Thursday, February 09, 2006

"Main-main" trip or not, prove it!

The Sun reported today that the Selayang Councillor, A. Kohilan Pillay, defended that the Selayang Municipal Council's (MPS) trip to Mauritius and South Africa from 31 Jan to 8 Feb 2006 was not a "main-main" trip.

No one will believe it unless it can be proven by the MPS by producing the actual itinerary of the 9-day trip.

In fact, the explanation made by Kohilan had raised more questions than answered.

The Sun reported:-

"We paid RM5,500 each while the council paid the rest. We will have to re-pay the difference in the next few months," Kohilan said, adding that the repayment will be done by August when the term of all councillors expire.'
'He maintained that the trip, which cost RM10,500 each, will not cost ratepayers a sen."

There are 4 question arised from this statement. Firstly, why should the councillors pay from their own pockets for an official trip, if it was truly official? Secondly, if it was a private trip, since it was not paid by the authority, why should they be treated as official VIPs in Mauritius and South Afirica? Thirdly, does the council have the power under the Local Government Act, 1965 to pay in advance for the councilors' trip? Fourthly, does the council have the power to deduct the advance payment under the Local Government Act?

To prove that the trip was not "main-main", Kohilan was quoted to have said that,

"As the cleanliness committee chairman, I saw 12 public toilets and they were really clean."

Mind you, we had just been told by the Selangor Menteri Besar, Dato Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo, in August 2005, hardly 6 months ago, that Selangor had already become a developed state! Yet, we still have to send local councillors to visit public toilets in Mauritius and South Africa. Probably Khir Toyo had forgotten to include clealiness of public toilets as one of the indicators in the 'developed state' assessment.

Kohilan also said the main thing MPS learnt from South Africa was the incinerator project. Well, he had obviously forgotten that even the state government incinerator project in Broga had yet to take off the ground. How on earth that he could harbour the thought of having an incinerator in Selayang when the MPS's financial is already in a real bad shape?

He also said that,

"We also saw how they maintained a closed drainage system, unlike ours which is open."

Why did he need to go so far to know the system? He just need to drive less than 20 km from Selayang to Sierramas in Sungai Buloh or Bukit Jelutong in Shah Alam, it would have saved him the RM10,000-trip.

He further said MPS also learnt "invaluable lessons" in managing squatters and that:-

"Cape Town has a huge squatter problem, but they have adopted a tough stance for a squatter free city by 2020. They give you 24 hours and bulldoze your house. Here, we give them compensation."

Kohilan again forgot the fact that Khir Toyo had by now indiscriminately cleared more than 90% of the squatters in Selangor under the "zero squatters" policy and he was targetting the deadline in the first quarter of 2006 to achieve 100% clearance. We are more advanced than Cape Town in this respect! We should, instead, be teaching the Cape Town Municipal how to enforce draconian law to clear squatters.

This is yet another case of mismanagement by the local government.

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