority to give “directions state leaders. Dealing with every- ments: letters@thesundaily.com.

Ruby Lee remembered
DESPITE her hectic schedule of Red During functions, she always intro-
Crescent activities the late Datuk duced every member present to the
Paduka Ruby Lee also ensured that her invited guests and leaders. She is an
volunteers were also well cared for, a extraordinary leader who felt proud to
fact unknown to many. give credit where credit is due whether
Having joined the Malaysian Red it’s a big or small achievement.
Crescent Society in 1960, I, too, like Lee would even sacrifice her rest
hundreds of other young members, days to attend most of the activities
grew up under her disciplined and organised by members.
dynamic leadership. She encouraged healthy discussions
Senior members have fond memo- and debates on Red Crescent topics to
ries of Lee’s kindness, guidance and build a mature leadership. This paid
love showered on them during her 32 off as many members excelled as out-
years as secretary-general until she standing leaders in the society.
retired in 1996. The above are only a few of the
Whenever the members returned many interesting and unforgettable
from disaster relief duties, she always stories of Lee’s love for the energetic
had food on the table for everyone, members who worked tirelessly in any
which would include breakfast, lunch, given situation.
dinner, snacks and hot drinks available She devoted almost her entire life
24 hours. No one worked with a hungry to humanity through the Malaysian Red
stomach. Crescent Society and brought credit to
Members on late night duty were the movement and Malaysia abroad.
either transported home by Red Cres- Her teamwork paid off too. Madoff
cent vehicles or, if they chose, sleep For all these and other humble jailed
safely at MRCS headquarters. This also services and achievements, as one 150 years
brought relief to worried parents as who had worked with her at various
their children were away from home times, I regard Lee, who died at age 82 pg 17
for longer periods. on June 14, as mother of Malaysian Red
Immediately after every disaster Crescent Society.
relief duty, she would award letters of No question about it.
appreciation to members. This brought
great joy to them and made Lee a spe- S. T. Rajagopal
cial leader to be remembered. Kuala Lumpur

Many eager to lend a hand
I REFER to “Don’t hesitate to help” (Let- And last week, I was involved in a mi-
ters, June 26) and would like to say that nor accident with another motorcyclist.
there are still many in our society who While we were arguing in the middle of
are civilised and compassionate. These the road on whose fault it was, another
are the people who would go about motorcyclist got off his bike and helped
helping others without much thought us in removing our motorcycles which
about recognition. were blocking traffic.
I only wish more Malaysians would The funny thing was that we never
demonstrate such traits and our society got to extend our thanks to this chap
would indeed be a better place to live as we were still in the midst of our
in. argument.
Last month, I wrote about how a As for those passers-by who just
woman, a total stranger, had lent me stood and watched, there are many like
RM5 to pay for the registration fee at them just as there are also some who
the Seremban Hospital when she over- would willingly come forward to help.
heard me telling my mother that I had So, now you know how come there
forgotten to bring my wallet and that could be a jam on one side of the high-
we may have to wait a bit longer until way when the accident had occurred
my wife arrives at the hospital with my on the other side.
wallet. It may be a paltry sum and she
needn’t have done it but she did it out Michael Ng
of the goodness of her heart. Seremban