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Mixed reactions to KL state proposal

 

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Posted on 9 February 2015 – 09:36pm by The Sun Daily
Last updated on 9 February 2015 – 10:10pm

PETALING JAYA: The suggestion that Kuala Lumpur be administered as a state entity garnered mixed reactions from non-governmental organisations and politicians.

The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0) chairman Maria Chin Abdullah told theSun that she agreed with the suggestion by Research for Social Advancement (Refsa) chairman Liew Chin Tong as it will create better democratic governance.

Liew mooted the proposal at a forum on “Beyond Local Government: Making Kuala Lumpur a State” last Sunday.

“This will allow the public to have a say in the general development of KL, especially in decision-making and in areas that have weak check and balance such as transport development,” Maria said.

She added that it would also make the city’s administrators more accountable and transparent in terms of funding sources.

Currently, there is little information available on the KL City Hall (DBKL) website on how the administration spent those funds.

“Furthermore, there isn’t any check and balance in DBKL, no elected councillors to debate any decision made by mayor Datuk Ahmad Phesal Talib,” she added.

PKR vice-president Tian Chua said Liew’s suggestion is logical, given that KL is being run as an administrative body by an appointed civil service.

“Once it is a state, the mayor will be like a mentri besar; there will be a body with legislative power as well as a cabinet under him to assist him with the entire decision-making process.

“It will also allow all decisions made and budget tabled to be debated in the state assembly by its assemblymen; this will eventually reduce the heavy burden that its Members of Parliament currently have because the assemblymen can now take care of local affairs,” said Tian Chua.

DAP acting national chairman Tan Kok Wai said the suggestion of turning KL into a state is possible only if Pakatan Rakyat takes over Putrajaya.

“It is ‘legally and technically’ possible to turn the city’s status into a state by making amendments to the Federal Constitution and several other legislation,” he said.

Although there were individuals who agree with Liew, there were also some who did not fully agree with it.

“You do not need to create a new state to have accountability; all you need is just an elected mayor and elected city councillors,” lawyer Andrew Khoo said,

“The only reason the government has not created an elected mayor position is, it knows very well the public will elect a representative from the opposition to become the mayor and this is based on the current trend.

“However, even if it is so, it is not something rare or unusual for the mayor of a capital city to be from a different political party from the ruling government because this has been seen in other parts of the world,” Khoo told theSun.

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