KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 6 — Most local councils hold their meetings in small halls that prevent public attendance, Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin told Parliament’s Lower House during Question Time this morning.
The reply followed criticism by Rompin Barisan Nasional MP Datuk Hasan Arifin that local governments often fail to communicate or make their meetings publicly accessible, a requirement by law.
But Zuraida suggested most local councils have made attempts to open their meetings to public viewing through live streaming, a programme that started in 2015.
“I know some PBT (local councils) actually try to make the meetings open to the public but sometimes they can’t do so because the halls are too small,” she said.
“So we need reforms that we shall God willing undertake to improve the effectiveness of local councils,” the minister added.
Six local councils in total have begun live-feeds of their meetings up until 2019 while others are still working towards it, according to Zuraida.
Equipment and facilities to broadcast the meetings “live” on the internet would cost each local government RM80,000, the minister said.
The move must also be subject to state government approval, the Ampang MP added.
Commenting on the matter, Zuraida said she had campaigned for local council elections since taking office in 2018 as part of efforts to reform and democratise local governance.
Barisan Nasional and PAS are among the parties resistant to the push for local council elections, setting back efforts by the deposed Pakatan Harapan administration to restore the third vote.
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