Governments and New Year Wishes

By Wong Chen

On 19th December 2022, I took an oath in Parliament to serve Malaysia, defend and uphold democracy and the Federal Constitution. With the signing of my oath, my third term as your Member of Parliament has officially begun.

I have been an MP for almost 10 years now. Despite efforts to inform the public, a vast majority of the population still do not understand the duties and responsibilities of an MP. On an almost daily basis, I get calls, emails and messages from constituents about a variety of views and complaints. These views and complaints are invariably misdirected to my officers and I. Most are local government and neighbourhood concerns and issues. Complaints on water supply disruptions are also numerous but many are unaware that water supply and management is strictly a state government matter to be handled by the ADUNs. As such my officers and I spend a lot of our time re-directing these complaints to either the councillors or the ADUNs.

As my new term begins, I want to take this opportunity to inform or remind my constituents of the types of governments and the specific roles of councillors, ADUNs and MPs. Hopefully this information can help to resolve communication issues, set expectations and make our services to the public more accountable.

Let us begin with the concept and levels of β€œthe government”. Firstly, you need to understand that there is not one all-powerful government but there are in fact, three types of government. There are (a) local government, and for most Subang folks that local government is called MBSJ (Majlis Bandaraya Subang Jaya) and are represented by appointed Councillors; (b) state government, in Subang, the Selangor state government seats are Subang Jaya and Kinrara, and these are represented by elected the ADUNs; and (c) the federal government, for the Parliament seat of Subang, I deal with all federal government matters.

What are the works and duties of the respective governments? Who is responsible and accountable for what matters?

The local government looks after, including but not limited to, local business licenses, development approvals, traffic flow, public cleanliness, roads, drains, lighting, landscaping, garbage collection, and upkeep of MBSJ properties. Typical complaints such as public cleanliness, garbage, potholes, clogged drains should be directed to the local councillors.

Subang is divided into 10 zones, with 10 local councillors. Β These councillors are not elected but appointed by the ruling political parties that control the Selangor state government. In Subang; using a negotiated formula, Amanah, DAP and PKR appoints their respective councillors to serve. Despite being the MP, I actually have no say whatsoever in the appointments of the current crop of councillors serving in MBSJ. The political appointment system is obviously not ideal hence there has been constant public calls for local government elections.

 

The state government and by extension, the elected ADUNs have broadly, three large scopes of duties. In Subang the ADUNs are YB Michelle Ng for Subang Jaya and is YB Ng Sze Han for Kinrara. The state government duties are to (a) manage religious matters; (b) manage the local governments; and (c) manage all land related matters, including but not limited to land planning and developments, water, forest, and mineral rights. Perennial complaints of controversial topics such as highways, forest development, water disruptions and sand mining should be directed to the ADUNs so that they can take the matter up with the state government run by the Menteri Besar and EXCOs.

 

As for my role and responsibilities as your MP, I deal with all federal government matters. So, if you have any complaints or views on any matter to do with the 20 plus federal government ministries, the buck stops at my office. The duties of an MP can be divided into three broad areas; (a) to legislate national laws, (b) to develop and enhance public policy, and (c) to deliberate and pass the national budget. For legislating national laws, MPs should be equipped to understand laws and be able to debate the same in Parliament. On the public policy work side, MPs should serve in select committees and focus on national issues such as the economy, trade, social welfare, human rights, governance and international relations. On the national budget, since the bulk of tax payers’ money go to the federal government, the MPs main job is to ensure wise and sustainable budget allocations to develop the economy and bring about greater social equality and at the same time, fight corruption and wastage of public funds.

 

I hope the above information clarifies the roles and responsibilities of your councillors, ADUNs and mine. Lastly, in terms of community funding for 2023, we have yet to be advised by the federal government what allocations will be made available to us. As such, as I write this article on the 31st of December 2022, I cannot yet inform you with certainty how much money we will have for Subang next year. Assuming we receive the same allocation as 2022, my office will continue to focus our allocations 50% on education and schools, 30% on associations and 20% on welfare and emergencies.

On that note, I want to wish all a productive, successful and Happy New Year!