Thursday, June 26, 2008

Good Governance and Accountability

Make meeting’s minutes available to everyone

RECENTLY, I had the honour of attending a public hearing at the Majlis Perbandaran Subang Jaya (MPSJ). The hearing was to hear the developer's proposal and the residents’ objection to the development of a nine-storey office block.

After this hearing, the objections and concerns raised would be brought to the meeting of the One Stop Centre (OSC) for a decision on the developer's proposal. In fact, what should be brought would of course be the minutes of the hearing plus the comments from the relevant officers in attendance.

I was thus surprised that when a resident asked if minutes of the hearing would be made available to the residents, the answer was in the negative.

I find this extremely strange. As this is indeed a public hearing, therefore the minutes should be made public too. This is to ensure that what is written is in fact what was discussed at the hearing. The minutes would be an important contributing factor to the decision making process of the OSC. Therefore, it is the right of the concerned residents to see the minutes of the hearing.

I am not sure if this is also in the guidelines for the local councils. If indeed it is, I strongly urge the authorities to re-look into this matter. Transparency is a very important contributing factor towards good governance and thus a civil society.

I have had the privilege of attending meetings at the same council and have seen the minutes being wrongly recorded. At a meeting where no decision was made but the subsequent minutes indicated that a decision was made.

Therefore, these minutes must be made available, at the very least to those in attendance. In this case, minutes should be given at least to a representative of the residents.

No comments: