Saturday, October 18, 2014

DBKL detailed budget disclosed to MPs but labelled confidential

In an unprecedented move City Hall, better known by its Malay acronym DBKL, has disclosed its next year’s budget to all 12 federal territory MPs but placed a caveat by classifying the document under the Official Secrets Act (OSA).
Lauding the move Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng said never before has DBKL been so upfront on its plans and proposed expenditure but rebuked the caveat placed on the budget noting that it is taxpayers’ money.
“The City Hall’s detailed budget was personally handed to us at our service centre three days in advance so that we can scrutinise and prepare for the meeting this morning and the officers were all prepared to answer to all our queries,” he told Malay Mail Online.
“This is surprising… usually they invite us, give us a few pages with a vague list on what they are going to spend on and it was always a one-way briefing,” said Lim.
Lim said every page was stamped confidential and upon clarification, he was told by Mayor Datuk Seri Ahmad Phesal Talib that the secret document was given to the MPs “based on trust”.
DBKL decided to keep it under wraps as the budget has not been finalised and will be embargoed till December 31 after it is approved by the mayor, added Lim, after attending the three hour briefing this morning.
“But I don’t agree with the decision to list it under OSA when they are spending public money for public services and infrastructure… it is not like it is an issue of national security. 
“It is also unacceptable because the national Budget is only embargoed until the prime minister announces it in Parliament, after which it is debated and passed by the Dewan Rakyat,” Lim pointed out.
Echoing Lim’s sentiments, Lembah Pantai PKR MP Nurul Izzah Anwar tweeted today expressing disappointment as she was looking forward to the briefing.
“Brimming w excitement @ d sight of detailed DBKL budget during meet w Mayor today. Then. Oh, it’s under #OSA,” posted Nurul Izzah.
DBKL came under attack earlier this year following an upward revision of taxes in January after residential and commercial property owners in the capital had cried foul after receiving notices from DBKL informing them of increases between 100 and 250 per cent to their existing annual rates.
Following public outcry, the City Hall agreed to rework the rates and reduced the per centage property owners had to paid.
It came under the spotlight again in July when Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor announced that soup kitchens would be barred from operating within a 2km zone in the city centre as their operations are encouraging homelessness and reflected poorly on the image of the nation’s capital.
The soup kitchens had, however, refused to budge until DBKL came up with more concrete solution to combat vagrancy. 

Related news: MPs: KL city budget under Official Secrets Act Why OSA? Does DBKL have things to hide?

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