IT looks like Perakians will never get a chance to judge the performance of the 23 Ipoh City Council (MBI) councillors, at least for now.
All the councillors have decided not to take part in a survey conducted by several civil society non-governmental organisations here.
The survey was aimed at helping ratepayers to understand the roles and functions of councillors while enhancing the good governance, competency, accountability and transparency of councillors and local government.
The reason given was that they are answerable only to their political parties and not the ratepayers.
If what was reported was indeed true, then it is truly regrettable.
Left with no choice, the groups interviewed the ratepayers instead.
The results -- 83 per cent of them do not know that the Ipoh City is divided into 22 zones and each zone is assigned to a particular councillor 81 per cent do not know which councillor is assigned to their zone and 93 per cent are not aware of what their councillors are doing in the course of their duties.
Also, 83 per cent are not satisfied with the performance of their councillor and 92 per cent have not seen their councillor visiting their area in the past 12 months.
In the first place, what is there for the MBI councillors to fear (participating in the survey) if they have carried out their responsibility to the best of their ability?
Unless of course, they have not been performing well.
But then again, how many times do we actually read in the morning newspapers of ratepayers praising their councillors?
Most of what we read are basically laments by frustrated ratepayers.
The frustration is understandable because no matter how minor the issue is, if left unattended, will affect the ratepayers' everyday lives.
If the councillors claimed they are appointed to serve the ratepayers, then, the ratepayers have every right to know what the councillors are doing for them, don't you think so?
So, I do not see why the councillors cannot take time just to answer the survey on their performance.
It looks like Mayor Datuk Roshidi Hashim, who recently had his term extended by another year, already has his first job carved out for him.
Mind you, a report card for councillors is nothing new.
\It has been practised in Halifax, Melbourne, Auckland, City of Pickering, Christchurch and even Mumbai, where the results are made public.
There is no need for us to look far away as it our own backyard, there is a similar practise.
The MBI councillors can probably emulate their counterparts from the Penang Island Municipal Council (MPPP).
The Know Your Councillor campaign, initiated by several civil society groups in Penang, concluded at the start of the year that while some progress had been made in improving the delivery system and participatory process of the MPPP, there was still much room for improvement.
Several notable accomplishments of the councillors were listed down which included the enforcement and extension of vehicle clamping and towing to alleviate traffic congestion, upgrading and maintaining facilities for low-cost housing areas and improving and upgrading of wet markets.
Although the campaign did not involved the full participation from all 23 MPPP councillors, it nevertheless, is a good start.
It will be good to see how each of the 23 councillors fair individually.