Openness… but Penangites want more

Posted by SM Maulana
Tuesday, 17 June 2008

THE state administrative offices at the landmark Komtar have been at their busiest after the elections.

People from all walks of life can be seen streaming in and out of the offices of various state executive councillors and even the chief minister and his two deputies.

Yes, there is a new kind of openness in the way the state government deals with the people and this has resulted in the ever-demanding Penangites taking the slightest of their problems right to the top.

“That is what they promised and it is exactly what we expect… nothing more and nothing less,” said hawker Ooi Ah Ba, 55.

Ooi had gone to meet state Local Government Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow to have some licensing issues sorted out.

Such a people-oriented approach has certainly left its mark on the people here and this has forced agencies, especially the two municipalities in Penang to buck up.

Local council workers suddenly seem to have an extra spring in their steps when attending to complaints forwarded to the state.

On the cleanliness front, a perennial source of shame, it would seem that much more needs to be done.

Sales manager Paul Yan, 31, said he had yet to see any extra personnel deployed to clean up the streets.

“Some public toilets are still dirty, although in this sense, the blame falls on the public.”

Retiree M. Kashinathan, 58, complained that most drains are also clogged, especially the covered ones. Like Yan, he blamed the public and a lack of enforcement.

Apart from the personal touch that the new state administration has introduced, it is also going all out to woo non-governmental organisations.

Citizens for Effective Public Transport (Cepat) coordinator Dr Choong Sim Poey noted the new state government’s openness in listening to their grouses.

He said if the state government wished to make significant progress, it will have to show much greater political will than the previous state government.

Meanwhile, state Umno, MCA and Gerakan leaders have slammed the Pakatan partners for not living up to their general election promises.

Representatives from the three political parties said the state government had failed to reveal concrete plans and the direction it planned for Penang.

“Many people are still in the dark and do not know what is in store for them,” said Umno Sri Kalui branch chairman Datuk Arif Shah Omar Shah.

Arif Shah said he had observed that all the present state government had done over the last three months was to talk about the weaknesses of the previous state government.

“That can wait. What they should do now is to show the plans they have for the people,” said Arif Shah, who is also the Seberang Jaya state assemblyman.

State MCA Youth chief Ooi Chuan Aik felt that those who alleged that there were scandals in land deals should substantiate their claims. – NST

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