Government to introduce plan to rid local councils of ‘Little Napoleons’, minister says

According to Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Rahman Dahlan, the move will see underperforming or long-time officers transferred to inter-state local councils and other state agencies. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng
According to Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Rahman Dahlan, the move will see underperforming or long-time officers transferred to inter-state local councils and other state agencies. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng

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PUTRAJAYA, Feb 24 — A transformation plan for local councils will be introduced by the government this year to rid councils of “Little Napoleons”.

According to Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Rahman Dahlan, the move will see underperforming or long-time officers transferred to inter-state local councils and other state agencies.

“We have over 150 local councils nationwide with varying degrees of responsibilities. 

“By allowing transfers among low ranking employees, they would be more motivated to provide better service,” he said after attending the 70th National Council for Local Government meeting yesterday.

“This would also enable officers who have been holding posts for a long period to make way for younger officers.”

Deputy minister Datuk Halimah Sadique said some officers tend to think they were more influential than their superiors and this could lead to ineffective governance. 

“Some officers who have been in office for a long time act as if they are more powerful than council presidents,” she said. 

Abdul Rahman said a commission would be set up in each state to monitor the effectiveness of local councils. 

The commission would be tasked to review the effectiveness of local councils and make necessary recommendations to the respective state governments on promotion, review and transfer of council officers. 

He said as local councils came under the purview of state governments, the federal government would ensure the transformation plan will not undermine the jurisdiction of state governments. 

“We want local councils to engage with stakeholders from all levels to ensure there is effective communication, sharing of information including providing detailed information on issues pertaining budgets,” he said.

He stressed it was essential for local councils to organise more town hall sessions to engage with the people. 

“Some councils are afraid to hold town hall sessions as they think they would be lambasted by the public,” he said. 

“This perception must change as the people these days are well informed and want accountability from local governments.

The transformation plan will also see a new centre of excellence being set up at the urban wellbeing, housing and local government training centre in Bukit Tinggi, and the introduction of an online application allowing the public to lodge complaints to local councils. 

The transformation plan was presented and approved by representatives of state governments at the meeting yesterday.

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