There is an interesting article at The Malaysian Insider titled The lost third ballot written by Lim Sue Goan. The article was originally at mysinchew.com
Lim wrote (selected extracts): The garbage, ditches, roads, street lamps and grass in front of your home are all under the management of the local government. It will be the local government’s fault if there is a killing trap on the road.
Even so, it is ridiculous that we pay taxes but enjoy no right to replace the local government.
Local government elections were abolished following the declaration of the state of emergency during the confrontation with Indonesia in 1965. Malaysians have lost the third ballot since then.
The people have no right to question the appointment of local governments by the state governments. It all depends on the people’s luck whether the local governments carry out their duties well.
Lim then blasted the federal government’s arguments against local councillors being elected. He continued, giving an example of unaccountable local government:
There are local government elections in other democratic countries and their experiences have proved that the central, state and local governments can be separated while they are working together.
Layers of oversight mechanisms can stop local governments from making mistakes, so that they are more accountable and transparent, achieving the goal of checks and balances.
At the same time, through their votes, voters can replace district officers and city councillors with poor performances. Because they are afraid of being replaced, local government officers will be more responsible and work harder.
Currently, the lack of oversight and checks and balances have resulted in poor management and financial deficit, as well as corruption.
Many local governments have been spending large sums of money from time to time to carry out landscaping projects but these projects ended up as “white elephants projects”.
It is simply a waste of public money. For example, the former Kuala Lumpur Mayor was alleged to have signed a RM32.4mil contract with a private company to supply flowers to the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) for three years.
In other words, a total of RM900,000 would be spent each month to beautify the DBKL’s tower. Would the former Mayor do that if there was a local government election?
My uncle told me that in his time there was a government appointee (thus not an elected representative) heading the local council in Sebarang Prai (Butterworth). He decided to conduct a ‘study tour’ purportedly on low cost housing, BUT ...
... his tour took him to First World European countries, yup 1st World countries, when at that time the World’s most successful authority on low cost housing was just next door, our southern neighbour.
Under whatever council procedural clause, he and his kutu councillors were entitled to take along their wives on this extensive European tour, and so they did, and one happy huge group of unelected local councillors and staff plus wives went on an European tour with all expenses paid for by the Penang taxpayers.
That was the precursor of the infamous Disney World ‘study tour’ but it was far far worse than 'Disney World' because none of those jollying kakis were elected, yet permitted to spent oozes of taxpayers' money without any need to validly justify for the tour nor account for the expenditure.
Despite public outrage he didn’t give two hoots – he knew he didn't have to account at all to the Penang public as his appointment was by the BN ruled government.
The Penang Gerakan CM didn’t (or more likely, didn't dare) do a single thing!
And if Lim Sue Goan’s allegation of the contract signed by the KL mayor is true, then we have basically another outrageous non-accountable nonsense of a non-elected mayor signing a contract to spend nearly a million ringgit of public money each month for 36 months, just to beautify the DBKL’s tower with flowers!
It's obvious some Malaysians have a total lack of civic responsibility and/or a propensity for expensive gaya taste at public expense. And isn't it a jolly happy beautiful world when you are allowed to spend other people's hard earned money without any need to account for the expenditure to them.
Our current system of local councils are undoubtedly pariah-ishly prodigal and profligate, and also corruption-prone. This lamentable state of affairs has come about because of the Perikatan-BN - read this as UMNO because MCA, MIC and Gerakan didn't have a f* say at all - has reneged on its promise to restore elections for local councils after Konfrontasi.
And it sure as hell didn't help when our successive BN governments have, for the last 25 years, virtually closed one eye to the rot taking place in the nation's system of governments, ministries and departments.
To borrow someone's immortal words, those councillors are just 'unrepresentative swill'.
Perhaps PM Najib should stop worrying about Pakatan sweeping the council elections and reconsider the good of the nation, that is, if he is sincere in his efforts to curb corruption.