Instead of MPs in DBKL, lawyer moots advisory committee, pending third vote

Senior lawyer and expert on local government law Derek Fernandez suggested that an independent committee be formed under the Federal Territories Ministry. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
Senior lawyer and expert on local government law Derek Fernandez suggested that an independent committee be formed under the Federal Territories Ministry. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUALA LUMPUR, July 14 — Kuala Lumpur MPs should not be appointed into the City Hall (DBKL) board, as this would result in a conflict of interest, with the mayor being pressured to heed their demands.

Senior lawyer and expert on local government law Derek Fernandez suggested that an independent committee be formed under the Federal Territories Ministry instead, taking up an advisory role to the minister, who holds the power to direct policies onto DBKL.

“However commendable those intentions may be, the correct mechanism however to achieve this, in my opinion, is to form an advisory committee under the Federal Territories minister.

“Or even an executive committee to the Federal Territories pending the local government elections, so that issues of general policy or grievances in the Federal Territories can be addressed,” he told Malay Mail.

He added that the job of an advisory committee is different from the mandates given to the MPs when they were elected.

“Under the law, the chairman of the advisory board is the mayor who is entitled to overrule the board on any matter provided the reasons are recorded in the minutes.

“If MPs of the ruling coalition were to sit, then the mayor would from an administrative standpoint, be unable to exercise this power, even if he has valid grounds for doing so,” Derek said

According to him, if the mayor still tries to do so legally, he or she would find himself or herself embroiled in an unhealthy political standoff.  

Derek pointed out that this would then be no different than placing political appointees to company boards.

He said that to ensure taxpayers’ representation in DBKL, local council elections must be urgently held, for the mayor’s post, and to elect local councillors.

“First of all DBKL must be brought under the Local Government Act 1976. DBKL should be treated the same way as any local authority.

“No need to wait. Have it now immediately. There is no more pending,” adding that PH should work on amending the law to allow local council elections to take place.

Derek said that the MPs can participate in DBKL’s meetings as invitees or guests, but not advisory board members, a practice observed in the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ).

In an interview with Malay Mail yesterday, Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh said that the voice of Kuala Lumpur residents will be heard with the appointment of their elected MPs into DBKL.

Yeoh said the move would be the best solution to the “taxation without representation” problem, while waiting for local elections to be implemented in the next few years.

Yeoh said the move would be the best solution to the “taxation without representation” problem, while waiting for local elections to be implemented in the next few years.

Currently, all the 10 KL MPs, including the three of them, are from PH. Titiwangsa MP Rina Harun and Seputeh MP Teresa Kok have been appointed to the Cabinet.

Yeoh’s remark came just before Federal Territories Minister Khalid Samad was reported saying that KL MPs will be appointed into the DBKL advisory board.

This comes after seven Barisan Nasional political appointees quit their posts in the board yesterday, following MIC’s S. Rajah who had quit prior to the general election.

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