THE 3rd VOTE

345

By Sarawakian

The 3rd vote. It seems that we are all longing a return for the ability to vote for those who sit in our local government. It has been time too long and many would have forgotten the relevance of having a 3rd vote.

We already have the chance to vote for who would be our Member of Parliament at National Level and who would be our State Assembly Person. The 3rd layer, until today has always been about the government of the day appointing the positions.

As the community who live and breathe within the area, we have no say about whom we would like to be our councilors as well as the Mayor or Yang Di-Pertua (YDP). It is almost ridiculous to hear excuses as to why the Local Council Elections cannot be held. It claims of high costs as well a possible ethnic hijack. These two reasons have no bearing on how we choose. We would normally choose based on the capability to act for the best of the community.

More often than not, the candidates bidding to be councilors and the YDP or Mayor or even the Ketua Kampung or Tuai Rumah must be those who have a responsibility to where they live and work. They have an obligation to lead their home. Let us look around today at the many grumblings we may have within Subang Jaya.

We should also take to task both the current State Assembly Person and our Member of Parliament for not pushing for this to happen. While of course they may think that this a national issue, we beg to differ. More than 10 years ago, many rallied to demand for free and fair elections. Since the first in 2007, there was a total of 5 until 9th May 2018 happened. It was a triumph of the impossible. So, do not give us the excuse that more thoughts are needed. Having a local council election should begin in each state as soon as possible.

The Local Government is covered by the Local Government Act 1976 for Peninsula Malaysia whilst in Sabah it is the Local Government Ordinance 1961 and Sarawak with the Local Authorities Ordinance 1948 and 1996. Sarawak even had the Local Government Elections Ordinance 1948. However, when reading through, you would see each stating that the composition of the Local Government be appointed by the head of state.

It would be an interesting move to see the Local Government helmed by the councilors and YDP chosen by the community. After all, we do pay a sum for assessment tax. This tax collected by the local councils is to pay for the development and maintenance of local infrastructure and services.  Today, we still find the surrounds of where we live in not improving. But it is getting even worse. If you look around you would find that basic infrastructure is not even up to the standards required for a progressive township.

Cleanliness of our parks, roads and back lanes within the housing areas as well as the commercial areas leaves much to be desired. We see drains still clogged and effluents getting thicker. Some may not even flow. It is of no surprise as to why Subang Jaya still has high Dengue cases. We wonder as to why the sanitation and drainage within commercial areas and housing areas are not well maintained. Enforcement is also lacking when it comes to drains.

Public transport facilities are also ill coordinated between the Smart Selangor and Prasarana network. We still see bus poles. If you look at the ugly bus stop in front of the MPSJ building (near Petronas Petrol Station) you would wonder the irresponsible use of our tax money. Look at the gradient of the slope into the shelter and its general condition. Horrendous.

Pedestrian pathways are still not being looked at and worked on. What we see are just sample show offs. The size of each pathway is at times even just for one person to pass carrying a basket of market items. Even cycling paths are just done without much thought. It is akin to having knee jerk reactions to look good. I believe the politicians and appointed councilors should also take the blame. We have had enough of the incessant excuses. What we want to see is affirmative action.

The lighting of back lanes and the many many Ringgit worth CCTV project is suddenly forgotten. Whatever happened to a safer Subang Jaya? Instead we see a sudden rise in applications to create new commercial projects and some would include the communication stations and towers near residential areas. We suddenly saw a knee jerk reaction by the authorities to do an enforcement exercise. It is good that they would look at approved foreign workers, grease traps and disposal, refuse bins, illegal building and preparation and/or washing at drain or road area.  However, one item caught my attention. It states that the maximum number of stalls in a corner lot is 5 whilst for an intermediate lot, it would be 2 stalls.

Whilst we laud their zeal in enforcement, let us hope they progress but one wonders if they are serious about it. For instance, there is no commonality in direction in line with the advocating of being environmentally friendly. No segregation and no enforcement for recycling or composting. Also, having 5 stalls would mean maybe having just a wan tan mee, pan mee, vegetarian, chicken rice and chap fan stall in each kopitiam. There goes a spot for variety. Popular shops like MeiSek, De Happy Land, Yong Sheng, Le Kwang, USJ2, New Apollos, Park Way, Nanking, New Sing Kong and Kwai Sun for example would definitely be affected with such a rule.

The 3rd vote would allow for the return of power to the people living in the area and paying assessment tax or whatever taxes or licenses. We need a vast improvement in our public infrastructure improvement leading to safer and better standard of living. We just had seen how MPSJ had feedback sessions for their 2020 budget. For a huge council, it is already October when dialogue sessions on the MPSJ Budget 2020 were done on 21st and 22nd September 2019. What do you think of this? Oh yes, did you also notice that the MPSJ Carpark building entrance has not been accessible on many weekend evenings from Jalan SS15/4? Is this the same for weekdays? One wonders if this is how MPSJ manages their carpark complex?

We need the 3rd vote and there are many pluses than minuses. Appointments are not going to work as those appointed would tend to feel indebted or obligated to those who appointed them rather than being beholden to the cause of accountability. A check and balance is the missing puzzle at this last layer. The 3rd Vote provides.