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14 theSun | TUESDAY AUGUST 11 2009

speak up!

IT IS a sad reflection of the fragility individual councillors do not have


of Malaysian society that a seizure
of 70 cans and bottles of beer worth
RM620 by local council officers
quickly became a controversial
religious issue. It even led to an
open quarrel between PAS and
Local authorities the power to direct the officers to
take actions against any party or to
stop taking actions.
With the possible exception of
Kuala Lumpur City Hall and Putra-
jaya Corporation, Shah Alam City

must stick to the rules


DAP, two of three partners in the Council, like all local authorities,
Selangor state government. could do with more employees
It has also reinforced the mis- in ensuring that the city is clean,
conception that the Chinese are attractive, efficient and safe.
only concerned about drinking The enforcement officers
alcohol, besides eating pork and should be more concerned about
gambling because some Chinese the numerous cases of non-com-
leaders felt compelled to voice their pliance with municipal rules and
views publicly. It is important that remained unpaid at local authorities being consequences of unauthorised standards and help the police to
they also voice out about issues the end of February or sued for compensation. decisions or actions. reduce crime.
such as integrity, rule of law and August each year. It also For example, in The seized beer has been re- In this regard, Selangor Men-
the environment. declared as illegal the October 2005, the High turned to the convenience store, tri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid
The sad fact is that the beer charging of a penalty of Court ruled that the reportedly with an apology. If Liu Ibrahim and his colleagues should
episode need not have happened 10% on the accumulated then Petaling Jaya had personally directed the officers be applauded for deciding on self-
as the local authority did and still arrears continuously. Municipal Council had to return the beer, he has over- regulation in the beer controversy.
does not have power over sale of Local authorities are to pay compensation to stepped his boundaries although Local authorities should only be
the mild alcoholic drink. Unfor- not sovereign bodies. the property owners of he might have saved the city coun- concerned about municipal issues.
tunately, the preoccupation with Their power is limited Taman Desaria off Jalan cil from being sued. However, it is They should let other regulatory
religious sensitivities has resulted to what is given to them Kelang Lama for not fol- important to note the view of Shah authorities enforce religious and
in little scrutiny of the local authori- by the state and federal LocalCounsel lowing the development Alam Mayor Mazalan Mohd Noor. moral laws (see facing page).
ties despite the fact it was the illegal governments. by Goh Ban Lee
control procedure when Quote: “The exco member (Liu) had More specifically, they should leave
actions of municipal enforcement Furthermore, unlike it allowed the building acted in accordance with the law God to enforce His laws. There
officers that started the imbroglio. their counterparts in of two blocks of low-cost and he has the right to correct any has been too much destruction of
The power of local authorities is the Scandinavian countries where housing and some stalls. No figure of our mistakes.” (Aug 4) property and lives when men and
not limitless, even in handling as- the local government can do eve- has been agreed to, but it could be Liu should see to it that those increasingly women are too dog-
sessment, the single biggest source rything except those specifically in millions of ringgit. responsible for the beer seizure matic in doing the work of God.
of their income. For example, in forbidden, Malaysian local authori- All local authorities should are held accountable for their
July last year the Federal Court held ties, following the British tradition, spend some money to cast the misconduct. If the enforcement
that the Klang Municipal Council can do things that only they are above episode in steel sheets and officers were directed by some Dr Goh Ban Lee is a retired academ-
was wrong to charge a property specifically allowed to do. Doing hang them on prominent places councillors as reported, the latter ic interested in urban governance,
owner a penalty calculated at the things not authorised can render to remind all officers and council- should be sacked and the officers housing and urban planning. Com-
rate of 10% of the assessment that the decisions to be nullified and the lors about the rule of law and the reprimanded. As a general rule, ments: letters@thesundaily.com.

letters
letters@thesundaily.com
Where are all the
Klang Sentral proves critics right male teachers?
WHILE the Selangor executive councillor in charge and the higher cost of operating at Klang Sentral. Bus RECENT reports that there will be ers are unfavourable, compared with
of infrastructure was debating beer and politics in operators complained about the inconvenience and no more male teachers in 20 years their counterparts in the administra-
Shah Alam last week, one part of the controversial the higher cost of operating at Klang Sentral. And is of grave concern. In the 60s when tive and diplomatic service (PTD).
Klang Sentral terminal closed its doors. passengers complained about the inconvenience I joined the teaching profession, we Some graduate teachers have been
It only took nine months for Terminal B to shut and the extra out-of-pocket costs. were fired with a sense of commit- on Grade D41 for more than 10 years
down. And to many businesses, public transport We at Transit (The Association for the Improve- ment, dedication and passion, and it and not been promoted, while their
operators and bus users, it was not unexpected. ment of Mass Transit) complained about an urban was a vocation, but not anymore. As friends in the PTD are promoted
When it was announced late last year that the planning policy that seemed dedicated to moving Bright pointed out by my fellow teachers, within five years. The situation has
Selangor government would go ahead with the re- public transport terminals to suburban areas – in- lights now many enter the teaching profes- reached such a stage that male
location of buses to Klang Sentral, a great hue and stead of making them better enforced and more sion only when they cannot find other teachers lack the morale and many
cry was raised. efficient. But our appeal, like the others, fell on deaf amid jobs, a sad reflection on a profession adopt a lackadaisical attitude to this
Traders complained about the loss of business ears. And our suggestions, like the others, fell on economic that was once revered. once noble profession.
deaf ears. gloom The current ratio of 72 females to With the escalating cost of living,
Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim stepped in 28 males for every 100 teachers is why should good candidates enter
when the political tension was high, ordered that pg 16 a disturbing trend for the country’s the teaching profession when there
the terminal be opened, and then stepped out of the education system. Why has the are other better paying professions?
picture. But the controversy was never resolved. teaching profession become so Even the dedicated teachers have
Nine months later, the intercity and express unattractive to males? I had noticed voiced their concern on this issue and
bus operators seem to be tolerating Klang Sentral this development more than 20 years have said that they will discourage
Terminal A, but Terminal B is a ghost town. Wawasan ago and the prime reason is that, and their children or anyone who is keen
Sutera bus company never shifted to Klang Sentral. with no offence to my female coun- to become a teacher. Many male
Cityliner shifted but then moved back to the old terparts, most of the workload now teachers have resigned and migrated
terminal. And RapidKL was the final bus company to falls on male teachers. to other countries.
give up and move back to the North Klang terminal. Male teachers, besides their In countries such as Singapore and
What makes this even more unfortunate is that routine work, are expected to Japan, the teaching profession is con-
the old Klang North bus terminal – which was urban, undertake additional tasks such sidered on par with other schemes of
centrally-located and very effective – has not been as heading uniformed units, sports services and attracts the best and the
reopened. activities, disciplinary duties and as brightest, not in Malaysia anymore.
So the streets of Klang are still a mess, with examination controllers. Most of the The heavy workload of many male
buses blocking the streets around the old terminal. sports activities are delegated to teachers has also taken a toll on their
Despite the wish for the Klang Local Council and male teachers, which among others health. Many now complain of stress
Selangor government to build up a new piece of include organising the school’s an- and other ailments.
infrastructure, the old terminal has shown itself to nual sports meet and other sporting It is time that the government
be tough to replace. activities. I know of a dedicated male looks into the woes of the teaching
Will the Klang Sentral terminal become the Paka- teacher who spent 30 years in the profession and find ways of inspiring
tan government’s first white elephant? field of sports and only three years in more males to enter the profession.
the classroom.
Moaz Yusuf Ahmad Opportunities for promotion for James Gonzales
Petaling Jaya teachers, especially graduate teach- Kuala Lumpur

Justice delayed is justice denied


IT IS a timely call by Chief Justice Tun Zaki Azmi justice to look into these particular matters. The Ram, Court of Appeal judge (now Federal Court
that frequent postponements of cases in the High Court in Perak seems to top the table in the judge) of having made judicial pronouncements
High Court and subordinate courts have become northern region. I don’t understand why. Even which contain guidelines on postponements of
a perennial problem. grounds of judgment from the High Court in Ipoh cases. I’m certain that these guidelines were
Many a time, cases in the High Court and sub- have taken more than 90 days. made to protect the sanctity of the judiciary. With
ordinate courts (magistrate and sessions courts) Yet again, I wonder whether the judicial this in mind, I urge Zaki to admonish and look into
have been postponed without valid reasons. commissioners who are going to be fully-fledged the postponements of cases seriously by these
From my observations, cases are frequently High Court judges are competent enough to judicial officers in the High Court as well as the
postponed in the High Court when judicial com- handle these legal matters competently. subordinate courts for “Justice delayed is justice
missioners are assigned to hear these cases. Even Zaki must seriously look at the professionalism denied”.
to the extent, lawyers are given liberty by these of these judicial commissioners. He even men-
judicial commissioners to postpone a case at tioned the names of the late chief judge of Malaya, Vijay Shanmugam
the very end of the day. I strongly urge the chief Tan Sri Hashim Yeop Sani, and Datuk Gopal Sri Taiping