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Majlis Perbandaran Sibu

Dear Mayors … will new brooms sweep clean?
Tarikh : 28 Sep 2019  Sumber Berita: Borneo Post Online

SEPTEMBER this year witnessed the inauguration of new mayors for Kuching and Sibu. Miri and Bintulu continued with the services of their respective local council administrative heads without any interruption.

In Kuching, at the Kuching South City Council (MBKS) and Kuching North City Commission (DBKU) two new heads were appointed – Datuk Wee Hong Seng and Datu Junaidi Reduan. In Sibu, we welcomed Clarence Ting, from the distinguished family of the former SUPP Senator Ting Ming Hoi, himself a much respected public figure.

I am happy and rather delighted to see that all three gentlemen have hit the ground running – and that from what has transpired, reported, been seen or heard in the past one month (their very first month in office) – a lot has been done and these new ‘human brooms’ appear to have taken up their positions with gusto and enthusiasm, and are now in position to contribute their best efforts to spruce and clean up all those hitherto ignored, neglected, unseen or less attention given subjects, objects, places, and municipalities, and to put into effect more effective enforcement in their respective territories.

As a creature of habit, the very first place I checked – considering that we are now in the age of IT and as the Chief Minister has so fondly proclaimed time and again his pet topic is ‘Towards a Technologically Advanced Society’ and that ‘IT is the way ahead’ for the entire country – was online to peruse the official websites of MBKS, DBKU, and SMC. (As a bonus I had also wandered into Miri and Bintulu as well.)

It appears that all the five websites were very much up to date; the logs showed that at my time of checking they had been updated right up to the day itself – Sept 26. There used to be a time, not so distant in the past, that some of these sites had not seen any updates for months.

However, one amazing site as at Sept 26 had still not changed the name and the list of the new and latest councillors (in this particular case its commission members!) despite the fact that a new Datuk Bandar was installed on Sept 3. The entire page online was still showing the list of its former Datuk Bandar and commissioners from the previous regime. This made me wonder if the ‘update logs’ on the first page of all these websites have simply been adjusted to automatically change its date every day without human interference.

That webpage surprisingly belongs to DBKU.

Personally, I am most impressed with the new Sibu Mayor Clarence Ting. He has since taking office been extremely busy doing the rounds and acquainting himself with the terrain and the territories under his stewardship in urban Sibu town itself.

He has also been putting on record in photos and details of all the various places that he visited on his personal Facebook page timeline with comments like what he’s seen, what’s wrong with it, and what he proposes to do with correcting or improving it. In turn his many friends and followers have also contributed with comments, suggestions, and even the names of other places that he should visit to see for himself.

Of course one can say that it is easy enough to go down to the ground, walk around, do some inspection, point some fingers, and talk about what is wrong and what one intends to do next to make it right. The more important thing is to put words into action and to return to the office at the end of the day, sit down with staffers, look for solutions, and ensure instructions are then given out, based on whatever budgets are there or to be requested for; and eventually to see words turned into effective action and final resolution.

All this will take time. It will take total cooperation from the public, from the people affected and the ones who will be doing the dirty work of hard toil, sweat, and many long hours. Once they are accomplished, it will start all over again, now at a different place, maybe under different circumstances.

It would seem that a mayor’s work is never done. That even if it is, a mayor can’t seem to satisfy everybody; like the saying goes – One man’s ceiling is another man’s floor. C’est la vie.

Datuk Wee Hong Seng comes to the MBKS top post with vast experience tucked under his belt. He was for a great many years one of the commissioners at DBKU, during which he made a name for himself. He also headed many other NGOs as well as the India Street Business Community, and was responsible for the recent sprucing up of the historic India Street from archaic heritage to modern shopping area. (For that effort he hasn’t endeared himself to the heritage-loving community here.)

Wee has also hit the ground running as he has been seen doing the rounds, slapping backs and pressing palms with hawkers, traders, fishmongers, and vegetable sellers from every single wet market in his new territory. However, he does not need much introduction to Kuchingites having been active in so many past events, functions, and publicity seeking ventures from both DBKU and MBKS areas. He is seen as being outspoken, flamboyant, and he can mix socially with both young and old, conservatives and liberals, and is himself a most approachable person.

I am quite sure that he will be able to continue with the legacy of the former Mayor of Kuching South Datuk James KS Chan.

I am not so much attuned to the goings-on at DBKU as the only personal concern that I have had with DBKU, having lived in this municipality for more than 60 years, is that it has not been able to resolve a small and simple matter of having allowed an illegal night market called the Satok Uptown Market to operate at the Civic Centre Carpark for the past four years; despite promises from the former DBKU commissioner (and now new Kuching South Mayor) that they will relocate “soon”. It has been four years!

Despite this minor irritant, I am sure that we can all look forward to brighter, cleaner, better cities, in which we can dwell in with much pride, joy, and happiness. Let us all continue as good citizens to assist, support, and give these local councils all the help and assistance that they require of us and in turn do our part in helping them make it all possible!

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