Address to the Full Council Meeting of MPPP
December 19 2012
By Dr Lim Mah Hui

Making Information Accessible to the Public

Selamat pagi and selamat sejahtera. Dato YDP Patahiyah, Pengarah2 dan Ketua2 Jabatan, Ahli2 Majlis, Para wartan, tuan2 dan puan2. Saya harap membincang tentang menyediakan maklumat kepada publik. Saya minta izin untuk memberi pembentangan dalam bahasa Inggeris.

The state and local governments of Penang pride themselves to practice CAT, competence, accountability and transparency. There has been improvement in this regard compared to the previous government, but there is more room for improvement.

Let me give an example. There is at present close to RM 50 million of arrears in assessment and rentals owed to MPPP as of October 2012. This represents one fifth of our budget and a big drain on our resources. This information is of public interest and the public should know how the Council plans to recover this money. I was informed that the Consumer Association of Penang wrote in to Council for this information in 2010 but was pushed around by the Valuation and Finance Departments and was told such data was not available. CAP had to complain to the Biro Pengaduan Awam in the Prime Ministers Department in Putrajaya who then wrote to Council for the information. It took more than a year for Council to provide the information to CAP who was subsequently notified the data is also on the Council’s website.

Other areas that the Council should make information available on its website are:

Its audited budget and its current budget. This should be updated as the last one shown in the website was for the unaudited budget for 2009.

All major housing and commercial projects that have been submitted for approval and the stages of the approval process. The proposed plans of such projects should be made available to the public.

All traffic impact and environmental impact reports of major projects.

The recent report of the arborist regarding trees relocation along Udini Road junction.

The names and contacts of the solid waste disposal contractors and ticket collection contractors. We should encourage the public to monitor their performance and to actively call in regarding complaints or compliments.

We should adopt a positive attitude of sharing more information with our ratepayers.

Thank you.